Cuddle Clones with Jennifer Williams

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In this episode, I chat with Jennifer Williams of Cuddle Clones. A cuddle clone is a custom plush replica that looks just like your pet, to celebrate the love that people have for their pets. The business is over five years old, and they have seen growth each year, and have 45 employees both in the US and in their Chinese production facilities.

Chewy.com is everything FOR your pet. I want Cuddle Clones to be everything OF your pet.
— Jennifer Williams

Jennifer shares the process of production, as well as the customer experience, after the order is placed. Portions of each purchase are donated to three charities per month, which vary from month to month. Typically, the donations go to a national organization, such as the ASPCA, a local organization, and an individual with a pet in need, usually found on crowdfunding sites.

Cuddle Clones has big plans for the new year. They recently had a meeting in which they began the process of creating a more robust order management system. They are also exploring ways in which they can create a community in which customers can interact and send updates for their pets. Finally, they are have also created a plan to 5x their marketing budget and spend more money on current marketing strategies.

To learn more about Cuddle Clones, you can visit https://cuddleclones.com/

Topics Covered in this Episode:

  • Product expansion, and the value of products at various price points

  • Having a Chinese production Workshop

  • Cuddle Clones’ competitors, and how they vary from each

  • The process of production

  • The use of technology in their business, and how to improve on it

  • Their plan to increase the amount of repeat customers

  • Top issue facing the company

  • The future of Cuddle Clones and the market

Transcript

Mike:                   
Welcome to the podcast. Today, we have Jennifer Williams with Cuddle Clones. Jennifer, welcome to the show.

Ellie:                      
Thank you for having me.

Mike:                   
All right. Let's hear the Cuddle Clones pitch. What do you guys do?

Ellie:                      
All right, so a Cuddle Clone is a custom plush replica that looks just like your pet. That's our flagship product, but we also have many, many other custom products that are of your pet, let's say earrings, Christmas ornaments, a pillow with your pet on it and other such custom products that celebrate the love that people have for their pets.

Mike:                   
Awesome, and you sell that only through your own eCommerce or do you also sell that through other channel partners?

Ellie:                      
All the orders come through our eCommerce website, cuddleclones.com. We do have some kind of secondary markets like Etsy, but they ended up having to come back to our site anyway because we need to get their pictures and all of their order choices and then we do have an affiliate program where different retail establishments can have a display, and they can sell a gift card or just refer their customers to our site and get a kickback.

Mike:                   
Got it. Current status of the business, any sort of vanity metrics you're willing to share?

Ellie:                      
Sure. We are about five and a half years old, we've been growing each year in 2018 will be a little over three million in revenue.

Mike:                   
Awesome. Congratulations.

Ellie:                      
Well thanks. Yeah, we're getting there, we're growing because I think last year it was 2.3. So yeah, we had a decent year this year including our two highest stays on record, our normal Christmas cutoff deadline, so get your Cuddle Clone by Christmas and then our cyber Monday sale as well. So those people won't get it by Christmas, but they've got a really good deal. So we've got 13 employees here in Louisville, Kentucky and we've got 32 employees in our wholly foreign owned workshop in China.

Mike:                   
Nice.

Ellie:                      
Yeah.

Mike:                   
Do you have any idea how many Cuddle Clones you shipped?

Ellie:                      
Man, I want to say it's probably approaching 50,000 over the five years. And yeah, we're protecting it. I think this year was maybe around 14,000, but I think we're going go for like $30,000 next year. So like try to double.

Mike:                   
Awesome. That's amazing. All right, when you think of competitors for Cuddle Clones, what comes to mind?

Ellie:                      
There's two things. So one is sort of our direct competition and there's one main competitor, their name is Petsies and the guy who started Petsies started out with a company called Budsies and they'll take pictures of like a kid's drawing like an alien or a monster or something, and turn it into a cute little stuffed animal, which I think is pretty cool.

Mike:                   
That's pretty cool.

Ellie:                      
He was on shark tank years ago, maybe 2015, but then they started doing the pets as well. And I kinda liked to say, we're more of a pet centric company so all of our charities go to pet organizations or a pet in need, and you know, as we build on our product line, it's all about like what pet lovers want versus just sort of focusing on the stuffed animal piece of it. I mean that's definitely the driver of our business and getting people to our site.

