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SwiftPaws with Meghan Wolfgram, Founder, feature #107 of Together Talks

"Together Talks" feature #107: SwiftPaws presented by KLS, freight company

Some Background on SwiftPaws

Today's edition of "Together Talks" campaign, KLS had the chance to interview SwiftPaws and Meghan Wolfgram, Founder. SwiftPaws® is a health and wellness lifestyle brand for pets. They believe pets deserve to live their very best lives and they make beautifully playful products that help them do just that! They are a team of passionate pet-people from across the USA with headquarters on the east coast of Central Florida.


Their flagship product, SwiftPaws Home allows you to create the best game of chase ever in your very own backyard. It’s easy to setup, and perfect for people with busy schedules that still want to give their pet great healthy exercise while having fun. Pet owners, industry professionals, and most importantly the animals themselves LOVE SwiftPaws.


Sit back and enjoy, while your best friend gets dog-tired with a two-minute game of capture the flag.


Hobby -> Professional -> Commercial

Meghan graduated from college in 2011, she decided to take the summer to relax before looking for a job. A self-proclaimed "crazy dog person" she was doing dog agility training at the time. She asked one of the trainers what other dog sports there are to do and she was introduce to Lure Coursing. She described it to us as chasing after a squirrel in the back yard. She went down a rabbit hole trying to learn more about it. At the time there was nowhere in Florida that offered it and being a competitive sport it was only inclusive of specific breeds of dogs. Over a decade ago the equipment used for these events was between $4,000-7,000.


Meghan told us that her Dad is very handy and she asked him if together they could make a modified version. Together over the summer they worked together formulating their configuration. As a last hurrah before looking for a job Meghan organized a BBQ and invited all of her agility friends. The premise was to let them run their dogs on the machine they had created. In total 60 people showed up and at the end of the event asked when the next one would be. This idea sparked a once-a-month fun run activity to offset the cost (fun fact they still hold this event to this day!). This sparked an idea for Meghan, "What if we made a more professional, streamlined, and commercial grade product for fun, not competition?"


In 2012, SwiftPaws was officially launched. In the same year the American Kennel Club was founded. At the time SwiftPaws was the only machine that provided running for all shapes of dogs. It was a perfect fit for the American Kennel Club. It also helped that their machine was half the price of other professional grade equipment on the market. It soon became the fastest growing K9 sport in the world. From 2012-2019, SwiftPaws ran over 50,000 dogs across their machines. Fast forward to 2018 and there was becoming a large audience and presence that consumers wanted a model to be used at their home. Meghan came to the realization that if she didn't produce the product for consumers, someone else would. They made a pivot to focusing on the consumer model. Meghan bought out her business partner in 2019 as the company was growing faster than they had anticipated and was no longer the hobby they both originally signed up for. In the 7 years of focusing on professional side, they made over 100 commercial machines. Their first batch of home machines for consumers was 1,000 machines. Meghan shared with us that today 90% of their business is consumer.


We asked Meghan the meaning behind the name. She told us she was sitting at a friend's house trying to figure out what to call her venture. She wanted it to imply you're going to run around, an active name, and something you could buy the domain name of. She wanted to make sure if starting a business there wouldn't be any future hiccups as she looked to expand into other states and potentially nationwide. She landed on SwiftPaws and used her own hand drawn logo until 2017 when she sourced an artist of which the current logo is today.


Stubbornness

"I believe my best quality as an entrepreneur is I am too stubborn to let this go."


That was how Meghan summarized her journey so far. Her company started as a hobby and then a need, but when she held that first community event she didn't envision it would become a business. Building something that didn't exist gave her flexibility to create everything from the ground up. She was able to focus on quality and durability including assembly in the US in her hometown even. As the company grows she sees the brand becoming more well-rounded. Another great attribute she possesses is she can speak directly to her customer base, she understands crazy pet parents, because at her core she is one too.


Meghan explained, "Pet care is changing and becoming more mainstream. I'm the first to admit if the slightest thing is wrong with one of my dogs I run straight to the vet, but I won't take myself to the doctor. But it is becoming more evident that pets need something to keep their brains and bodies engaged and that is what we have provided." As SwiftPaws continues to grow, she wants to make sure they don't lose sight of the things that are important to their customers. Always being willing to listen and understand the customers wants and opinions has allowed the company to expand the way that they have so far.



