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Meet Megan and Jonathan Bolton of Metro Paws®

Today we’d like to introduce you to Megan and Jonathan Bolton.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Megan and Jonathan. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
When Jonathan and I started dating, he didn’t even like dogs. After a few months, I said “with the girl comes the dog” and you need to love my dog like me, or I’m moving on. Well, he got that quickly, and started to love on Stone, our 14 yr. old English Lab, and they soon become fast friends. Jonathan had to take Stone out for a walk while I was on a photo-shoot one day, unbeknownst to him you have to pick up the poop, and so he called wondering what to do? I walked him through the “picking-up” process, and then he called back mad as could be. His words, “these bags are awful, they break, and I can make them better.” I then said, “well, I can make them cuter.”

That is exactly how Metro Paws® started, and we consider Stone, our eldest, our true inspiration for it all. We started with one plain bag, then a designer bag, and another, and another, and we continued to make more and more realizing we were onto something. All of the other bags at the time were not eco-friendly, had no fun colors or designs, and were horrible quality. There were only a couple other poop bag makers in existence, and we knew with being a luxury, durable, high end, yet eco-friendly product with fun designs, we would be the most unique, highest quality, and best margins in the market. We are considered in the Pet Industry “The Tiffany’s of Poop Bags”, and we take that as the highest level of compliments.

We are where we are today for our hard work, tenaciousness, great customer service, quality products and giving our customers and their pets exactly what they ask for. When there’s a need in the market, we fill it. We believe it is for our customers, both pets and humans, and that without their support and love for our company and products, we wouldn’t exist. We currently provide dog and cat products, and continue to grow our innovative lines to keep satisfying our customers every day.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
A mentor once told me to “be like a pebble in the brook”, and that knowledge is what we take with us every day. Our business focuses on both manufacturing and customer service, with 98% of our business sold directly to pet stores throughout the country on a wholesale level. So, in essence, every day is a challenge and balancing act all wrapped into one.

Selling wholesale takes a very unique skill set. We want to grow our brand and our store presence while still creating a good value and pricing for our stores. We sell everything direct so we deal directly with stores for ordering, in-store presence, promotions etc. We always need to be mindful that all stores in the same market are competing against each other, so we need to work hard not to play favorites even though some stores might have a bigger footprint in some markets versus others. It is pertinent for all stores to feel important, but at the same time we need to grow our market penetration, all while being smart with staff time and efforts to spread the love.

Recently, as we all have come to see consumer habits shifting online, so we also need to be able to cater to our customers with an online brand presence without competing against our stores, this leads to further challenges and investments all while treading lightly. We are hopeful though, that once any customer has tried our products, they will continue to support us knowing that through all the trials it is most rewarding to continue to satisfy them.

At Metro Paws, we like to say manufacturing is not for the weak. Coming up with the idea is only the first and usually easiest part of the process. You need to find the right vendors, maintain quality control, and make sure you have enough stock on hand without having too much just filling up warehouse space. This is coupled with dealing with new challenges almost everyday, whether it’s a port strike shutting down inbound shipments, bad weather or wildfires delaying store deliveries, we always need to be working on cushioning our budgets. Given that our products are sourced from different countries, we also try to be mindful of cost and production schedule and cost shifts due to raw material cost changes and political changes in certain countries. Overall, everyday is something different, and you learn a lot knowing that all our and other products getting to your home has to touch a lot of hands and made with a lot of love before it gets to you.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Metro Paws® – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We try to explain to people we mostly specialize in the “pee and poo arena”. It’s not the most glamorous items for you and your pets, but we manage to make them just that as ours are truly chic and unique. Our bags have a strong durability so they just don’t break. We are able to appeal our products to the masses, meaning to the super eco-friendly friends out there, as well as the stylish peeps, and the cost-conscious folks know they are getting a deal as we always add “more bang for your buck” with our quantities. It’s a win win for us all around.

There is really no other in the market quite like us, which we like to stand out and be something different. We care about the environment, we care about the animals, and we care about the people. Our products share just that and we couldn’t be more proud of what we create.

Metro Paws® added The Love & Licks Foundation® (501C3) to our company and product line about 3 years ago. We have been very active in the rescue community since we began this business 9 years ago, by donating funds and products to charities, rescues and helping organizations in need. We knew there was an opportunity for us to be more involved, and for others to be socially responsible, so we created the Love & Licks Foundation and products. The idea is that when you purchase any of those items, the proceeds would go back to the animals and you are helping save lives too! We hope to help save as many animals we can, ‘one paw at a time. We have personally rescued 7 dogs from the streets here in Los Angeles, which we have rehabbed ourselves, and found furever homes for. It is a constant struggle with so many unwanted dogs and cats, but we will continue to do what we can to help them as we believe is an extension of the Pet Industry and everyone should do their part. There’s nothing better than watching their “freedom ride”, and knowing we made a difference. That makes us proud.

We are also proud of the fact that we are innovators, not imitators, and our products show for that. We produce the most designer high end, luxury, eco-friendly, durable products in the market for you and your pup. We are constantly creating new concepts with new inventive materials, unlike any other, to hopefully satisfy all the pet lovers out there.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We continue to grow every day, continue to hire new employees, and continue to create new products. We will continue to do so for as long as there is the need. We are always looking forward to our future, as we have continued to have organic growth for over 9 years now, and we know there is so much more to come.

We are excited to see what is ahead, as we have put our heart and soul into this business and know our future is bright! We will always continue to make our customers happy as they do us. Who couldn’t ask for a better career than to work for and with animals? We do have some of the most inventive eco-friendly items coming soon, but shhhhh! it’s a secret for now, so stay tuned in 2018 to see what Metro Paws® has for you.

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Metro Paws®

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