Brand Spotlight: Bell & Bone - Pet Treats
Here at Petzyo, we love to suppawt like-minded local businesses in the pet space.
Bell & Bone is a staple brand in our add-to-box range offering all natural, healthy dog treats packed with superfood ingredients. They are a fellow Melbourne-born company committed to changing the pet food industry and educating owners on how “healthy can be easy”, and worth it!
We had a chat with founder and #girlboss Arianne to find out a little more about the brand and what they do.
What is Bell & Bone and who is behind the brand?
My name’s Arianne; I’m 32 years young, and the founder of the pet treat brand Bell & Bone. Bell & Bone exists to fill a gap in the market for purposeful, honest and nutritious food that will help dogs lead healthier lives. With so many mixed messages around dog nutrition, I am committed to being transparent in our processes and creating healthy, delicious food that owners will love giving their pets.
When starting Bell & Bone I had really strong values which I wanted to ensure were embedded throughout the business, such as:
- Purposeful food – making sure that everything we make is real and provides benefit to the dog’s health and wellbeing. This is why I engaged specialists and experts such as a Pet Nutritionist, Food Technologist and Vet Scientist when I started to develop my range. This was the first step in developing my first line in 2018, labelled Superfood Dog Treats, using superfood, all-natural, human grade ingredients such as flaxseed, turmeric, chia, carob, coconut and ginger, which at the time was an Australian first and has now paved the way for others to follow.
- Giving back to the community – before Covid-19, this was an integral value of mine, but the last 6 months has really emphasised the importance and need for supporting our community. Since conception, Bell & Bone has donated tens of thousands of treats to RSPCA Victoria, to ensure that all dogs get access to healthy nutritious treats. I am so proud that in August this year I became one of their official Corporate Supporters, and am excited to continue my work with them.
- Being honest and transparent – was integral when creating Bell & Bone. I made sure all ingredients were clear and easy to understand (not hiding behind science terminology). Honesty and transparency are super important, especially when dealing with an industry such as pets, where people put their trust in you to take care of their 'babies'. I sign my name on the back of each pack as a mark of quality, assurance and trust for our community. I want my customer to know I am there to help them make good choices every step of the way, which is why my personal mobile number is on the website. If anyone has a question, they can always reach me.
Who is the DEO (doggo) behind Bell & Bone?
My beautiful Cobber Dog Louie! I’ve had dogs my entire life with my family, but Louie is the first dog who is all mine, so he really is like my first child.
Why did you start the business?
I started Bell & Bone due to my own frustration with the commercial pet food market. There was a real lack of transparency in the ingredient lists, and I often came across products with mixed messages on the front and back of the bags- they were filled with chemicals, artificial colours and flavouring.
I’ve grown up with dogs all my life, so for me dogs are really part of the family, and as society has taken this huge shift to promoting healthy diets for overall wellbeing for humans, I found that this shift wasn’t as prominent in the pet food market. I really wanted to create a product that people would feel good about giving their dog and wanted to take out any of the nasties in dogs’ diets.
I sought not only to enter the industry, but to revolutionise it. I work with pet food experts, using purposeful food and transparency in our food and ingredient lists unlike anything I had seen before. That’s why Bell & Bone products are 100% natural, grain free and have no fillers or nasties in them. I really want to help promote a healthy diet for our pets, as its super important for their overall health and wellbeing.
What have been the most challenging and most rewarding things about starting Bell & Bone?
A challenge would be managing how much time I commit to work and balancing that with the other priorities in my life like family, friends and my own health and wellbeing. Being a small business owner is challenging at the best of time, but Covid-19 has really added an extra layer to that this year. My job is never finished, and there’s always more to be done, so finding a balance can be really hard.
The most rewarding part of my job though, is the relationships and community I’ve found. I’ve been so lucky so have found such a loyal and supportive customer base, who have really helped and propelled me through this journey. For our recent launch, we had over 80 dog influencers post a picture of themselves and our new Dental Sticks with the caption ‘Bell & Bone makes us smile because…”. The outcome was overwhelming and better than I ever predicted. I’m so lucky to have found such a strong community, and I’m so thankful every day for their support.
If you had to choose, what is your favourite product that you stock and why?
Tough question! Just this month I launched two new flavours of our Dental Sticks; Chicken, Mint & Seaweed and Salmon, Mint & Charcoal so they are always at the front of my mind. I love that they are different, new and unlike any other Dental Stick on the market. It took me a long time to bring this idea to fruition and be able to create a product that was not only super healthy but would also help reduce plaque and tartar and promote whole mouth health for dogs. It’s such a rewarding feeling to see them so well received, and I’m so proud that people love them as much as I do.
However, my dog Louie’s favourite treats are the Superfood: Coconut and Chia products,so I always have an abundance of them at home.
Gotta ask the inevitable question- how has Covid affected your business?
Bell & Bone has typically focused on forming a personal connection with our customers. This has meant regular drop ins to the stores we sell our product to educate and build relationships with staff. I also attend many events such as community events in parks, in-store events and pet expos.
As a result of COVID, the majority of our planned marketing activities for the year were cancelled, all sampling activities were cancelled, and of course events couldn’t happen.
I really had to re-strategise and completely change the way we have gone to market. Moving a lot of our activity online and focusing more on the online aspect of our business and our retailers’ businesses has been critical to our ongoing success throughout this pandemic.
I’ve been super lucky with my customers! I’ve built up a really great and loyal community over the last two years, so they’ve really helped me through it. Supporting local, and our community has always been a core value at Bell & Bone, and this year more so than ever I think we’ve really seen just how important that is. I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to continue and really focus on my online store this year and have been able to push through the hardships that came with Covid-19.
Anything exciting coming up?
Stay tuned for a big 2021! I have so many exciting ideas and ingredients I’m currently testing out. I can’t wait to share them with everyone!
If Bell & Bone was a dog, what breed would it be and why?
Cobberdog – clever, beautiful to look at, affectionate, cheeky and so much fun.