Dog is Good is a lifestyle brand for dog lovers, launched in 2007 by Jon and Gila Kurtz. Gila, a professional dog trainer, saw an opportunity in the marketplace for clothing that not only expressed her love of dogs but was also fashionable. Jon, a Us Navy Captain (now retired) was less interested in the clothing but full of ideas for humorous, catchy phrases that playfully express the joy of being “with Dog”. Together, the couple developed a large selection of products such as shirts, mugs, and hats imprinted with endearing messages.
During the first 10 years of existence, the company struggled to meet the cash demands of a growing business. The Kurtzes experienced many challenges, such as trying to survive through the recession and losing a major client and were personally funding the company through several high-interest loans. The interest payments on the debt were cutting into their cash flow for operations. They had a demand for their products, but they did not have the cash to purchase the necessary inventory.
Jon and Gila met with Business Advisor Brett Dickstein from the Access to Capital Team at the LA SBDC. Brett reviewed the company’s financials and discussed a long term financing strategy. He also helped them through the process of applying for an SBA loan. The Kurtzes obtained a $250,000 loan from the SBA, which allowed them to consolidate their debt to a lower interest rate. It also provided capital to purchase inventory and run the company.
Since then, they have expanded their line to several new products. They now have licensing agreements with several large retailers. Nordstrom department store carries their pillowcases, and Sketchers will soon be launching a newly printed sneaker with the Dog is Good logo. Jon and Gila just signed an agreement with a major medical uniform manufacturer to have their logo imprinted on their line of medical clothing. Between independent contractors and employees, Dog is Good has created 10 jobs.
The company is now helping others to become business owners. They have launched an Exhibitor Program, which allows startup entrepreneurs to sell their products at pop-up events throughout the country. This has been a very successful program, giving many new business owners a unique product to sell.
Here is what Jon and Gila Kurtz had to say about the SBDC: “The SBDC, specifically Brett Dickstein, helped us do what no other advisors, volunteer organizations, or “hired help” could do previously. He knew precisely where to go and who to connect with to help us get the funding we needed and pull us out of crisis mode! I did not know much about SBDC until this point, but I learned they have experts covering a number of different business concerns and a lot of depth of expertise.”