Today we’d like to introduce you to Jonathan Berenson.
Jonathan, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I come from a long history of consumer retail and product development. My family immigrated to the U.S. and founded a legendary home goods store in Manhattan in the 1960s called Gracious Home.
By the ’80s that business grew into a consumer goods company, selling products to major retailers around the country, the most popular of which was our OOK Picture Hangers. I have an amazing video of my father and grandfather selling their products on QVC with Joan Rivers. Growing up I was always inventing something fun with my grandfather, or talking about branding and positioning with my dad.
To get to Two Tails Pet Company, you have to know about my wife, Tania. She’s an extremely talented interior designer with her own firm, TY Interiors, and, like me, has always had an interest in product design and branding. There are a lot of places I wouldn’t be without her. A lot.
But one thing that’s for sure is that I would not be a ‘dog person.’ I certainly wasn’t one growing up. We didn’t have pets at home, and at best, I tolerated my friends’ pets. But Tania’s dog, Luna, doesn’t understand boundaries and demands a lot of attention. But she’s really too sweet to deny. So Luna converted me, and now I’m a full-fledged ‘dog person.
After we got married, Tania and I began thinking of a business to start. We toyed around with a lot of ideas, but the pet industry was somewhere we kept circling back to. Every time we spoke about it, more fun and meaningful ideas came out. We felt like there could be space for us to make a mark and improve the industry. So we committed to building a pet accessories company with a mission to develop products that bring joy and delight into every pet owners home and life.
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?
Being an entrepreneur can be really tough, and the journey has been as fun as it’s been stressful. Which is to say, it’s a rollercoaster. It’s been a constant tug-of-war between proper business principles and our own egos.
Personally, my first instinct is to get things done myself before asking for help. But I inevitably end up wasting too much time on things I have no expertise in. I am constantly having to remind myself to ask for help in order to avoid pitfalls. But every time I reach out for the support I am blown away by people’s generosity, willingness, and wisdom.
Without a doubt, the best lesson we have learned is to follow our convictions, put ourselves out there, and apply the Nike school of business too, “Just do it.” That forced us to finally start. We had to trust that we would find out what works and then stick with it. We didn’t feel ready to launch the website. We didn’t feel ready to share on Instagram. We needed this to be better, and we needed that to be perfect. Our insecurities kept us from launching because we were afraid our work wasn’t perfect. We’ve learned that waiting until we feel we achieved perfection is a trap that kept us from turning our dreams into reality. We learned to accept that and know it’s much easier to fix something that exists than it is to perfect something that doesn’t.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Two Tails Pet Company – what should we know?
Two Tails Pet Company is inspired by the joy our pets bring into our lives and by the playfulness they draw out of us. We currently carry 19 different styles of enamel and brass ID Tags as well as leather collars. Our ID Tags are the base of our business, and as far as that category goes, it’s a major step up in style and quality compared to what’s on the market. We have an extremely durable and high-quality engraving process that we’re really proud to offer, so our customer’s identification is safe from wear.
We want to appeal to the pet owners who love dogs and design. We create pet ID tags that don’t compromise on style and are full of personality and humor. So many dog ID tags are generic and dull, so we designed a line that is refreshingly fun, cute, and heartfelt.
Why curate everything in your life to be an expression of yourself and then settle on a boring ID tag, something you see every day? Our dog Luna wears our dog-faced hamsa ID tag. Seeing her wear that every day really makes us smile and is also a great conversation starter at the dog park.
We’re also proud to build a company that gives back. We believe every dog deserves a loving home. That’s why a percentage of every purchase of our Adopt Don’t Shop ID tags are donated to local shelters and rescues.
The future of the company is to increase our selection of tags while expanding our reach online and in brick-and-mortar stores. We want to continue designing and creating new products and bring our unique approach to other pet accessories. It’s important for us not to create in a vacuum but to be continually communicating and engaging with our customers.
That way we ensure that we not only improve our current offerings but also deliver new products that add value to peoples lives. With my background in product development and manufacturing, partnered with Tania’s spot-on eye for design, we have some really exciting products coming your way.
What were you like growing up? Personality wise, interest wise, etc?
I was somewhat goofy. A nice kid, I think. Not nerdy, but also not one of the cool kids. I had three sisters and grew up living in a house that we shared with a lot of extended family. I love sports and have always been a big Miami sports fan as well as a big pro wrestling fan. We watched a lot of stand-up comedy and late night TV growing up. I watched Conan O’Brien every night before going to bed. Outside of my parents and family, Conan may have had as much influence on me as anything.
But most of all, from childhood until I was about 25, my focus was on performing and working in theatre in Miami, New York, all over the east coast, and L.A. It was incredibly transformative and taught me more than I could’ve imagined. But after some time in L.A., I soured on the ‘pursuit’ and decided it was time for acting to take a backseat.
I was frustrated with the lack of control I had over my future. Too much decision-making about my life was out of my hands. Plus, I had other dreams and interests that I wanted to pursue. Maybe someday I’ll dip my toe back in the water, but for now, I’m very content with that decision and excited for what’s ahead.
- Website: www.
- Email: twotailspetcompany@
Danna Shapiro, Jana Williams