Meghan told us that having your own business is so humbling. But she is grateful for what this journey has given her, "This is the coolest thing I have ever done in my life. I get to play with dogs all day, but it is way more than that. I used go out and explore how could a pet's life be better, but now I get to do that for work and help others in the process. I couldn't imagine doing anything more fulfilling." She also mentioned the incredible people she has been fortunate enough to meet along her journey. One recent victory was getting nominated for an award from Purina. She explained how getting to be in the same room with companies she grew up utilizing their products or admiring from afar, goes to show how far she and SwiftPaws have come.

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Core Values

As the traction continues to build at SwiftPaws, Meghan wants to maintain their vision and staying true to who they are. She reflected on having appreciation for getting to talk about this doing various interviews discussing specific topics. One aspect that she constantly evaluates is the option to go international, and she asks herself, "Is it detrimental to our consumers to hold on to this core value?" She believes that staying true to who they are is who they want to be and why they remain assembled in the US.


Currently it is 9 weeks from start to finish for their product. Meghan mentioned that summertime and holidays are their big seasons. She mentioned that there is anxiety to some degree and while it can be good, it shouldn't be the only motivator. The company has financial challenges and that resulted in Meghan not taking a salary until 2020. But despite the challenges she has faced it is her passion for the company that keeps her going. Meghan explained how she maintains her vision, "I don't get too terribly excited over any one win and can't get too low. Understanding as the Founder I have the most to gain and most to lose, I have to stay even keel regardless of what is happening. The world will be here tomorrow, just have to stay the course."

Shark Tank

In 2022, SwiftPaws was featured on Shark Tank. Meghan considered it one of their big wins. However she shared the feedback, "They thought the business was really cool, but the product wasn't affordable enough." Meghan spent the last year redeveloping from the ground up to be close to half the price of what it was prior. This led to creating her "battle cry" for 2023, Meghan explained, "Shark Tank was this biggest high of 2022. We could've floated on that to be honest. After it aired I thought what are we now. We were on Shark Tank, what are we doing now. We were essentially a $500 dog toy and couldn't even get into retail. So my battle cry for 2023 was 'Battery Free 2023'!" Meghan explained that 80% of their warranty problems and costs were due to lithium batteries. Meghan was on the quest to create a more affordable option and the quickest way to do that was to convert it to a wall adaptable charger. In addition to that they even built an app to accompany their new line of products.


Meghan once again iterated how important it is to listen to what your consumers are saying. The transition to the new product configuration resulted in decreasing the manufacturing process from 19 steps to 4 steps. Meghan partners with a local organization that employs handicapped adults for work, which this made it all the easier to continue to support them. The new design also resulted in the product being 1/5th the previous shipping size which is a huge difference in the B2C world. Remarkably once they announced the changes they had 1,000 preorders, Meghan had her proof of concept.


Meghan explained how she reflects on running her business, "People fantasize about running your own business. You think about the reward, money, success, or the promise of reward. But during the lowest of lows you're thinking of survival. And what got me through those periods was I can't imagine doing anything more than this. My north star is pet happiness = people happiness and that message is my bigger purpose.


Next Phase

Meghan shared with us that her goal for this year is to turn a small profit. She wants to not only continue to scale, but double their current sales and production. While she is in growth mindset she wants to be very weary of "shiny object syndrome". They have developed time and a substantial investment into Chase, their newest product, and want to see it through before moving onto anything further. Meghan said that the quote is it takes 10 years to build an overnight success. Her episode of Shark Tank was a decade into her career. She wants another 10 years doing what she loves (sounds like a good where are they now check-in a decade from now!)


Another aspect that Meghan is so proud of within her community is becoming an educator in the space. They are launching the initiative, "Play Well", which consciously provides mental and physical health. It is proven that healthier people live longer lives. This is in part the future of SwiftPaws, you don't have to spend a dollar to take your dog for a fun walk. But this community will have the ability to share what is cared about, pet wellness. They will continue to make high quality made in the USA dog toys, but want to ultimately inspire anyone who sees SwiftPaws to try and encompass the overall goal of "Play Well".


