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Tail Chasers with Kerry Cooke feature #126 of Together Talks

"Together Talks" feature #126: Tail Chasers presented by KLS, freight company

Some Background on Tail Chasers

For today's edition of "Together Talks" campaign, KLS had the chance to speak with Tail Chasers and Founder, Kelly Cooke. SPLEASH® The Patented Spray Leash Attachment for your favorite leash. Attach Spleash® to your favorite leather, rope, or nylon leash so you can walk, protect, and refresh your dog on the go.


When did the company begin?

The company just celebrated our 5 year anniversary in March. We started March 2019.

Story of how it was created?

I created Spleash because I have a high energy black lab-weimeraner mix. We live in Southern California. It's really hot most of the time, especially in summer. And since she is an all black dog she is very susceptible to the heat. Unfortunately, I kept forgetting the water every time I left the house. I would get several blocks away before I would realize my mistake and go back to get the water. This happened many times. When I did remember to bring water it was never as effective as I would like. Yes, I could give her sips after fumbling with the bottle and collapsible bowl, but I couldn't cool her down without dousing her. One day I was standing there with a bottle I'd bought online, and I started filling up the little bowl that came with it and tossing the water on my dog to cool her down. I found myself thinking, well this would be so much better if it was able to spray her with water. Because I could easily get the water on her belly and chest to cool her down. Not only that but she could also drink from it and I could use the spray to clean her paws or other messes. I fully believed I would come home to find such a product on the internet, but I couldn't find anything like it. That's when it all started. Now we're five years in and have one patent, another on the way, and we have lots of great things coming up later this year.


Meaning behind the name?

The company name is TailChasers, because I am constantly chasing my own tail trying to wrangle my dogs! I just thought it would be quite funny and cute to use that name. So now we're TailChasers! As for the product name, it was a very simple idea that came to us almost immediately. The combination of the two most important elements of our product, the spray and the leash. Put them together and we got Spleash!

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What separates your company from competition?

In our field there are standard solutions such as water bottles that have a container to hold the water and a little cup attached to the bottle or separately as a collapsible add on. These solutions are fine, they work for their intended purpose, which is to provide water to a dog. But they require you to carry them in addition to the leash. That's the case with most of the products that are available for dogs. This is the only one that actually attaches to and becomes the end of any standard size rope, leather or nylon leash.


It also has the power to spray, which is something none of the other water bottle solutions have. Spleash is the only one that integrates to any standard size leash, a true unicorn in the space.


What have been the biggest challenges?

One of the first big challenges that everybody else had to deal with at the same time was getting through COVID and staying on our feet. We were right in the middle of trying to get product ready for launch, so that made some significant challenges for shipping, of course, and just getting over to the factory to do final approvals and those types of things for our team.


The second challenge was the product itself, the design was meant to ultrasonically weld together, the two halves with the pump and the spray feature in the middle. Initially, our handles had an inner lining of colorful silicone. That was either teal or orange but we found that when you welded it together that color material was creating small pathways for water to escape. We troubleshot that for months and months, but couldn't find the right frequency to have the black plastic melt together while not pulling in any of the other colors, so we just removed the color grip from the product. We didn't want water leaking from the handle because that would be slippery and no one wants to lose their grip on their dog.


Reflect on a goal you set and how it made you feel to accomplish it?

I think straight out of the gate a goal for any company that's launching in any space is to get eyeballs on your product, to increase your audience and your reach. I started working with a PR group, best decision that I ever made. Because they had the network and the knowledge to reach out to writers and outlets that were very knowledgeable and had connections in other industries. When we started working with them we started getting really great PR. We even ended up having the product on the Today Show.


And when that aired my daughter and I were jumping up down in the living room while watching. and We were so excited because Hoda and Jenna loved the product. and They were playing with it and squirting each other. and It was really a lot of fun. I couldn't have envisioned that going the way it did and that was just spectacular.


Goals for upcoming year + Next phase of the company?

I do have four products and one sort of platform idea for what's coming next. I just need to really get Spleash going before I take focus off of that. Funding would also be required to get started on the rest of my ideas, but I really do want to get more products to market that I have these ideas for because they're definitely time-saving and problem-solving for other people like me. I was just a finalist in a pitch competition, which was really fun.


