8th April, 2022

Pets at work: How Snooza’s values help grow the business

When it comes to pet products owned and produced locally, Snooza’s offering is one to watch (especially with National Pet Day just around the corner).

First appearing in the calendar in 2006, National Pet Day has become an annual reminder for pet lovers to adopt, not shop, while also offering pet owners yet another excuse to spoil their four-legged friends. It returns this year on Monday, 11 April.

Australians are known as a pet-friendly lot – RSPCA reporting indicates more than 38,000 pets were rehomed, or adopted, in the 2020-21 financial year alone (hurray!). And that’s before we also consider the numbers of pedigrees purchased from private breeders. All told, IBISWorld research reveals that over 60 percent of Australian households own at least one pet, which in turn generates significant demand for pet care products and related accessories.

We also know Aussies really care about where the products they purchase come from (for both ethical and economic reasons); we increasingly seek out products that are high quality, sustainably made and produced in a way that values and supports the workers involved.

Owned and operated in Australia since 1989, Snooza Pet Products is a brand that ticks all these boxes, from supply to manufacture, product design and marketing. So in the lead up to National Pet Day this year, we’re taking a closer look at how their unique product offering has developed into the manufacturer and supplier it is today.

Evolving the humble doggy bed

Snooza’s story began with the launch of the Original Dog Bed back in 1989, and went on to redefine the niche with further innovations, as is the case with their best-selling Pet Futon.

Marketing Manager for Snooza Pet Products, Brigitte Knight says the Original Dog Bed concept has come a long way from its inception as a hyper-local, almost cottage-industry production in a miniature-sized factory in Melbourne’s Bayside area.

“It’s all about thoughtful design, caring for your pet and caring for our planet,” she says.

“We want the beds to be both beautiful and functional, we want them to be supportive for pets and tailored for their specific needs no matter the breed, age, stage or size.”

Snooza's chief product tester
Snooza’s Chief Product Tester has received excellent feedback in a recent performance review.

Brigitte’s love for pets and pet owners goes unquestioned. The entire team at Snooza are pet parents of some kind or other, making a fondness for animals a prerequisite to the job.

“One of the early iterations of the Pet Futon was simply a recycled flour sack that had been refurbished to include the right Australian wool and fibre filling.

“We’re still selling essentially the same design today,” says Brigitte. “Both the Pet Futon and the Original Dog Bed – both products developed and produced by a local, family business.”

And while the family who founded Snooza have since sold to new owners around four years ago, Brigitte knows the legacy of their brand and vision for their products is being honoured.

Foster local relationships, support local workers

For Snooza, the product line doesn’t end with its flagship beds. The entire suite of hundreds of products across various categories, including bedding, bowls and toys.

How Snooza sources the materials behind its products and the process they go through to be produced is also a core aspect of the brand, and it’s here the team find ongoing success in making good on the ‘Australian Made’ guarantee.

“More than 90 percent of the Snooza range proudly wears the Australian Made kangaroo logo” explains Brigitte.

“Wherever we possibly can, we manufacture, source and employ locally because it’s always been a passion of ours – it’s a big part of being an Australian-owned business selling Australian-made products.”

Employing local workers
A key pillar of the Snooza legacy involves local production, which enables it’s products to wear the ‘Australian Made’ badge with pride.

Even better, by choosing to maintain and continue to build on local, long-term supplier agreements, Snooza’s enjoyed a high level of control in its supply chains other businesses may not have had in recent years.

“In many ways, it’s been smooth sailing from that perspective,” Brigitte pauses to reflect. “We’ve always had good relationships with local suppliers, and that offers us quality and consistency in what’s coming in the door even when borders are closed.”

It also feeds into their ambitions regarding another foundation principle: sustainability.

Refresh, Repair, Rehome

Given its first dog beds were creations upcycled from sturdy, readily available materials, it makes sense that Snooza’s customers would continue to expect a dedication to sustainable practices to shine through.

For Brigitte as a communicator and marketer, this means maintain complete transparency when it comes to the provenance of their products and the materials they’re made from – and she’s got the patter to prove it.

“We design beds to be durable, made from high quality, furnishing-grade fabrics. We have dispensers that are made from bed offcuts, and our Doo Doo Good waste bags are completely free of plastic, made with biodegradeable, plant-based materials.

“Plus, our bed covers and bed fills are all machine washable, with fill made from recycled drink bottle PET fibres.”

Snooza repair
A Snooza employee assesses their handiwork on a recently completed product.

Snooza even offers a repair service, so customers can get more wear for each tear. And, once a bed is ready to be retired, it can be returned to the factory for refurbishment and donation to a pet shelter.

“We aim to reduce landfill and our carbon pawprint wherever possible,” Brigitte laughs.

“We start from a very practical and pragmatic approach: whether it’s about sustainability or where the materials come from, and even what it is we’re trying to sell, we start with transparency,” she says.

This also means keeping the customer front-of-mind, something that has led Snooza to the next phase of its business development.

E-commerce wins: Snooza finds new ways to grow

Being customer-centric is an approach that’s put the brand in good stead as multiple generations of people have managed it from its early beginnings as a backyard business in the early eighties, to its sale in the late 2010s as a manufacturer/wholesaler, to today, where Brigitte says the team are making big inroads online.

“Since the pandemic we’ve seen some terrific growth in our business, and we want to continue to grow these so we can help improve the lives of more pets and their owners in Australia and beyond,” Brigitte explains.

Brigitte Knight at Snooza HQ
Keeping their values close to their hearts is helping the team guide Snooza into the future.

Direct sales online had been trickling through prior to the pandemic, but with the arrival of border closures and lockdowns, Snooza saw those numbers begin to climb.

“Through digital sales, we have been able to drive traffic and build the brand – and it continues to grow.

The team are now staying busy by applying hard-earned lessons to how they invest in their marketing efforts as a result. Today, you can find Snooza brand content on YouTube featuring celebrity vet Dr. Katrina Warren, and in 2021 Snooza signed a three-year deal with a local AFL club: the Melbourne Demons.

Brigitte tells us the added attention the brand receives from these sorts of initiatives will be used to bring awareness to its offering, and the value Snooza can add to the human-pet equation.

“Our customers are so committed to their pets that they choose our high-quality products.

“There’s a lot of emotion in the relationship between a pet and their owner, and we want to celebrate those relationships in every way we can.”

Make the most of your growth with online accounting. MYOB Business makes it easy to track cashflow, maintain your accounts and work with your trusted advisor. Find out more today.