This Women’s History Month, we’re putting a well-deserved spotlight on some inspiring female founders in the fashion, beauty, and lifestyle space. First up, Parisa Fowles-Pazdro, the CEO & founder of maxbone. If you have a pet—or indeed, even if you don’t!—you’ll be no stranger to the company which makes arguably the coolest pet accessories, miniature outfits (the recent viral Christian Cowan collab…need we say more?!), and nutritional products complete with sleek branding.The Daily caught up with the former fashion designer to hear how her brand has gone from strength to strength.
Tell us your career backstory!
My goal was always to have my own business, and I have always been very driven to succeed in what I do. I met my husband while living in London at the age of 28, and he was a successful real estate investor. In 2007, the fall of the financial markets had a major effect on our lives and we lost a lot of the assets that we had invested in. We decided to move to New York in 2008, where we really had to restructure our lives. Both my husband and myself have very resilient personalities and we worked hard to get ourselves through tough times. We had to rebuild our careers and establish a network here in the U.S. We moved to Los Angeles in 2011, where our hard work finally started to pay off. In 2017, I launched maxbone, a pet and lifestyle brand born with the mission to elevate the pet industry and connect the gap between dogs and dog owners.
Was there one particular lightbulb moment that led to conceptualizing maxbone?
Every time I went to pet stores, I felt frustrated about the product offerings for my dog. I used to think, ‘If no one is going to change this industry, I will be the one taking that step.’ It was a risky move to step into a saturated industry and want to disrupt it, but it paid off.
What was the offering like before you launched the company in 2017?
We all know that dogs are not just a pet, but more like a true member of the family. Pet owners nowadays are looking for products that are branded, long-lasting, more efficient, and fit into their lifestyle. Although the pet industry is expected to rise above $96 billion in sales this year, it is still archaic when it comes to design sensibility and quality. I was very specific about the experience I wanted to create at maxbone because it was something it lacks in the segment, and I knew I could do better. Each maxbone style satisfies function just as much as it does form and is made with the highest attention to detail.
Did things take off pretty quickly for you or were there a lot of hurdles?
If anyone has created a million dollar business without a hurdle, I would love to hear their story! Every step of the way there was a hurdle…even the smallest things. Anything that could go wrong would always go wrong, but the 20% that went well was what made us stronger. Each 20% progress gets you to the next step.
maxbone is known for its amazing dog fashion! How is the process of researching which fabrics work best for pets?
We believe a major part of sustainability includes the responsible sourcing and longevity of a product. We only partner with the best factories around the world to ensure every item meets premium standards. We are constantly researching and doing sample trials with new materials. Before a material is chosen for production we perform both wear and wash tests to ensure it will meet the demands of a pet’s lifestyle. Materials take quite a bit of time to develop properly so we are always working six months to a year ahead on all products.
What about nutritional products? What’s the brainstorm-to-bringing a product to market process like?
Maxbone’s values and quality standards were a big motivation for us when creating our line of healthy food and treats. People go to maxbone looking for high-quality products, so it made a ton of sense creating nutritional products that offer only the best for dogs. We live in an era where we have become more conscious of making healthy choices and, of course, this applies to our pet’s diet. We’ve partnered with the best suppliers to ensure our food is made with the highest quality, and sustainable ingredients.
How has maxbone been affected by COVID? It sounds like people were shopping more for their pets than ever before?
Well, I absolutely think the pet industry is a recession-resistant category. The lockdown orders have created a perfect environment for pet ownership where people spend more meaningful time and invest more in their pets. We saw an increased demand for pet care products such as toys, treats, and grooming, and we were able to scale our food since people are looking for healthy and convenient options. Besides that, COVID-19 has given me a new outlook on our company’s role within our community. We’ve truly embraced the transformation and we adapted our current marketing model to better serve our customers. We want to offer meaningful value to our segment in every way we can.
How is maxbone reflective of your personal taste and values?
As I was raised in Sweden, I was exposed to the Scandinavian design from a very young age and that made me evolve a particular interest in a timeless style aesthetic, where the function is often just as important as good looks. I believe that there’s beauty in simplicity and I wanted to translate that into maxbone’s designs. We create simple and essential styles that can fit seamlessly with almost any style and era. At its core, the Scandinavian design seeks to enhance everyday life and that’s our motto at maxbone. Our mission is to elevate the lifestyle of pets and their humans through thoughtful designs that address the dog’s needs, but also have human sensibility in mind.
What do you think the difference is between maxbone and other pet supply stores?
The maxbone community sets this company apart from all others. We have a passionate community of dog lovers who love modern design and are inspired by premium, well-designed products for their pets that are unique in the market. While there are many companies in the pet food space or the pet accessory space, there are very few that serve the customer across both areas with high quality, visually exciting pieces—and that has inspired our loyal maxbone following. We have an amazing community who are excited about every new product launch and can’t wait to be the first to create content with the new products. I am amazed everyday at their passion for the brand and their creativity. As an example, we did a collaboration with the designer, Christian Cowan: we collaborated to design a limited edition fluffy pink dog sweater and from this one sweater, we have seen our community post thousands of photos and videos across multiple social media channels which has been astounding for us.
I saw that sweater everywhere on my feed! Any plans to team up with another fashion designer?
We’re planning to expand the collaboration with Christian Cowan since it was such a smooth and successful partnership!
Can you let us in on any other upcoming collaborations?
We have some amazing and unexpected collaborations coming, such as with OUAI and Lunya. Brand collaborations have genuinely become an essential part of maxbone’s growth strategy to build hype, stay relevant, and ultimately, access a new audience. Our customers are at the heart of all our business decisions, so our primary goal is to sustain their loyalty by coming up with creative and refreshing ideas that will keep them excited. We are honored to have been approached by major companies such as Disney and Away, which reinforces the relevance of maxbone in the pet industry. For us, it is crucial to collaborate with like-minded brands that align with our values to ensure a successful partnership.
Lastly, what’s the perfect gift for any pet owner in our lives?
FOOD! All dogs love real food, and there’s no better thing than seeing your dog happy and healthy. Besides that, our best-selling Carrier Bag is a great gift for pet owners.
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