The Silicon Review
“As a serial entrepreneur, I like to look for narrow market segments where we can add value, and/or fill a market gap.”
With a fast-growing awareness about nutrition and our own health, it is not surprising that the next wave of wellness companies are not focused on humans, but pets.
An estimated 89.7 million dogs are living in households across the U.S. and are one of the most popular pets. Needless to say, the pet industry has been experiencing explosive growth.
Boss Nation Brands, Inc. (DBA Boss Dog and Boss Cat Brand) is a company that focuses on innovating concepts that are nutritious and functional. It’s mission is to provide the best products for pets made from the highest quality ingredients containing digestive benefits. Not only do its products pack a probiotic punch, but also are delicious and fun to eat.
Boss Nation Brands was incorporated in 2018 and is headquartered in Ferndale, WA.
Basel “Vasili” Nassar, Boss Nation Brands, Inc. Founder and CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.
Q. What motivated you to come up with more nutritious and delicious food for pets? Are you a pet lover yourself?
Being an innovator, it didn’t take long for me to start researching and developing ways to produce and launch a truly unique pet food company: Boss Nation Brands, Inc. It is comprised of BOSS DOG®, BOSS CAT®, and BOSS TACTICAL® brand pillars that came out of necessity due to a personal challenge, in the form of a 160-pound Rhodesian Ridgeback named Kelby. Kelby was a fussy pup and would eat very little. We fed him every major dog food brand on the market, but he refused most of them. It was at this moment that I realized there was a lack of quality pet products readily available on the market today. Frankie the cat, among other animals, began to start the process of building a pet line focused on producing premium dog and cat products, focused on delivering health benefits.
Q. Nutritional standards are designed to meet minimal requirements, and not for individual animals or specific health conditions. Is there any scope for customization depending on the breed?
At Boss Nation Brands, we focus on delivering products that support the whole animal. At this time, our focus isn’t breed-specific. We prefer innovating quality concepts that support most all breeds and infuse them with digestive benefits such as probiotics. This is our core focus, and we take pride in establishing real standards that we can live by with all of our products.
Q. How do you gather insights to come up with new and exciting products?
As a serial entrepreneur, I like to look for narrow market segments where we can add value, and/or fill a market gap. I have a tremendous team that has been with me for years, and we collectively are always looking for our next entry point. There is no science to it, you have to understand what your objectives are, and then be sure that they serve in accordance with market demand.
Q. How do you manage your supply chain? And tell us about its flexibility. The supply chain is a funny thing, as it can be your saving grace or your nemesis.
We believe that knowing your suppliers is of the utmost importance. We choose to develop long-term relationships with all of our contract partners, from manufacturing to warehousing/logistics. It’s important to understand what your vendor partners are capable of from the beginning. Identifying short and long-term capacity constraints, productivity measures, GMP’s, and more will ensure that you set the brand up for success. I’ve always said, “You’re only as good as the product you sell”.
Q. What would you say is the single most influential factor of your business’ success?
I enjoy what I do and like to bring joy to those around me. It gives me great pleasure to see others thrive financially and emotionally from sacrifices that I’ve made, or that the team has made as a whole. In addition, I am persistent and don’t like to lose, which is common amongst anyone that pushes against the grain, I suppose.
Q. What other leaders do you look up to, and why?
My father had a significant influence on me as a business leader, along with my mother’s impeccable attendance record at work. With their combined attributes, they were the leaders that set the tone for who I am today. From a more global standpoint, Lee Iacocca has always been an inspiration to me. His previous methods for preparing the week ahead, along with his ability to pivot when needed are his most admirable traits, among many others. I also had the pleasure of meeting him once, and I couldn’t have been happier on that day.
Q. If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting as an entrepreneur, what would it be?
My advice for young entrepreneurs is as follows:
Kill your ego: It’s okay to have a healthy ego but know how to control it.
Do your homework: Don’t simply launch Uncle Joe’s BBQ sauce because everyone in your family likes it. Understand your market, look at the competition, and observe closely all obstacles to entry.
Execute on your instincts: Don’t just talk about it, set a timeline, and push yourself and others around you to get it done.
Recognize the discomfort: If it’s painful, then you are probably doing it correctly. Embrace the emotional and financial pressures with grace and push forward. This is critical, above all else.
Find your motivation: Even the best of us need a challenge and without challenge comes complacency. Challenge yourself, no matter what.
Q. What do you think is the most memorable moment in your career?
There are several but I would say overcoming a specific supply chain challenge was my favorite moment so far. Several years ago, a manufacturer used to make a dairy product for a previous company of mine. Without notice, they decided to halt all manufacturing for reasons unbeknownst to us at the time. We persevered and today my former brand is 100x the size of the former manufacturer’s brand. Small victories are the product of consistently pushing forward despite the odds.
Q. What does the future hold for Boss Dog/Boss Cat Brand and pets? Are exciting things on the way?
Boss Nation Brands has a bright future. We are a channel strategy focused company that respects the challenges represented in each unique market. There are several new exciting things on the way ranging from BOSS DOG and BOSS CAT Raw Frozen complete and balanced meals to our new high protein ancient grain kibble slated for early 2021. The future looks bright!