Ellie:                      
But I think that our other competition that we want to look toward is more like these sites like iheartdogs.com, or there's a couple of the ones like popyourpup.com and I heard dogs.com is probably the closest one that we strive to kind of be like, because there a content site mostly. But they've started adding products over the years and I think they've got, I don't know, a couple million followers on social media.

Ellie:                      
And so they have a lot of content, they're starting to add products and we're kind of going the opposite direction of like, "Okay, we have a bunch of products. Let's start doing some more content and get people more engaged, maybe more of a community and things like that." So yeah, they're sort of direct competition for our plush product, and then more theoretical competition from like where is a pet owner going on the internet when they're going to a site to hang out.

Mike:                   
Can you talk and if we get close to anything that you prefer not to share, just say that, no big deal but can you talk ...

Ellie:                      
Yeah, I pretty much say anything.

Mike:                   
I love it. Talk a little bit about the process. So like I, as the consumer, I upload some photos of my dog, and then you take it from there. Like how does that turn into a stuffed animal replica of my dog. Like talk about like what's happening from a technology perspective, just take me through it.

Ellie:                      
Sure. So not only do you upload several pictures and we do encourage we need the right side and the left side and the face and the tail, don't you send us the same picture 10 times. You get to choose a bunch of things, like what position you want your Cuddle Clone will be in, like lying down or sitting. Any special characteristics about your pet, like if there's a scar on his belly or oh hey, he has three legs, you know, things like that, we'll incorporate all of that.

Ellie:                      
So once we have all the information, our workshop and we basically have a huge library of digital patterns now. So each year we get a little more sophisticated in terms of our operations before, over the first couple of years it was just paper patterns. So we'd literally go to a filing cabinet, pull out a paper pattern of a standing up Chihuahua that we had done before because we have a new order for a standing Chihuahua, and we tweaked that pattern and we'd cut out the material by hand. Now, as we've grown a little bit, the patterns are all in the computer.

Ellie:                      
So if we need to change one, you know we can pretty easily on the computer. And then we have a laser cutter now. So the computer pattern talks to the laser cutter and we send the material through and it cuts it, and it cuts down on good pun, cuts down on like the dust or the small fibers that are coming off of the material as you're cutting it, like a laser kind of doesn't allow for that where if you're cutting it by hand, there's a lot more kind of fibers flowing out into the air.

Ellie:                      
So once it's there, we've brought our group of probably the most talented employees that we have, our the designers, and so they're the ones really looking at the 2D pictures and figuring out what to tweak and how to make it really come alive as far as the design. But then we've got the sewing team and they're so good that they can take a pile of maybe 50 or 60 different cut out plush pieces and just start sewing them together.

Ellie:                      
Like they're not even looking at anything, they just know where they all go. And we have what's called handwork and the handwork are the folks that are putting the toe creases on the toes or the wrinkles, you know, on a pug's face, and then it's all about stitching-

Mike:            
It's all hand stitching?

Ellie:                      
... and tightening. Yeah, tightening areas. It's really interesting. So then once all that's done, you kind of flip it inside out because all your sewing is done on the inside. And so the pattern is this flat thing that looks nothing like a stuffed animal.

Mike:                   
To somebody who's shown enough pugs' faces, that they know how to sew a pug's face inside out?

Ellie:                      
Well the handwork is done after, I guess it's stuff.

Mike:                   
Okay.

Ellie:                      
Yeah, let me rephrase that whole piece. So yeah, the regular sewing of the pieces all together are before you flip it inside out, then you flip it inside out and you do the stuffing and we now have a stuffing machine whereas we used to stop it by hand. So you know, each year we like buy a new machine and once that's all flipped out inside out, then we can do some of the handwork, you know, after the fact.

Ellie:                      
But then at that point it's still really doesn't have all of the coloring that the pet has, so that goes from there to our airbrush team. And so we use water based airbrush paint and we look at the pictures and I mean those guys are artists too, like they are looking at the pictures and doing the airbrush to kind of match the markings of the pet.

Ellie:                      
I mean that's like specific markings too, like gray on the face or you know, actual spots or like a Dalmatian, all the spots. And it's really neat, so we have 32 employees there and a couple of sort of management folks and we've got the shipping folks and photography, a lot of photography is down there as well. And it's nice that we actually have four married couples that work for us out of the 32.

