Join Peggy Hoyt with Michele Pennington, Founder of Stashios. Stashios is a women-owned and run company offering products that stash what pets need in what they love. It is inspired by pets, fueled by fun, and committed to health and wellness.
Listen in to learn more!
Hello, pet lovers.
Welcome to All My Children Wear Fur Coats.
I'm your host, Peggy Hoyt.
This show is brought to you by the
law offices of Hoyt and Bryan, where we
create estate plans for pets and their people.
Also brought to you by Animal Care
Trust USA, a national nonprofit dedicated to
keeping loved pets in loving homes.
We do this by by educating pet parents about the
importance of getting a pet trust for their loved pets.
And we also provide trustee services. Today.
We are so lucky we get to talk to Michelle Pennington.
She is the founder of Stashios, and this is
an all-woman owned company located in Minnesota.
Welcome to the show, Michelle.
So, you started out as a teacher.
Tell us why you left teaching and
now you're doing cool stuff for animals. Yes.
So I always been an animal lover
my whole life, which is cool.
Went to college to be an elementary school teacher.
Taught in Seattle for eight years and then had my
daughter and moved back to Minneapolis to be closer to
family and stayed home for a little bit and then
went back to teaching and pretty quickly realized that it
was extremely hard for me to give 150% to my
students during the day and then still have anything left
over for my own kids at night and realized that
it just wasn't working out for me.
So, I decided to switch gears and I
retired from teaching and was lucky enough to
kind of get on this other path.
And one thing led to another and here we are.
And I'm running statios.
Alright, so Stashios is kind of a fun name.
How did you come up with that name? Yes.
So Stashios is staffed. We stash things.
We stash things that Pete and what they love.
So, like in our Soothing Sauce, one of
our products, we stash calming ingredients in our
meal appeal, which is a meal topper.
We stash some functional ingredients as well.
And then our wrap-ups, we have
carrots and sweet potatoes in there.
And then you stash their medicine in here.
So everything kind of has a common theme of
stashing what they need and what they love, and
creating products that help you be the best parent
pet parent that you can be.
All right, so I first became acquainted with
your company at Global Pet Expo, and I
was introduced to your Soothing Saucer. Yes.
So the Soothing Saucer was designed with our dog
trainer on staff that's also our product development person.
And she was doing a board and train
with a dog that had severe anxiety.
And out of desperation, she went to the grocery
store, bought a roll on deodorant and baby food.
And she cleaned out the roll on deodorant put baby
food in the roller and sat on the couch during
a thunderstorm, watched a movie as this dog licked this
baby food out of this cleaned-out Deodorant container.
And the dog was totally calm because as
dogs lick, they lick naturally to calm themselves
and at least serotonin as they lick.
And she came into our next team media and said, I
think I have an idea that could really take off.
There's so many dogs with anxiety, especially during COVID
All those dogs were home with their owners, and
now people are going back to work, and it
seems like either everyone has a dog with anxiety
or knows the dog with anxiety right now, unfortunately.
So we decided to go with it.
And the soothing saucer was born. Yes.
So it looks like a flying saucer
with a roller ball in the middle. Yes.
So then you put the soothing sauce in and put
the lid back on and they can lick away. Yes.
They just lick and lick and lick.
And it's adjustable.
So if you have a giant rottweiler, you might
make it a little bit tighter since they have
a bigger tongue and probably stronger tongue.
Or if you have an itty bitty Yorkie, you'd make it
really loose so it's easier for the ball to roll.
And every time the ball rolls, it gets
recoated with the soothing sauce, and they just
lick and lick and lick and lick.
And there's an oring on the bottom so it doesn't
move around your whole kitchen floor as they go.
And dogs just love it.
My dog doesn't have anxiety, but every time I
get this out, if I'm taking pictures or looking
at it for work, she just is super excited
for me to get it ready for her.
And she just loves it as a special treat.
Just as a special treat.
Yeah, she loves it.
And we've heard that groomers have used it
for dogs that are anxious during grooming.
We've heard that vets have used it for exams.
We've heard all kinds of stories of senior dogs that
have missing teeth, are not great jaws to be able
to chew treats, using it as a liquid treat.
We intended it originally for dogs with anxiety, but we've heard
stories of a lot of other ways to use it.
Was that the kind of thing, Michelle, that
you could leave in a crate with a
dog if they had some crate anxiety?
Someone just asked me about this yesterday.
Our neighbor has a puppy and
they were wondering about it.
And I think if you have a smaller dog that's not
prone to destroying things, I think it could be okay.
But I would not leave it in a crate
with a bigger dog that's prone to destroying things.
