Tracker Pixel for Entry

​DogIDs, for our furry friends

by HPR Contributor | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Culture | June 5th, 2014

By Rick Abbott

DogIDs’ south Fargo office is pretty different than other offices. A huge, bounding Great Dane named Cyrus quickly makes his way through the building, with River, a yellow Lab, closely in tow.

The business, which sells personalized, engraved dog tags and a slew of other accessories, was started by Clint and Lori Howitz in 2005. What started as hobby turned into a full-fledged business in 2010, when Clint quit his former job to jump in “with both feet.” That year, the operation moved from the Howitz's basement to the current office in south Fargo. There are now 10 employees.

“I'm not good at working for anybody but myself. I tried to juggle a day job and this at the same time but it got to the point where I couldn't handle everything. One had to go," Clint Howitz said. “I wanted to build something and have it be my own.”

DogIDs sells its products online through dogIDs.com, but employees wouldn’t hesitate to help customers pick out the perfect leash, collar or tag at its Fargo office.

The flagship products are the personalized dog tags, engraved with a high-powered fiber optic laser that vaporizes the metal. Howitz said the engraving should last forever.

Another top product is a patented collar design that holds the tag on the back of the dog’s neck, allowing someone finding the dog to identify them without risking a bite by reaching under the dog’s mouth.

Those collars also hold the metal tag differently than traditional collars, so there isn’t any annoying jingling of multiple tags, that’s something merchandising manager Ashley Farkas finds helpful.

“All our dogs wear these just because we don't want to hear them jingling around at three o'clock in the morning,” Farkas said.

The company’s success hasn’t been without its challenges. Howitz said there aren’t people in the area with enough experience in online business and that bringing experienced workers in is difficult.

“When you're a startup, importing people from other parts of the country is tough, unless they're really driven to be in Fargo,” Howitz said.

“There's not a lot of e-commerce here. They don't teach this stuff in school, so it's hard to find highly-qualified employees that want to live here or are already here,” Farkas said.

Another hurdle has been working against shoppers’ desire for instant gratification. Rather than wait for a high quality and long-lasting tag to be made, some people would rather grab a pre-made option off the shelf.

“The industry has been the same for so long. Everybody knows you can go to Walmart and buy a pet tag out of a machine, but we're doing things a little differently,” Howitz said.

“Our big thing is the quality of our products. We really stand behind them, we guarantee everything and we preach that. But nobody wants to wait. Plus they don't get to look at it, touch it, feel it, so that's a barrier for us that we're all online,” Farkas said.

Howitz said they’ve spent quite a bit on SEO, or search engine optimization, which can help move a company’s listing on a search engine closer to the top. But Farkas said frequent updates by Google, for example, have complicated the process and require updating the entire dogIDs website.

Even with those issues, the long-term future of dogIDs seems to be secure, with different opportunities to expand. Howitz said they’re at a “fork in the road” with expansion, having to decide now whether to pursue a franchise model, a wholesale business, staying an online business or figuring out a mix of all three options.

There could be dogIDs products in vet clinics, boarding kennels or dog spas in the future, Farkas said. As always, the focus is on quality.

“We want people in the dog world to associate us with the go-to, top brand,” Farkas said.

As Cyrus and River started to howl for their dinner, Howitz zeroed in on the bottom line: What’s most important for him and other dogIDs employees is keeping dogs safe, with quality tags and leashes.

But they also want to raise the bar and innovate on the tried-and-true dog products.

It doesn’t hurt to look good, either.

“(Customers) want their dogs to look better than everybody in their neighborhood,” Howitz said.

IF YOU GO:

dogIDs

5522 36th St S, Fargo

(701) 277-4939

dogids.com

Recently in:

FARGO – The day Tiffany Abentroth stood up before a thousand and more Trump-loving Republicans, she knew the GOP blessing was not within reach. She wasn’t even nervous about it. Still a Marine Corps staff sergeant, she squared…

Last week we talked about my lack of photographic skills and then what the heck am I going to do with all of these bad pictures that I take. Storage options for those pictures continues this week:RAIDAnother storage option is a…

Wednesday, April 25, 9pm-howlingThe Aquarium, 226 Broadway, FargoYou may have heard their sick beats on 95.9 lpfm on Friday's from 5pm-midnight. Now you can dance your pants off in the presence of the minds behind ”The Riverside…

According to Greek mythology Hades is to blame for the Earth’s mournful state of winter. The story involves Persephone the goddess of nature and Hades the god of the underworld in a classic caper of obsession, abduction, and…

Does That Old-Time Religion Signal The End Of Rational Thought?An incident about gender identity in the Maryland Legislature last week magnified a microcosm of what we are going through in the United States about religion in the…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

All About Food

​Oysters

by HPR Staff

By Ben Myhrebenmyhre35@gmail.comAs a North Dakota native, raw oysters are just not a food staple that I think about. We are about as far from the coasts as we can get and we have a backyard full of tasty local cuisine, like walleye…

Record Store Day is all about music artists and fans celebrating “the culture of the independently owned record store.” A variety of unique and special releases are pressed for Record Store Day and those are only distributed to…

Leveraging whatever name-brand clout it might carry with the target demographic, “Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare” -- the onscreen title for the pre and post-credit sequences -- won’t make the kind of impact previously enjoyed by…

There are so many cool places to be in Austin during the South by Southwest Festival -- like the Flatstock Market, which displays the works of the world’s top gig poster artists. The show features posters of varying styles,…

By Nathan Roybardsdream@gmail.comYou are absolutely right. The title is not “To be or not to be” from the famous Shakespeare soliloquy in "Hamlet." I won’t be talking about Shakespeare particularly. I will expound the…

Fargo has its share of people who are passionate about stand-up comedy, even if the success of clubs devoted to it has been mixed. Despite the fact we have seen places like Courtney’s Comedy Club and Level 2 Comedy Club close…

I consider myself an avid wine drinker, but I recently found out there are more than 10,000 varieties of grapes, and about 1,500 of those are used to make commercial wines. I don’t know about you, but I could probably name about…

A few months ago, I was introduced to the concept of probiotics and how they work with our bodies. I would never have guessed the change that occurred after their introduction into my system.I always considered myself a fairly…

By Melissa Martin melissamartincounselor@live.com “I’m sorry” are two vital words to be used in relationships because human beings are imperfect people living in imperfect environments. Ask yourself the following…

Calm was the day in late JulyAnd bright was the sun across the skyBut inside his chest the calm had brokenGovernor Sinner had started croakin’.I laughed the first time I read that, and I’m still laughing every time I think…