Ellie:                      
And one interesting point about China for the listeners is a lot of the workers, they go on Chinese New Year every year and it's not uncommon for factory situation to lose like 30% of their workforce every year just because they don't come back from Chinese New Year or they're just migrant and they get another job, they're not really that loyal to their companies they work for. But I'm proud to say that all of our employees have been with us for three years, so that's pretty good for us.

Mike:                   
That's awesome. All right. So you get a completely handcrafted replica of your pet. One, this is the question I was gonna ask you before I started recording.

Ellie:                      
Oh sure.

Mike:                   
Because I'm super interested in this, I have a 140 pound Irish wolfhound, are they life-size? Can I get 140 pound size wolfhound?

Ellie:                      
No, they're miniature.

Mike:                   
Boo!

Ellie:                      
I know. Well we used to do life-size for one, they would cost you around 1000 bucks because the shipping alone is like-

Mike:                   
Just like a week's worth of food for an Irish wolfhound.

Ellie:                      
Well, that's true. Yeah, the bigger your dog, the more money you're spending on this dog. The other thing though is we were actually kind of bad, the bigger the pet would get, like they just didn't look right, like sometimes they were bigger and weird-looking. So we stopped doing it and it's probably best, so the Irish wolfhound he's going to probably be about 24 inches big. I mean they're pretty decent size but like your chihuahuas and your cats are more life-size, but yeah, your bigger breeds, we kind of cut it off at our large size.

Mike:                   
Super interesting. And then I neglected to look this up, like what's a price point for this?

Ellie:                      
Yeah, they're all $249, they are your fur baby 100 percent. They've got the name zone in on the tag, and what's nice about us and not necessarily our competition is that we, even though it's a custom product, we give 100 percent return guarantee if you're not satisfied.

Mike:                   
That's awesome.

Ellie:                      
Yeah, it runs around three percent or so, the returns.

Mike:                   
And you mentioned charity earlier, there's a portion of that purchase, then also go to charity? Talk about that.

Ellie:                      
Yeah, every purchase. So each month we kind of look at the tally of the amount that we have to spend on charities and we do like three different types. One is a more national organization like ASPCA, another one is more of a local organization and we always are asking on social media for people to tell us like, "Hey, tell us about your charity and maybe we'll donate to it." So maybe it's the Basset Hound rescue of Crawford, Nebraska. So we do that.

Ellie:                      
And then our third donation of the month is typically an individual pet in need, like on a crowdfunding campaign, like a go fund me, or an Indiegogo campaign where, "Oh, Charlie needs legs surgery," and they're raising some funds for that. So yeah, we kind of go national, local and individual on our own charities. And then as far as the return Cuddle Clones, we actually have a partnership with our local police department here and they take them like they have.

Ellie:                      
All the officers on routes have them in their trunk to like give them away to kids and like bad situations, or whenever they see the need to give one away.

Mike:                   
That's awesome.

Ellie:                      
Yeah, it's fun. We did that this year actually.

Mike:                   
So that's new?

Ellie:                      
Yeah.

Mike:                   
That's awesome. Wow. Okay, so you obviously technology in the factory to build the product and you sure you have very good eCommerce and digital marketing. What other like hidden tech is in this business that's not obvious from the outside? And/or, are there things that you're contemplating, like seriously contemplating, like what if I could put a chip in the dog that would allow somebody to connect their phone to the dog, that if somebody had uploaded photos or videos or you know, the story?

Mike:                   
So thinking about building community and content like, what else is there in this business as you think about it and whether that's today or in the future that starts to layer in some of those elements?

Ellie:                      
Yeah, I think like just a tech, I mean, there's not really a lot of tech that we use. I mean our site is our store so you know, the better we can optimize the site and make it a better user experience, the more, the better it's going to do. But I would say just from a backend operations perspective, like as we're growing, I come from a math spreadsheet backend, so we have a lot of spreadsheets and we literally were drawing on our white board today about how to develop a more robust order management system that is sort of beyond the typical CMS of WordPress, which is what our site's built on.

Ellie:                      
And so that's anything from, because if you think about the plush Cuddle Clone as one product and we have one vendor, I mean, which happens to be our own employees in China. But all of our different vendors for all of our products, you know, we're constantly communicating with them and changing statuses, and reviewing things, and going back and forth, and we deal with a lot of pictures. And so it's not just an order management perspective. Like, "Oh, I need you to just scan this barcode of this hairbrush and ship it out." Like there's a little bit more complexity there.