Because if they're alone and they eat away at it,
I don't want them getting a hold of this supervisor.
Sure. Right. That makes sense.
I think if you know your dog, you can probably
make a decision how well you know your dog.
Like, I could definitely leave this
out for my dog all day.
She doesn't even destroy stuffed toys.
But my yellow Lab Sedona, I would have never been
able to leave this in a crate with her because
she just destroyed everything as quickly as possible.
So I know you were talking about product innovations
and the idea that you might have a product
coming in the future that would be car friendly.
I'm thinking you now need to have one
that's crate friendly that maybe can attach to
the outside of a crate, right.
So that they can't destroy it, because yes.
Imagine some of my dogs who
might destroy something like that, right? Yes.
The Togo version or crate version, maybe. Definitely.
There's a need for it, for sure.
Yeah, that's the soothing saucer.
So I also want to talk about the wrap ups.
They're pretty cool.
It looks like a roll of what is that? Fruit.
Fruit by the foot for kids.
And then you just rip off a little bit and you
wrap it around a pill and give it to me. Yes.
So I try not to give my kids
fruit snacks because I know they cause cavities.
And my husband came home from Costco one day
with a box this big of fruit by the
foot for my kids, and I was so mad.
And I saw my kids unrolling it and
rolling up into a ball and biting it.
I was just so disgusted.
And then it was in that moment that I was like,
that is what we need for dogs, because we just need
something to wrap around it that sticks to it.
That the dog to give the dog as a treat.
And this can hold any size, any shape of pill
for dogs or cats, I was going to say.
And it's good for cats, too, right? Yes.
So we have a food scientist
that helps us formulate things.
So I think it was over.
I mean, it didn't happen quickly,
but over months and months.
And I think it was like 86 different formulations
later, we landed on the perfect formulation, and now
we have cheese, bacon, and peanut butter.
And we're launching a fourth flavor at Global in March.
All right, so that's the wrap up you mentioned in the
intro, or as we were getting started, the meal appeal.
Tell us. Yes.
So the meal appeal has two different views.
We have allergy and skin and coat, and it's
basically a meal topper for dogs or cats.
And the first ingredient is pumpkin.
So there's pumpkin and then bone broth are
the first two ingredients, which are great.
And it's beef based for all of
those dogs that have a chicken allergy.
Just sprinkle a little bit on their
kibble and they gobble it up.
And my dog, Nala, will not eat her food without
a food topper, which I know is my own fault.
I created the monster.
But her food will sit in her bowl all day,
and she will not eat it until I sprinkle meal
peel on it, and then she'll eat it.
You trained really exactly. Yes.
It is 100% my fault that's the meal peel yeah.
Made with all kinds of great.
It has a short ingredient list,
and they're just simple ingredients.
So you mentioned Nala, and I'm going to give
Nala a little shout out here because she is
a first time I've heard of this combination.
But a new pee doodle.
So other variation on the doodle thing.
Yes, she's a big, lazy flip ball.
Yes, she's all about being lazy.
Well, maybe that's an improvement over some of
the doodles that are now ending up in
rescue by the deal because they're too active.
Yes, we got lucky, and I just love her so
much, and she's so great for my family, and my
kids use her as a pillow when they're reading.
It crossed my mind that we should get a second
one, but I thought, let's not push it here.
We got so lucky with this one.
What are the chances that a
second one would be this perfect?
So we're just going to stick with one.
Well, that sounds like a plan.
And then tell us about your soft chews. Yes. Oh, shoot.
I didn't even grab the soft cheese.
So the soft chews have two skews,
hip and joint and skin and coat.
And they're just little bite size bone shape for the hip
and joint and little triangles for the skin and coat.
And we're actually in the midst of reformulating
our soft shoes to have a shorter, better
ingredient panel that will be later this year
because we make almost everything in house, so
we're able to control our ingredients and all.
That, which is part of the reason why we
wanted to bring the manufacturing in house, so that
we would have more control over where our ingredients
come from and what our ingredient panels look like.
All right, so I want you to tell us now.
So moving along to the next cool
product, which is Stash and Dash. Yes.
So the Stash and Dash is training treats on
the go so that you don't have a pocket
full of crumbs when you're training your dog.
So there's a carabiner or a little hook that can either go
on the leash or on your pocket or on your pants.
Bring it to go.
And inside holds two extra sticks and
then one that's kind of in use.
So one click down and then slide it over.
And it's one little treat so that you don't give
your dog too many calories during one training session.
It's like a little mini water bottle
that would hang on your pants there.
It's perfect for bringing your dog to dog training.
