Founded in January 2012 by Jennifer Blaese, Loft 312 Inc. designs and manufactures products for people with pets. Currently, the company offers 2 products: “The Loop,” a sleek, modern accessory for dispensing dog poop bags on a roll and the “Green Line” bag which is environmentally friendly and landfill biodegradable. Loft 312 Inc. quickly gained proof-of-concept, launched sales in July of this year, and has already secured Bed Bath & Beyond as a major customer.
PRODUCT/SERVICE: Loft 312 Inc. designs and manufactures lifestyle accessories for pet owners. Currently, they offer 2 products. “The Loop” is a dog poop bag holder disguised as a sleek, modern, accessory which can be looped onto a purse, belt, or leash. It’s designed with a utility that locks the bags in place and provides a superior easy-to-use delivery system. “The Green Line” is an environment-friendly, biodegradable dog poop bag. Using technology developed by the medical industry, the “Green Line” bags are manufactured with an exclusive plastics additive which transforms the plastic, allowing it to biodegrade in an anaerobic environment.
VALUE PROPOSITION: “The Loop” is visually attractive, securely fastens a roll of dog poop bags, and employs an easy-to-use grab & rip function for single bag dispensing. This technology could potentially be used in many dispensing applications. “The Loop” is reinforced with an aluminum rod and is both durable and lightweight. The plastic bag holders that currently populate the market break easily and must be replaced frequently. “The Green Line” bag is the only bag on the market that biodegrades in a municipal landfill. It does not require oxygen, ultra-violet rays, or heat to biodegrade.
MARKET SIZE: There are 78 million dogs in the U.S. and approximately 60% of them live in urban areas. The typical dog poops 2 to 3 times a day and requires between 7000 and 12,000 bags in a lifetime. In many communities, picking up dog poop is mandated by law.
REVENUE MODEL: Loft 312 Inc. has three main sources of revenue: 1. The primary revenue stream is B2B (retailers). 2. Service-related pet industry businesses such as groomers, dog walkers, and boarding facilities. 3. Parks, municipalities, and multi-unit residences who buy “Greenline” bags in bulk. The Loop” and the “Green Line” bag are priced competitively. “The Loop” is priced at $9 and retails for $18. The “Green Line” bag is sold in packs of 4, 8, and 24 rolls. The 4-pack (48 bags) is priced at $3.50 and retails for $7.50. Gross profit margins are 52% for “The Loop” and 55% for the “Green Line” bag.
MANAGEMENT TEAM: Jennifer Blaese, co-founder/CEO, has over 20 years of experience in corporate sales, project management, and retail merchandising, specifically in the luxury home and giftware industries. She was a million dollar producer for Ann Sacks and Kallista, luxury divisions of the Kohler companies. Her husband, Todd Blaese, co-founder/COO, has 25 years of experience in the IT industry including project management with extensive background in enterprise processes, data systems, and software security. Currently, they are the only 2 employees of the company. They plan to hire 2 salesmen by January 2013.
COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE: “The Loop” is more attractive, functional, easier-to-use, and durable than the cheap plastic bones or cloth bag holders that currently populate the market. The patent is pending. The “Green Line” bag is the only bag on the market that biodegrades in a landfill. Loft 312 Inc. owns exclusive rights to the biodegradable technology in the U.S. and Canada. The competition sell 2 types of biodegradable bags: Oxo biodegradable bags require oxygen and ultra-violet rays to break down. Vegetable or corn starch bags are designed for commercial compost and require high temperatures to biodegrade. The “Green Line” bag is also compostable with slight modification. However, only 1 facility in the U.S. currently accepts compostable plastics. Major competitors include Earth-Rated Poop Bags, Doggie Walk Bags, Bags on Board, Poop Bags, Bio Bag, and Bon Ton.
PROOF OF CONCEPT: They launched “The Loop” in May 2012 at the Mayfest festival in Chicago and sold out their inventory.
CUSTOMERS/USERS: Loft 312 Inc. has lined up 25 independent retailers as customers. Many of the retailers own multiple stores. Bed Bath & Beyond is placing their products in 40 stores. They have about 1000 stores in the U.S. Since launching sales in July 2012, they have sold 350 “Loops,” 40K “Green Line” bags, and generated $38K in revenue. They are projecting revenue of $1.3MM in the next 12 months. Their product is currently available in 2 stores: Bark Bark Club & Jameson. They are waiting on product to deliver to 23 other retailers.
STRATEGIC PARTNERS: Loft 312 Inc. was incubated by Venture Shot. Brian Koester, co-founder of Bark Bark Club, is an advisor, investor, and customer of Loft 312. Bark Bark Club offers grooming, boarding, and dog-walking services.
FUNDING: Brian Koester has invested $30K. Loft 312 Inc. is seeking $200K to accelerate manufacturing and meet current demand, for new product development, and to hire a support staff including 2 salesmen. The $200K should be sufficient for the next 18 months. Sales are projected to sustain the company until the third year at which point they will determine if they need additional capital.
SUMMARY: Loft 312 Inc.’s biggest challenge is to raise $200K and execute on the huge opportunity with Bed Bath & Beyond. Loft 312 Inc. has the potential to distribute products in over 1000 stores in the U.S. They need the capital for manufacturing, support staff, and new product development. ❒
Chicago-style innovation at its best! “The Loop.”
I love it!