Piece of Advice

The conversation with Meghan ended with her sharing her piece of advice:

"Early on, my career started at 21, I didn't earn salary until 2020. TI constantly had to tune in with myself if I was falling behind with peers. I wasn't to contributing to a 401k, so I'd ask myself is this something that is still worthy? I ultimately took it year by year. My take is people and especially young people, there is an opportunity to chase something and it is really amazing to do so while not have things that tie you down whether a mortgage or car payment. That is the time to explore and discover yourself. The repercussions of failure when you’re young are at a much smaller scale. Be sure to always check in with yourself, as quick as willing to start something be just as quick to walk away. Be real and honest."


Visit Swift Paw's website to use the coupon code below!

KLS15 ---> 15% off


Interested in being featured with "Together Talks"?
KLS is booking our upcoming schedule now!
Contact us as we would love to learn your story and share it amongst our audience.
Weekly we provide 2 companies our platform to expand their reach courtesy of our campaign. Let's collaborate!!!
In Closing

KLS wants to thank Meghan Wolfgram, Founder, of SwiftPaws for today's "Together Talks" feature. Follow along for their journey with their social handles below!


Together Talks with SwiftPaws feature #107 - presented by KLS, Klimson Logistics Solutions, freight company

Klimson Logistics Solutions - Together Talks with SwiftPaws feature #107

*Klimson Logistics Solutions is an Industry Leading Customer Service 3PL. Our focus and commitment to our clients has us striving to be the BEST customer service 3PL for LTL, FTL, Reefer, and Drayage in the country. KLS, freight company, is a 3PL providing nationwide logistics solutions. KLS shipping services include: LTL freight, FTL freight, Reefer LTL freight, Reefer FTL freight, and Drayage. Klimson Logistics Solutions thanks you for viewing our marketing campaign, "Together Talks". If you have any interest in being featured or questions regarding your freight operations please contact us today!


Why KLS?

Our precise and reliable effort.

We handle every shipment with the exact same process. It does not matter if you move one shipment a year or ten per day, you will receive the same level of customer service from us. When we started this company, we had one goal in mind, treat every shipment like it was our own. With our vast knowledge of the industry, we understood what a customer would want from a communication standpoint. We applied that process to be the standard here at KLS. Our reliability and being able to depend on our consistency is why we have such long-standing relationships with our clients.


Our Process?

Every shipment in our industry starts with a quote. We are firm believers that time is money, thus we strive to have quotes back in a 5-10 minute reply time for LTL and FTL, any FCL quotes are at the mercy of the carriers getting back to us. For LTL we have the flexibility to quote both off of NMFC and also Density depending on the carrier. Utilizing our services, you’re allowing us to use our expertise to class your freight accordingly to ensure we are providing the best rate we possibly can.

Once a quote has been submitted and a client chooses to proceed with KLS handling the arrangement of the shipment our full process begins. We create the BOL that will be used for the shipment. If it is a new location for our system, we will obtain all the important/special details (reference numbers, contact details, shipping hours, closed for lunch, dock/doors, etc.). We meticulously build every detail into our software for all future shipments involving that location. After we have both locations built and necessary reference numbers have been applied we will tender the shipment to the carrier. We use this method because it provides us a real time pickup number from the carrier to obtain updates prior to pickup. Our staff will either email the BOL directly to you or to the shipper (at your request) the minute after the tender has been accepted by the carrier. LTL carriers require a 2 hour window prior to close time in order to schedule it for a same-day pickup attempt.

The following morning you’ll receive an email from us. It will either provide the reason the pickup was missed (driver’s trailer filled up, driver missed the close time, truck broke down, shipper said no freight, etc.) or if the pickup was successful you will receive the PRO (tracking) number from us, along with the eta for delivery. Our staff will track it throughout the duration of transit and advise if anything happens that will alter the estimated delivery date. The day the shipment delivers we will email you with confirmation and the POD (Proof of Delivery), should you require it.

Your shipment has been quoted, scheduled, picked up, and delivered. The next step is waiting for the carrier to invoice us and make sure the rate matches up. If it does, we close out the invoice from the carrier in our system and automatically your invoice is created and sent to the requested party at your company. In the event the carrier has an additional charge on their invoice “Variance”, we will never send you an invoice with an additional charge without first identifying you of the charge.

