Tell us a little about yourself, your career and your current responsibilities.
I have been an active member of the Maine business community for many years through my work with the Institute
for Family Owned Business. I currently chair this organization, and I am committed to the growth and development of
family-owned businesses across the country and in Maine,
in particular. Prior to joining Planet Dog in 2013, I was the
CEO of another family-owned business in Maine, Thos.
Moser Cabinetmakers. Thos. Moser is another iconic brand,
like Planet Dog, and is a high-end manufacturer and retailer of handcrafted American-made furniture. During my 15
years at Thos. Moser, I learned the craft of growing a very
successful, high-end brand while maintaining a culture that
embraced family values.
With the opportunity to apply this learning to another
family-owned business and iconic brand, I joined Planet
Dog in 2013. Since coming to the company, our team has
been able to accomplish a great deal. Top line sales have
grown more than 20 percent in the last two years alone, due
to new product introductions and a continuing focus on
developing strong retailer relationships. In 2016, Planet Dog
was named the Maine Family Business of the Year award
recipient, and in 2017, we are very proud to be celebrating
the company’s 20th anniversary in the pet industry.
I lead the company’s strategy and passion for creating the
best dog products in the industry, including the most innovative dog toys in the market. We are committed to made in
the USA and sustainability, and I lead the company’s efforts
towards ;;Corp certification. I am also incredibly passionate about our philanthropic arm, the Planet Dog Foundation
(PDF), which gives back through service-dog programs. This
year, in an effort to raise awareness and funding for service-dog
programs across the country, we launched our first;ever ;lanet Dog Ball on April 8, raising more than $80,000 for the direct
support of veteran’s service-dog programs.
What makes working in the pet industry unique? What inspires you most
about working in this industry?
I find the industry welcoming and supportive. I have also
found there to be a strong comradery amongst fellow busi-
ness owners to help and support each other regardless of
the challenge. While we compete with each other in some
categories, this does not seem to change the willingness that
exists for helping each other as individuals as well as our
respective businesses. In my experience, colleagues always
seem to have an openness for support and sharing of infor-
mation, which has been incredibly helpful for me in learn-
ing a new industry and leading Planet Dog. The industry is
also well informed on issues, etc., because of the strength of
the leaders within the industry and the length of service of
many of these same leaders.
I am most inspired by continuing to create the best products for our four-legged best friends and to continue to support the human-pet bond. Not everyone has the opportunity to work in an industry where the products and services
you provide enhance the bond people have with their pets. I
am a strong believer in the emotional and physical improvement that pets have in our lives, and the opportunity to see
this happening is what motivates me to continue to grow
and enhance the Planet Dog brand within the pet industry.
Do you think women bring unique perspectives and ideas to the table?
I do think women bring a different perspective and diversity to the workplace, which I think makes them uniquely
capable of being great leaders. Women tend to be great collaborators and mentors—although one of the best collaborative mentors I have ever had was a man—which allows
for more openness within an organization, thus encouraging more ideas to come to the table. I also find women to be
supportive, empathetic, compassionate and great listeners.
Pet Product News International July 2017
MOVERS, SHAKERS & INNOVATORS
Six industry leaders discuss women’s unique contributions to the pet product arena and
explain why only truly inclusive collaboration and teamwork breed success.
BY JENNIFER BONCY
Independent pet specialty retail has long been a family affair. The channel has been traditionally ;ush with mom;and;pop enterprises—stores that in their later years are
often taken over by the sons or daughters of
the pioneers who helped carve out the current
pet retail landscape. And women have long
been among the key architects in that movement, carving paths of their own along the
These days, however, women are increasingly taking the helm of businesses on
the manufacturing side of the pet industry
as well. From product innovators to COOs,
these women are applying their expertise
and unique perspectives to leadership roles
that are sure to impact the industry as a
In honor of this progression, Pet Product
News interviewed some of these leading
women to find out more about who they are,
the steps they took to get to where they are,
and the qualities and virtues they bring to the
table. What they revealed is that they do indeed think that women add a distinct medley
of leadership traits and capabilities to the mix,
and yet, that view in no way dulls their commitment to collaboration and the fostering
of the comradery they cite as cornerstones to
their personal success and the success of their
Colleen McCracken, CEO and partner of Planet Dog in Westbrook, Maine
What makes working in the pet industry unique?
What inspires you most about working in this
As an industry, what I love about pet
Do you think women bring unique perspectives
is that we get to work in an industry
that is based on and exists because of
people’s love for their animals. When
you actually think about that, it’s a
pretty amazing thing, because people
love, love, love their pets. It’s hard to
think of an analogous industry ex-
cept maybe the baby products sector.
Though having a baby is a much dif-
ferent experience than having a pet.
Right now my son is 12, and I can tell
you that my dog is much more ex-
cited when I walk through the door
than my son is ever! It’s also easier to
provide my dog with exactly what he
wants to his full satisfaction. Kids are
different. I’ll leave it at that! I think
pets show us what love is simply and
consistently, and we can’t get enough
and ideas to the table?
Marie Moody, founder and chairman of Stella & Chewy’s in Oak Creek, Wis.
“The industry presents
more opportunities than
challenges for women
because it is an industry
built on relationships and
partnerships, as well as the
emotional bond between pets