Today we’d like to introduce you to Rei Kawano and Melanie Han.
Rei and Melanie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Rei: I was always an animal lover. I grew up in Indonesia in a household full of animals (five dogs, three cats, one ferret) and I was taught to always love them like family. First year of business school my family dog Mika, a Shih Tzu I considered my little sister passed away. We were feeding her food that was terrible for her health, and we didn’t even know it. When we wanted to buy a better dry food option, the kind we knew our puppies deserved, we couldn’t buy it anywhere.
That’s when I decided to start Heed Foods, a pet wellness e-commerce company, delivering healthy treats and food to customers doorsteps all across the US. I met Melanie while in business school and we soon joined forces shortly after moving to our favorite city in the world, LA.
In terms of our specific products, the benefits of maintaining a healthy gut have gained so much awareness in human diets and I have seen firsthand how gut health can affect so many things in the body. We knew it was just as important, if not more so in pups, so we searched the globe for a leading nutritionist with an expertise in the microbiome. Together, we successfully developed a revolutionary blend of prebiotic kibble that has been proven to heal dog’s stomachs.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Melanie: We’ve been learning a ton since we launched in January 2019 and everyday is honestly a bit of a cluster. But we get a ton of customer emails telling us how much our food has changed their pup’s lives and it makes everything worthwhile.
A major one was realizing that customers are constantly being bombarded with products and their attention spans for marketing can be very short. Because we have such a great product, initially, we were marketing many of our value props. Over time we saw that we really needed to emphasize just one or two of our biggest ones to catch our customers’ attention. Now we really focus on communicating how great our products are for gut health.
Another struggle has been really nailing down our product form. We want our customers to have the best experience every single time they receive an order, but with the initial packaging we had a lot of variability in our product. It was a learning process but we decided to change our packaging to allow for better quality control. We’ve begun rolling out our recipes and packaging and customers love it!
Please tell us about Heed Foods.
Rei: Heed Foods is a gut health-focused, pet wellness company. We deliver prebiotic and probiotic infused dog food and treats that heal your dog from the inside out. We’re the first dog company with a focus on gut health and also one of the few subscription-based, direct to consumer dog food companies out there.
We have a few customers who all but gave up on finding a solution to their pup’s health problems. I’d say one of our proudest moments was when we got an email from one of our customers telling us that their Boston Terrier, Chopper’s, seizures subsided since switching to our food.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Melanie: My favorite childhood memory was the day I went to the pound with my older brother and sister and got our first dog! He was a poodle mixed with I don’t know what and we named him Jedi. Even though my siblings and I sometimes fought, picking him that day was something we all had to agree on!
Rei: Growing up in Indonesia, I used to spend every free moment swimming in the ocean. One of my favorite memories was when I went diving in the Komodo islands and swam with the manta ray’s for the first time.
- Fresh Chicken & Ancient Grains Kibble – $65 (10lb Bag) and $34.99 (4.5lb Bag)
- Fresh Salmon & Superfoods Kibble – $65 (10lb Bag) and $34.99 (4.5lb Bag)
- Freeze-Dried Probiotic Apple Treats: $9.99
- Website: www.heedfoods.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heedfoods/