Mike:                   
So, that's a great point. If I'm in China and I'm about to airbrush it a cat, am I like pulling out my cell phone and your photos?

Ellie:                      
So they all have iPads but like our server here, like they connect to our server and so they can look at the picture. We're trying to get them, it's sort of, they sync once a day right now, but we're trying to get to the point where it's all just sort of live on the site. Whereas like right now we have one master spreadsheet for all orders in China, and they change statuses and it's a dropdown so it's a little bit user proof if you will. But, we'd like to put all that online.

Mike:                   
Totally Geek in me, that's at least a Google sheet.

Ellie:                      
No, but we used to have Dropbox but we now have our own server that's hooked to the cloud. So because Dropbox is starting to get a little bit expensive because it's like 150 bucks per employee.

Mike:                    Well I haven't looked at that.

Ellie:                      
You're keep adding up that. So we ended up getting our own server this year and then we have like a cloud service that allows our server to go out into the world. But yeah, Google sheets, I'm not into, because like the Excel functionality is just not the same. We can get into this argument.

Mike:                   
I agree with you. I still have Excel for like pro formas and stuff like that. But if you're really tracking orders, so maybe I don't know.

Ellie:                      
You have a point, it's not that complex but you know, we'd like to put it all online. And even now like when somebody like let's say China start on a Cuddle Clone, so it's been waiting in the queue and then they get started on it. They'll change the status started or whatever. We actually then have to go change it in our CMS and that actually sends an email to the customer like, "Oh hey, we've started on band, it's Cuddle Clone, you know, we're excited to get started." Whatever it says. You know, it'd be nice if China could just change that status and it triggers the email.

Ellie:                      
So it's like two steps for us right now where it should be one. So we were kind of mapping all that out this morning.

Mike:                   
Talk to me that quick customer experience.

Ellie:                      
Yeah.

Mike:                   
So I submit the order and then get obviously ... based on what you just said, notifications ...?

Ellie:                      
Yeah, you get a couple during the process, it's about six to eight weeks in a normal time turnaround. We kind of keep it there because we do allow people to pay extra for two or four or six week guaranteed, two is the fastest we can do it. But I think customers who, you know, we do like to spend time on the Cuddle Clones, you know, it'd be nice if people could have it same day, but that's just not gonna happen.

Mike:                   
That's a 3D printed Cuddle Clones.

Ellie:                      
Yeah. And actually our figurines and ornaments are 3D printed in sandstone.

Mike:                   
Oh wow.

Ellie:                      
So yeah, that's kind of a neat material.

Mike:                   
Is that here?

Ellie:                      
Well, it's here in the US. Our modelers, we have everywhere in the world, we have like three or four modelers.

Mike:                   
Awesome.

Ellie:                      
And then we print at a company called Shapeways and they've got all their printers up, I think in Long Island.

Mike:                   
You know them, yeah.

Ellie:                      
So as far as other tech, I think like from like just what we want to do, we have a lot of plans to sort of engage our users more. I mean we've got all these pet profiles which is a little bit different than other pet companies that are more transactional like I mean chewy.com is a huge one. I mean they might know your pet's name and breed, but you know, we've got all their pictures, we know their nicknames, we know a lot of things about them. And you know, it'd be nice to kind of communicate back either with, "Hey you bought this clone, look at this picture of your pet on all these other products now."

Ellie:                      
Or you know, just a lot of people are talking about how their pets have passed away and they just want to talk to someone. You know, on Facebook, we can tell too like when they kind of give a testimonial and a lot of people will write back to them. Say, "Oh, I'm so sorry for your loss." We're trying to figure out a good way to kind of let these people communicate with each other and then also in our that we have and things on our site.

Ellie:                      
So no, we're not trying to be like the social media platform of pets, but I think there's a better way to engage people we already have on there.

Mike:                   
How many purchases are for the person who's making a purchase versus a gift?

Ellie:                      
Oh, we had this info, we did like a quick survey. I think it's like 40 percent are gifts, and 60 percent is the pet has passed away.

Mike:                   
Oh, wow.

Ellie:                      
Yeah. And so then any combination of those two things. Yeah, it's a big deal. And that's one of the reasons why we started to add some of these other products, like a phone case or a journal which kind of lens themselves a little bit more to pets that are currently here with us, as opposed to a plush, which is potentially more of a grieving tool. People can hug it, cuddle with it, and things like that.

