Made in Our Hometown: Doodie Pack
Victor, N.Y. - "I was very, very squeamish about the name when I first started," Doodie Pack President Kristin Elliott admitted.
Yes, the name is Doodie Pack as in dog poop. Hey people, it's a fact of life.
Kristin's dogs have a doodie spot in the yard at her family's Victor home, but she wondered - what do you do with a full poop bag when you're on the canal for example and you can't find a trash can?
"After you've picked it up, what do you do with it? And then you feel kind of dirty and I wanted hand sanitizer," she says as she wrinkles her nose.
Putting the poop bag into the Doodie Pack is just one use for the product. You can add keys, a cell phone, a small container of water. She says dogs like having a job - it's good for their mental health.
"Dogs were domesticated to do work, they really were," she says. "To have them dressed up is really cute but they mentally need a stimulus, so to put all that gear into them, they know they are working."
As for their physical health, Kristin was worried about piling on too much weight. "I thought how much is too much so I consulted with some veterinarians across the country."
That included Dr. Marty Becker, a veterinarian consultant with "Good Morning America". (Kristin's answer to the weight question is 20% of the dog's body weight as long as they don't have any back issues.)
Endorsements for Doodie Pack have rolled in. "Modern Dog Magazine" calls it "Gotta have fall gear" and "Must haves for the dog park". "Fido Friendly" named it "best of 2011".
Launched at Barktoberfest at Lollypop Farm in 2008, Doodie Pack is now a test product at 24 Tractor Supply stores in the southeastern United States. If sales go well, Tractor Supply might carry them nationwide.
Invisible Fence and Toyota use Doodie Pack in marketing campaigns.
Kristin is excited about these opportunities, but you can hear the passion in her voice when she talks about working with non-profits like humane societies.
Kristin says she has been told, "Do you realize that dog had been in a foster dog home for 6 months? We took them to one show with your pack on that says "Adopt me" and they were adopted. I'm getting emotional because that is powerful."
Doodie Pack has given back to local charities and is getting into school spirit wear.
The packs are not only Made in the USA, they are made at Fieldtex in Henrietta. Then they are packaged at the Elliott's Victor home. It's a family affair there where Kristin's husband Rick and their kids often pitch in.
This bustling business is not her only career. Kristin is also a teacher at Gates Chili High School where her focus is Earth Science but she incorporates the importance of hard work. "I am a teacher teaching students life skills. What do they need to be successful outside of school?"
She says being a business owner makes her a better teacher, telling her students, "If you are going to continue to be late, I would never hire you. And if you are going to continue to turn in work that isn't your best work, then I won't hire you."
It's a page out of her own life as President of Doodie Pack.
"When I wake up without an alarm willingly at 3 o'clock in the morning before I go to school and work there, I know that I must be doing something that I really love."