We didn't win the grand prize, but we won a pretty nice prize, which was nice. That money will go to good use to help do some more, buy more product and fund more advertising.

That was great. Then we also are We are also going to be on a show later this year, which I can't say anything about. All I can say is, keep your eyes peeled when you tune in later this year! There'll be some great things happening with Spleash and I think that will help propel us to the next level. So I'm really excited about what the rest of this year brings and next year it's going to be kind of exciting.


What were your concerns about making this transition?

I like to say we're still in the puppy stage of our of our company. We have a lot of growing up to do still. You have an idea and you think to yourself I've seen Shark Tank, I can put in the elbow-grease, how hard could this be? Then you just, dive in. And when you start diving in, you realize you're sort of building the airplane as you're falling over the cliff. Before you crash at the bottom, you're hoping that you can at least get the yoke to work and pull up, right?


So there's just a lot to learn going into this. And it's been tremendously educational and has completely changed my view of how small business really runs America. There's just so many small companies out there that are facing the same challenges every day and they show up and they're trying to make somebody else's life a little bit easier.


And I think it's important for us, as we go through and you read people's reviews and comments, to keep in mind that every journey is different. and Sometimes there's some not so nice reviews and comments. You just have to try and take a breath when you're reading feedback like that. Now, I know exactly what goes behind bringing that a product to market I plan on treating those companies I buy from with little bit more grace.


How have you learned to be the face of the company?

That's been fun and interesting. And I had the pleasure of doing this with my daughter. So she also was at the pitch with me this weekend. Watching her really gain confidence in the pitching environment was a real treat. We are thankful that when she was in high school, we had the opportunity to have her attend a school that really focused on public speaking and training the kids to present early. Then she went to college and continued with that. So she's just remarkable and it's been a lot of fun to do it this with her. As far as being the face of the company, I'd like to say Lola is the face(our dog). So I love dogs. We have three and they play a big role in our journey. They were our first product testers and Lola was our first dog model and it's just been a lot of fun to have a product focused around dogs because they're the best animals on the planet, I think, as far as helping comfort people goes. It's been a lot of fun.


Describe the journey of being an entrepreneur?

Yeah, that's a great question. I've just learned so much in the last few years. It's hard to catalog everything that I've learned. Everything from, SEO and distribution networks to getting the right EDI, connectors to have your your store talk to various type of channels that want to carry your product.


I think going into it with the right mindset. You have to envision that you're going to be successful with it, right? Because otherwise nobody else is going to believe it's going to be successful. Keeping that mindset in place when you are experiencing all these challenges is one of the hardest parts about it. Because you don't want to be inauthentic. You have to have that deep desire to succeed inside yourself. Otherwise when you do hit the resistance you're just going to cave. So I've learned that I'm a lot more tenacious than I really thought I was, I am the youngest of five, I grew up in a military family and my dad really instilled in us that you can do anything you set your mind to.


But when you start going down a road of doing something in a completely different industry than you previously were, a little bit of the fear kicks in. That's when you really have to have that desire and that audacity to succeed. And that sort of surprised me, that I really had persistence and resilience more than anything.


My daughter and I have gone through a lot of challenges. And I believe that has helped the business because we want so badly to succeed. So that we can help fund more therapy dog teams that can sit with kids who have to testify in court. Because we had to do that. We want to make sure that it's a resource available to other people who have to go through something similar. So that's been driving our whole mission.


Share a mistake and what you learned from that experience?

When you start out, as an entrepreneur, your first instinct is going to be research. There is a lot for new business owners to learn and one of the best ways to do that is just to jump in and get started, usually with the help of Google. And then you make the best decision you feel at the time with the information that you have. And I really wanted to be able to go in on our website and and make whatever changes I needed to make, when I wanted to make them, and not have to pay somebody else to do it. I researched all the available platforms. Again, this was five years ago. So I learned how to work in Squarespace. I quickly figured out how to build a website on that platform. And I thought, well, I'm gonna make our product available on here! We made a beautiful website, I think. I thought it was really nice. And it was functional. And we had a good number of sales off of it, but really to be an e-commerce, you have to have a lot of other more complex tools at your disposal.