Mike:                   
I want to have a life-size version so my dog could fight with it.

Ellie:                      
Well, yes, we've gotten some fun videos of people introducing their clones to their pets. The cats I think have the worst issue, like I think the cats get real jealous, so they'll crouch down and look at the pet and eventually they'll kind of either attack it or like swat at it. And so those videos are really fun to get it from people.

Mike:                   
That's cool. Do you have a feel for how many buyers are repeat buyers?

Ellie:                      
I do know.

Mike:                   
And not just like Cuddle Clones, but

Ellie:                      
Yeah, I know, it's a nine percent of people have placed more than one order with us, and a lot of investors will be like, "Well you don't have any recurring revenue," it's like, "Come on now we're a consumer product, we're not trying to be a SaaS model, I have to say." But I think nine is pretty good and I think with a lot of these newer products that we're adding, which have a little bit lower price points, it might be easier to either get them in the door to buy a lower one and then they kind of become loyal and then buy a Cuddle Clone later when they can afford it or when their pet dies, unfortunately.

Ellie:                      
Or the other way around where, "Oh they bought a clone." Now we can be like, "Ooh, we just added journals," things like that. And I think two, it's interesting because we're only five and a half years old and so there's these loyal people who've maybe have had one pet pass away and have a Cuddle Clone of it, but we haven't necessarily been through an entire lifecycle of a pet. So it's kind of interesting to know, what know what that long tail is of our business.

Mike:                   
You're on it. That was a good one. I love that one. All right, so right, because if average lifespan is 10, 15 years, right, then you ... Yeah, it's good point.

Ellie:                      
Will they get another one? I don't know.

Mike:                   
Yeah, it's good point. This has nothing to do with business. This is just me, morbid curiosity. How far back has a set of photos gone to like, "Well, I had this dog five years ago," before you were even a business but can you do that one?

Ellie:                      
Yeah, it's at least 1970.

Mike:                   
1970?

Ellie:                      
It's a Polaroid. So we have mailing orders every now and then, and people were literally send us a hard copy Polaroid picture of a pet and it's terrible resolution, you can hardly see the colors, but we do our best.

Mike:                   
But luckily their memory is also at that same resolution, so you'd like to thank.

Ellie:                      
Yeah, the longer it goes, they're like, "Oh, it does look like, it does look like him." So yeah, and then we typically, you know, we mail those pictures back with the Cuddle Clone and not everybody who finds out about us can get online and place an order. I mean, each day becomes less and less of an issue.

Mike:                   
What percentage of orders are not online?

Ellie:                      
Oh, very, very small.

Mike:                   
Okay.

Ellie:                      
Like one order, I don't know, 500 maybe.

Mike:                   
Yeah, okay, got it. Not a big deal?

Ellie:                      
No. Some interesting reasons why people buy Cuddle Clones, not only their pets have passed away but I just had a group of high schoolers in here on a field trip and they're thinking about going off to college and they all kind of want to bring their family pet with them, so they will probably be begging their parents when they get home for Cuddle Clones of their dogs.

Ellie:                      
We've had some military folks go on deployment so they'll bring their dog with them. So anywhere, you know, when you can't really be around your pet is good. One of the most interesting stories I ever got from someone as far as why she bought Cuddle Clones. She ran up to me at a conference and I haven't had slippers on, so we make slippers of your pet as well if you want that.

Ellie:                      
So we have slippers, we have golf club covers, we have purses of your pet and then the regular Cuddle Clone. Oh I'll show you purse after this.

Mike:                   
So you have one out there? Show me then after that.

Ellie:                      
Yeah, we have one out there. So anyway, and so she's like, "Oh my God, Cuddle Clones." So she was adopting a little boy and a little girl siblings from like Thailand or something. And she had two dogs at home, but she was going to visit the children, so she had two clones of the dog's name to give to the kids so they could meet the dogs and know them before they actually met the dogs in person. So I was like, that is so cool.

Mike:                   
That's so cool.

Ellie:                      
Like, you can't make up that stuff you know?

Mike:                   
It's a great story.

Ellie:                      
Yeah.

Mike:                   
How often do you get to tell those stories when you're doing marketing?

Ellie:                      
Not often as we should or could. I mean, I think we have very, very good content and just the nature of our product is so ripe for the taking.

Mike:                   
It's totally a feel good product.

