What makes your products stand out from their competitors? And how do they
help pet specialty retailers distinguish themselves from their competition?
Hisamune: Our customers have come to know us by our beautiful and whimsical designs
along with the high-quality construction of our products. We are constantly coming up
with new designs to keep our catalog fresh and our retailers happy knowing they can offer
their customers something trusted and new every season. For our beds, we only use the
best upholstery-grade materials you can find in the market and sometimes partner with
designers to create unique designs just for P.L.A. Y., like our Dog’s Life, Chandelier and
Moroccan bed prints, to name a few. We want our customers to know that these styles are
exclusive to P.L.A. Y., and they won’t find them anywhere else in the market. For our toys,
we are always trying to find ways to innovate the standard squeaky toy design. We add detachable features—hoping that the dog will enjoy the ‘tearing’ action of the hook-and-loop
feature rather than actually tearing the toy apart—crinkly paper, giggle sticks and oversized,
durable squeakers to make our toys more engaging and help them stand out. We also invest
a lot of time and creative effort into the packaging of our products to help them look good
in stores and stand out in a crowded marketplace. Our products are made for and cater to
the specialty retailer looking for something different, yet affordable and responsibly made.
What does the future hold for P.L.A.Y.?
Hisamune: We want to be one of the innovation leaders in the categories we are known for, so we are always working hard on R&D
in bedding, toys and outdoor gear. The future is very exciting for us
because there are many incredible ideas in the pipeline. From new
design concepts and cutting-edge materials to collaborations with other mission-driven brands, there are plenty of opportunities for us to
deliver unique products and experiences for our retail partners and
We also believe that when a shopper buys a P.L.A. Y. product, he
or she is not just simply buying a cushion or a plush toy. We want to
build a brand that contributes to a movement that makes our environment and society a better place. That’s the reason why we are a B
Corp, why we’ve pioneered initiatives such as the Warm Bellies Initiative and Rescue Pledge, and why we are working with and giving
back to hundreds of rescues and other nonprofits across the country.
Sometimes it can lead to a lot more work, but we believe it is the right
thing to do and, ultimately, it is what we stand for and what we do to
“walk the talk” that sets us apart.
We are also investing in a different infrastructure to better serve
the needs of our customers as we grow. For instance, we just launched
an online ordering portal for our retail partners so they can order what
they need at their convenience, from any device. Also, we are constantly trying to improve our fulfillment operations so our customers can get faster shipments with accurate tracking. There are many
more efforts like these that bring incremental improvements to how
we service our customers, and hopefully that will position us well for
ABOUT OUR INTERVIEWEE: LISA HISAMUNE
Lisa Hisamune, director of sales,
has been leading P.L.A. Y.’s sales
team with her innovative concepts
for national and international sales
plans, as well as her knowledge
of what retailers need to stand
out from the big-box chains.
She has been instrumental in
developing a variety of programs,
educational resources and product
developments for customers. If
you’ve placed an order for the
company’s popular beds, toys or
outdoor collection, Lisa and her
team have ensured your store is
stocked with affordable, stylish pet
products for your customers that
are responsibly made. Around the
office, she is also known for being
the spoiler of dogs, making sure
every pup gets extra treats, belly
rubs and playtime.
Tell us about a couple of key people at your company whom your
pet specialty retail partners should know about.
Hisamune: If you’ve ever called the P.L.A. Y. office, you’ve probably experienced the stellar and personal customer service of Jan Corder, our office manager and controller. She was the first employee of the company and has been
the friendly voice on the other end of the phone for more than eight years,
answering your questions, helping your customers directly with any product
issues and assisting our sales team with your orders. Having the biggest heart,
Jan oversees all our donations to the hundreds of rescues we donate to across
the country and makes sure no one on the team’s birthday is ever missed.
Dog mom to Rhino the corgi, Natalie Hennessy, senior public relations
and marketing manger, works behind the scenes at P.L.A. Y., crafting fun and
engaging content almost as fast as she can talk. She is well-versed in the latest
marketing trends and has her hand in implementing everything from advertisements and email campaigns to social media and the website. Since joining
P.L.A. Y., Natalie has enhanced many successful campaigns, including our
Warm Bellies Initiative and Annual Scholars for Collars High School Scholarship, as well as established our brand ambassador program—you can thank
her for all the adorable pet posts on our social media profiles. Having stellar
organizational skills, she has been key in making sure we are all on target with
our projects and is always in the know of what is going on and coming up.
Natalie has always worked in small business and knows how hard it can be
to wear many hats; therefore, she is always willing to chat with our customers
to share successful marketing tips and tricks.
and her corgi, Rhino
with Jan Corder