And that's one place where Squarespace is phenomenal for service-based businesses and sort of brick and mortar, but not so much for e-commerce. I think they're stepping up their game. But at the time they just didn't offer what we needed. So we pivoted and launched on Shopify instead. That transition over from Squarespace to Shopify was time-consuming. It required a lot of resources. It was stressful, and I wish I would have just interviewed a few more people with experience building websites and then made a decision on where to build ours. I could have saved a lot of time and money.


When was the first moment you felt like you could breathe?

I think that was when we we found out we were going to be on the Today Show. I kept thinking, okay, we're going to be able to link back to this video and use it for all it's worth. I think between that and when we won an award from Pet Business Magazine. They are a respected name in the industry, and we were named best travel product. Those two things happened very close in time to each other. That was thee moment we realized this idea has legs. We we can do this, we just have to get the right pieces in the right places and we'll be off to the races. We've just been working under that assumption ever since and good things keep happening.


We keep making good things happen but it's not easy, it's not. You're not just going to wake up tomorrow and 10 million orders are going to come in. There's a lot of hard work that goes into everybody's product becoming any kind of a success and you know there's different things that can happen that can derail you too. You just have to be you, know to take it slow and and not try and push it too fast. We've been relying on our organic growth the last two years and trying really hard to be cognizant of how much money we put into the business and having enough left over to keep it going. So it's been a bit of a tightrope act and I think everybody walks that to some degree.


Was there a moment where you doubted the fate of your company?

I feel that way a lot. You know, it's exhausting. There is just so much to do constantly every day to keep operations going. You have to fulfill orders and do customer service and make sure reviews get posted and make sure the website works properly. You have to pay for quite a lot as an entrepreneur. There's been plenty of those moments where I'm just not sure we're going to keep the lights on. But something seems to work out every time to keep us in that forward motion. I think, as I said, later this year, there's going to be some really great things happening. We'll see what unfolds after that.


I'm just trying to be a little more zen and allow things to unfold and stop putting what preconceived notions I have about something into it, because I find that that's when you let yourself down more than anything. You need to be more realistic about certain things.

I'm just allowing things to occur naturally, trying to plan and prepare appropriately and forecast effectively, then let the chips fall where they may.


Do you have a moment that brings you the most joy?

Being able to go on this journey with my daughter. Experiencing the highs and lows with her. We just have a really close bond and I mean, she's helped me so much with this company. She's designed the logos. She's written almost all the copy that you see anywhere about Spleash.


She's so talented and creative. And she managed our social media for the first three years. She's just been a joy to have as a partner in this.


At the end of this year, when you see what it is that happened, I think you'll look back and understand this why it is so meaningful for me and why it was so impactful. But yeah, that's the moment I can't really talk about. I do have one moment that I can talk about, we had a couple TikTok videos go viral. And whenever that happens, that's fun and also a pain at the same time because you have to keep commenting back, so there's just thousands of comments that come through and try and make sure comment on each one. Those are fun moments.


Support of Therapy Dogs

Just mentioning again that every year we try and fund the therapy dog teams, this year we have funded more therapy dog teams than the year before. We've tried to sort of double how many teams we can fund, and we do that through petpartners.org, which is an amazing organization. They have teams that are more focused on all different segments, but we really are trying to focus on the ones that are for the courtroom setting, but they have trained therapy dog teams for many different situations. Those dogs are amazing, their handlers are amazing, and if anybody can go to petpartners.org and support them by donating some money, that would be phenomenal.

Piece of Advice

It goes back to resilience and the really old saying that I certainly didn't come up with, but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And in our case, we've been through a lot of stuff and there's been a lot of challenges in our personal lives that make you really think about life and we're incredibly lucky to still be on the planet and enjoying what we're enjoying.

So take every day as it comes and be thankful and learn from it, just learn and apply those lessons so that you can avoid similar mistakes in the future.

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In Closing

KLS wants to thank Tail Chasers and Founder, Kelly Cooke for today's "Together Talks" feature. Follow along for their journey with their social handles below!


Together Talks with Tail Chasers feature #126 - presented by KLS, Klimson Logistics Solutions, freight company

Business Resources!

Look at our new page HERE designed to provide excellent opportunities that may be of interest to you. These are a compilation from our chats within our "Together Talks". If you have any suggestions please let us know as we would love to provide more valuable insight to our community!

Klimson Logistics Solutions - Together Talks with Tail Chasers feature #126

*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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