Ellie:                      
Yeah, I'm not selling a hairbrush, like I said earlier, that'd be really hard to do that. Like sometimes I'm like, "You know what, this is really not that hard," no, but it is challenging because I think our issue is awareness. If you had to ask me what our top thing is that we need to deal with and it's awareness. I mean, a lot of people don't even know this product exists, let alone that there's a couple companies that do it. I would say out of 100 people, maybe one knows what it is, maybe, not even, and this might be a 100 dog lovers. So we do have plans for 2019, we're actually five X saying our marketing budget.

Ellie:                      
So starting January 1, we put a lot of money into it because we actually have pretty good conversion once people know.

Mike:                   
What changes is that just we're going to do what we're doing today just five times more or are you adding new things?

Ellie:                      
It's mostly the former. So we haven't even really tapped to be like available Facebook market, like as far as the ad population and that's my co-founders specialty areas marketing. So he would have a lot more to say about it. Yeah, it's just more of the same like we've now proven it, we are doing, I guess you can announce things publicly now, like a little bit of a race to do some of this growth, like putting fuel on the marketing fire, if you will.

Mike:                   
Yeah, earlier you mentioned you stopped paper templates now they're obviously digital. How often or, well, maybe I'll ask it this way. When is the last time you added a new template, you have to go create a new template that you'd never had either that style of dog or whatever the case may be?

Ellie:                      
Yeah, it was probably when we made a zebra like not too long ago.

Mike:                   
You made a zebra?

Ellie:                      
Yeah, but we probably started with a horse to be honest, horse template. Yeah, so we do any pet really, but we've done-

Mike:                   
Zebra?

Ellie:                      
Ferrets. Yeah, we did a camel once too. So I don't know if it was their pet, I mean they could probably just upload pictures of any animal and we'd make it. We try to steer away from people, we don't do people.

Mike:                   
Basically just make my own zoo.

Ellie:                      
You're good.

Mike:                   
Is what you're saying?

Ellie:                      
Oh yeah. We did have a day where we had a bunch that we're shipping out and literally we as a farm, so we had a cow and a go and we're really good at chickens. If you go to our gallery, all you listeners go to the photo gallery on our site.

Mike:                   
This is going there right now while you're talking.

Ellie:                      
And filter on chickens, like they're so cute.

Mike:                   
So very little known trivia outside of immediate friends, I have a farm.

Ellie:                      
Okay.

Mike:                   
I have pigs, sheep, dogs, or not dogs. Dogs might be leisures.

Ellie:                      
Oh you should get go, they're hilarious.

Mike:                   
Chickens, turkeys, bees, all that stuff.

Ellie:                      
Nice. Okay, we've never done a bee.

Mike:                   
You'd have to blow that one up. How often you make them bigger? Do you ever make them bigger?

Ellie:                      
Well, not really.

Ellie:                      
Like even in a fish, we've done fish.

Mike:                   
Fish.

Ellie:                      
But we typically keep them smaller. The ferrets are life-size approximately. Yeah, the gallery has all kinds of things.

Mike:                   
We've got a fish. So like, it fits in your hand, it's like just a little.

Ellie:                      
Yeah.

Mike:                   
Okay. Surprising. All right. So fast forward a little bit. So if you look at this market, let's go 10 years out which is probably far enough that it, you know, it's total fuzzy, right?

Ellie:                      
Yeah.

Mike:                   
So you go 10 years out, is this a market where you have now have a ton more competitors because it's gotten easier to manufacture these? Is it a market where new technology has changed the way you've been think about this business and now you're trying to find a way to tie up, I'll make crap up, but augmented reality or something like that into the product like I love your thoughts on what you think the future of this market that looks like.

Ellie:                      
I think that the plush product itself is pretty tough to get into, but I think that we'll probably have a few more competitors try to do it. One thing is that it's not fully disruptable, if that's a word, meaning like if you want a hug something that feels like your pet, there's not some technology that might come out that would allow you to do that. Maybe virtual reality, like I did have an idea of like if everybody could start taking videos of their pet right now that you know later we could create a virtual reality game or of sorts where you get to play with your pet still.

Ellie:                      
But you'd have to kind of gather all that data now, so like you know the movements of your pet. Like my little dog, she's like a chihuahua mixed. She does this thing called prairie dog, you know, where she'll get up on her haunches and it's mostly when I'm working on my computer and I'll see her out of the corner of my eye and she'll just do it and stare at me and I'll be like, "Hey, I see you."