Let us repeat, NEVER WILL WE JUST BILL OUT AN EXTRA CHARGE WITHOUT YOU BEING NOTIFIED.

You are our customer, we represent you. Should the carrier provide an extra charge on an invoice, “Lift gate, additional weight, reclass, detention, etc.) We notify you of the charge via email first. Second, within that email we identify what is required should you choose to dispute the charge. Again our goal is to honor your request, if you want to dispute, we will dispute. During a dispute we will provide you updates every step along the way. Once a dispute is closed out, whether it is approved or rejected, then we will invoice you as the invoice has been resolved.

For reference, our company only had 6.2% of all shipments go to dispute in 2022 and we successfully won 91% of those disputes on behalf of our customers.

This is our process for every single shipment you move with us. We don’t cut corners, we don’t hide from difficult situations. We believe in being available, honest, and transparent. We don’t ever want to tell you that a shipment is lost, damaged, misrouted, but it is our duty to notify you the second we find out something has gone wrong. We hate to present bad news, but it is part of the job. What you can guarantee is that we will work a shipment all the way through and turn over every stone until we get a resolution for our clients.


Services offered?

Our core business is LTL and FTL. Within these options we have options for both dry and refrigerated/frozen. We also offer FCL/Drayage options. Our company as a 3PL has nationwide options and services clients across the US.


Let’s breakdown our services more in-depth

LTL: Standard and Guaranteed CFS (Imports & Exports) Tradeshows Hazmat Anything that is on a pallet can be moved LTL. Typically LTL is up to 10 pallets, but the sweet spot for a carrier is 6-8 pallets at most for an individual shipment. LTL quotes are good between 5-30 days depending on the carrier. LTL can be quoted either via NMFC or density to determine the class (we do this for you).

Volume: Anything over 10-12’ of space in the truck is the technical rule for a volume shipment. When we run a quote for you we will determine if it qualifies for volume and provide you a rate if available. Volume moves allow you to get a reduced rate for larger shipments. The caveat to volume shipments it the quotes are only valid for 3-7 days and they move on capacity between terminals. If a terminal is backed up they will move their LTL freight first before the volume freight, which can lead to longer transit times for volume moves.

FTL/Dedicated/Expedited: 53’ Dry and Reefer 26’ Box trucks with lift gate Sprinter Van The main difference for FTL vs LTL is space and transit time. For standard pallets you can fit either 26 or 30 pallets in a 53’ dry van. The other main difference is transit time, for FTL each day counts in the transit time, whereas LTL does not count the day of pickup, weekends, or holidays in their transit time.

Reefer/Frozen: LTL and FTL We specialize working in the CPG space with food manufacturers. We regularly deliver to the following locations: Kehe UNFI Core Mark DPI Wegmans Cugini H.T. Hackney Netrition HEB ALDI Chambers and Owens EBY Brown Nassau Candy Harris Teeter Wakefern NU INC Long Distribution

What makes KLS different?

There are thousands of freight brokers and 3PL in our industry. Barrier to entry is rather easy and agents or owners will often hire sales people without any intention of properly training them. It results in high turnover for many freight companies and a forgettable experience for the client. We choose to operate differently through our consistency. We truly care about doing right by our clients and prospects too. While we would love to help provide our services to every company we speak with, that just isn’t realistic. We won’t always be the right fit for every company that moves freight and that is ok. Our authenticity as a shipping company sets us apart from the competition and that is backed up by our testimonials. We also run a marketing campaign bi-weekly called “Together Talks”. We interview, highlight, and promote two businesses every week. Our goal is to grow our network, make new connections, and learn something new with each collaboration. Check it out on our website and if you’re interested in being featured reach out.

Our company also runs a year long charity promotion. Book your first shipment through KLS and we donate to the charity of your choice in your name. Our way of thanking you for giving us an opportunity to show you the KLS way and what makes us one of a kind. This entire package is what we offer to every prospect and every client. Our goal is to help provide answers that customers may have when it comes to shipping. We want to always be available as a resource and will always offer a lending hand whenever we can.

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