I always keep mine on the lease just in case we
encounter a deer on our walk and my dog needs to
be distracted or I just always keep it on there.
And that comes in both the kit and the refills. Yes.
So the kit comes with ten sticks,
the refill comes with 20 sticks. Awesome.
To get our important dog teeth.
A couple of dental products. Yes.
And actually we're reformulating our
dental sticks as we speak.
That will also be launched.
The new formulation will be launched this year.
Shorter ingredient panel, better ingredients, and also
a smaller size for little dogs, too. Awesome.
Yeah, we're very excited about that.
Yeah, I bet you are.
So you've got a lot of
good information on your firstname.lastname@example.org, stashiospet.
There's a very interesting blog.
Lots of good information there.
I see that you need an article
on estate planning for your pets.
Since that is my passion and why I do what
I do now, people can find you online or they
can also find you at retailers throughout the country.
Our website has a store locator.
Just type in your zip code and it will
tell you the nearest store that carries our products.
If you want to see them in person and not order
them on a website, we are coast to coast and if
you are a retailer, they have a way for you to
apply and then tell us about your ambassador program.
Yes, if there's an influencer on Facebook or Instagram or
TikTok that wants to use their products in a post,
then they can apply to be a brand ambassador.
So that's just a way for us to make sure that
whoever we partner with, we have similar ideas about the pet
world and that we're partnering with the right people.
One of the things that I know that you're
proud of is that you're woman-owned and run.
Yes, we are very proud of that.
And in the pet world, that's not super common.
And not only are we women-owned and run, but
we manufacture everything here by a crew of women.
So that is also fairly uncommon that not
only are we a pet company, but we
actually, make everything in house also by women. Nice.
And a lot of our manufacturing staff are moms, local moms,
that they get their kids on the bus and then they
come here and they work in the back and they make
a wrap ups and a soothing sauce and our meal appeal
and help with all of the operations in the back.
And then they're kind of out of here by
three to get their kids off the bus.
And everyone's happy, and they're
happy to have flexibility.
And we all kind of just get
it that another kid is in quarantine.
During the COVID era, and they're out and they're going
to work from home, or I've got to leave early
for my kids, or the Donna's appointment, or it's just
nice to work with a bunch of women that just
get it and understand that we're all here to support
each other and we just all really enjoy coming here.
I have another friend who has
a very successful marketing company.
That was their same philosophy.
They hired part-time moms.
Everybody was mom.
It all worked out really well.
I do see that you have a few token men around.
We do have a few, and they are awesome.
Of course, we say that at the law firm
as well because we're four lawyer law firm.
Three of us are women and the
rest of the team is women.
And we have my partner Randy, who is our token mail.
Yeah, it's perfect.
We have a really good team.
And my favorite thing is I try not to
be in my office all day because all the
fun is happening back in the production area.
So I try to get back there as much as possible.
And my favorite thing is when I get
back there is hearing everyone just like, laughing
and chatting and just having a good time.
I love that so much.
Just that everyone loves coming here.
Yeah, it makes it fun to come to work, for sure. Yeah.
Especially being on the other side of when I was teaching
and just kind of like dreading every single day to be
able to come to a space that I love.
And I love everyone that's here and
to have those people have that too.
And sometimes my kids might be taking along and having them
know that when they grow up and get older and enter
the real world, that they should also have that.
You should enjoy where you go every
day and spend all your time.
It shouldn't be a dreadful place, right?
Like too short.
And then you get to do a fun
thing, too, which is make products for pets.
It's just awesome.
I mean, what could be better than that? Exactly.
All right, so what would you
leave us with here today, Michelle?
I'm just super excited that I got to be
here with you and talk about all the products.
They're all just like my babies, down to
picking which color the bag is going to
be and the layout and the ingredients.
It's just like when you're just at the store
buying things, you don't really think about everything that
went into every product, but somebody thought about what
color it's going to be and how many ounces
it's going to be and all that.
And it's so fun to be a part of that.
And I'm just so thankful that I get
to be with pet people every day and
talk about dogs and it's just awesome fun.
That is fun.
Thank you for joining us and thanks to our listeners.
And be sure to check out Stashios@stashiospet.com.
And if you're in the Orlando area or you are a
pet person and you can get into Global Pet Expo.
It is in March every year here in Orlando.
And I'm just so excited to have the opportunity
to share with my listeners new and innovative products.
And thank you, Michelle, for that.
Yeah, thank you.
I can't wait to see you in March.
I loved love to tell all
our listeners until there are none.
Please adopt one and don't forget to protect your pet with
a pet trust and we will be here next week. See you then.