Ellie:                      
So she wants attention, but you know, if I don't kind of gather that now, like I wouldn't be able to kind of put it into some kind of thing in the future. But anyway, as far as the competition in the market for some of these other products, there's a lot now like you can put sort of an illustration of your pet on a coffee mug, 50 different ways, but I think it's going to be more of a community. I think that like our vision, so chewy.com, I don't know if you're familiar with it.

Mike:                   
Anecdotally, they've had a lot of good case studies done in podcasts and stuff like that.

Ellie:                      
Sure. So you know, they went from zero to $900 million in like three or four years, got sold to PetSmart for $3 million.

Mike:                   
You should do that, that sounds good.

Ellie:                      
Well, so my little saying of my vision is I want ... So chewy.com has everything for your pet, I want Cuddle Clones to be everything of your pet. So you know, if you want, like we're going to continue to add products throughout the years, not only sort of low tier mugs and things which we are doing, but sort of more curated and really neat ideas. So we have a sort of open product ideas spreadsheet that all of our people contribute to, and we came up with a really cool one the other day which was like sort of a pseudo whiteboard with your pet on it, but like cut out. So it was kind of cool.

Ellie:                      
Anyway, so we're always looking ...

Mike:                   
But you can move off of that for everybody.

Ellie:                      
Yeah.

Mike:                   
Do you have a structured way to have that conversations with your employees to get people to generate ideas or is it just, it's out there and it's open.

Ellie:                      
The latter. Yeah. So it's whenever you run across something in the world they're like, "Ooh, that'd be cool." Yeah, and it's even normally I'm like, "Ooh, how do we apply this cool product to pets?" It doesn't even have to be something they found that has to do with pets.

Mike:                   
Yeah, okay, sorry, I didn't mean to ...

Ellie:                      
Yeah. No. So I mean I think that there'll be more companies for sure, but I think it's kind of out there for the taking of which company is going to take the market in terms of, "Oh that's where you go if you want cool stuff of your pet?"

Mike:                   
The default. That's the place to be.

Ellie:                      
Yeah.

Mike:                   
If people would like a Cuddle Clone, where do they go in if they want to get in touch with you personally to ask you questions or to follow up on anything you've talked about, where can they do that?

Ellie:                      
Sure, to get one, visit cuddleclones.com or just Google stuffed animal of my pet and we should be up there on the SEO results.

Mike:                   
Nice.

Ellie:                      
And then me, I'm Jennifer.williams@cuddleclones.com.

Mike:                   
All right. And I totally have faith, because I have one more question that I thought of earlier and then I forgot. So one of the things I was thinking about, like is there a way for you, from a marketing perspective, like can you proactively scan someone's like Instagram account and identify photos of a pet? And then once they've posted enough photos of their pet, which I would imagine for many people is not that hard, that where you could reach out to them proactively on that platform and say like, "Hey, we already have enough capacity, like just click here to buy. We have everything we need to basically form a ..."

Ellie:                      
I love that idea. Yeah, I mean I think that there's probably a way to do that, whether we're kind of looking off the shelf stuff to grab all of that data versus pushing it back out to them, I don't know if it's through Instagram. I don't know how the details about it.

Mike:                   
Copyright and scan in and yeah, yeah, forget that for a second.

Ellie:                      
No, I like that idea. One cool thing we do too is these Facebook lookalike populations. So we'll take all the email addresses of everybody who bought a golf club cover, and then you give Facebook all those. And if it matches to a Facebook profile and you say, "Do a lookalike population," it will do a population of everybody, all those people's characteristics.

Mike:                   
Okay, yeah, and demographic information and stuff.

Ellie:                      
And then send them ads for the golf club covers. Yeah. Now, they don't you any of that back really.

Mike:                   
They don't tell you what the population is?

Ellie:                      
No.

Mike:                   
Yeah, all right.

Ellie:                      
No, they didn't.

Mike:                   
But that's done pretty cool. I mean, yeah, I've got to [crop 00:32:48] my Facebook marketing name, I don't know that stuff that well.

Ellie:                      
Yeah.

Mike:                   
All right, well thank you again. Sorry I had to ask that and I appreciate it and thank you so much for your time.

Ellie:                      
Yeah, it was fun.