For over twenty-five years I bred and showed Top Winning, Number One, fancy, schmancy French Bulldogs. As you know, show dogs have to look and feel great to bring home the big ribbons and French Bulldogs are notorious for having dry, crusty noses.
Back in 1993, when I got my first Frenchie, there was nothing available to moisturize dog noses and the suggested options were full of petroleum by-products or flat did not work. The wheels began to turn. In the meantime, I moved from Dallas to Minnesota in 1996, where I met my husband. Then we moved to far northern Minnesota in 2001.
One day in 2001, I was slathering shea butter on my frozen, very pale legs and two of my French Bulldogs rushed over to see if I had a snack for them. As if guided by the Ghost of Dog Noses Future, I dabbed some on their dry noses. Within two days they had soft, smooth noses.
The light bulb went off, I shouted “Eureka!” I felt I had channeled Archimedes, Einstein and Edison… my dogs had smooth noses! This stuff worked and FAST!
I bought more shea butter, used it on my own dogs and when my dog show friends saw their noses, I shared my concoction with them.
So many dog lovers were contacting me about my magic nose stuff I realized it was time to take the next step! The name popped into my mind and I quickly snagged the dot com - TheBlissfulDog.com. Thank you to Joseph Campbell for sharing his bliss!
After recipe tweaks, formula revisions and a LOT of research I was ready to be legit! I began selling my concoction at dog shows and online (the first shop was ONE PayPal button that took me all day to configure). I began getting orders almost immediately and was so excited! When Etsy came on my radar, I quickly built an Etsy shop.
The first Nose Butter label was a drawing I did of one of our Frenchies, EZBoy and I was so proud. Eventually I shifted the labels to photos as more customers requested I add other dog breeds such as Bulldogs, Boxers, Pugs and more. Soon there were over 100 dog breed labels. Crazy, I know!
After many requests for other products Paw Butter, Elbow Butter and Boo Boo Butter were added to the product line, to the relief and delight of dogs everywhere.
The Blissful Dog was 100% bootstrapped and a one-woman show for a decade or so. One day I realized I could NOT do it alone. I had to have help to grow and meet the needs of all the blissful dogs.
A few days later, I was driving home from town and saw Amanda riding her horse along the dirt road. I rolled the window down and hollered, “Hey, do you want to come help me with my Blissful Dog business?” She yelled back, “See ya tomorrow.” That’s been 8 years or so ago and she’s still here.
Next, Amanda mentioned her older sister, Ashley, needed a job for a bit as she decided what was next for her. You guessed it, Ashley is still here and is now our COO and pretty much runs the whole show!
Teri, Ashley and Amanda’s mom, came to help us out during a crazy spell and, wait for it, is still here and runs Production. But wait, there’s MORE!
Ashley’s husband, Nick, joined us a couple of years ago as our CFO. NIck brings organization to the financial part of running a business. Before I could blink Ashley shared they were expecting a new worker, I mean beloved child.
In 2016 October The Blissful Dog moved to The Blissful Farm, a 40-acre farm that had been in one Norwegian family for over 100 years. We are now entrusted as caretakers of this truly blissful bit of earth.
Moving in October meant we were racing the snow to get settled in quickly. We chose the pig barn for our first office, it had a base for a new concrete floor and electricity. Everyone pulled together, we hired a couple of contractors to do the few (very few) things we couldn't manage (concrete, electricity) and were all moved in by Halloween.
Within a couple of years we added the much needed expansion you see in the image above. I wanted a vaulted ceiling and kept saying - higher! Higher! The gas company driver gave me a big hug and said he would increase our deliveries and pointed at the ceiling.
Our next plans are for another bigger building on this property. Stay tuned!
Below is a panoramic picture of my office. A bit of The Blissful Dog production and shipping areas are shown below. We hope you enjoyed this bit of back story of The Blissful Dog.
–Kathy Dannel Vitcak, CEO & Founder