That’s the vision of three former executives from the Casper mattress company who in January will launch Jinx, which is being positioned as a premium, direct-to-consumer pet wellness brand that celebrates “modern doghood.”
Jinx actually considers itself a Direct-To-Dog proposition, to the extent that it has trademarked the term. Some of its physical marketing materials, including direct-mail items, will be scent- and taste-based to “give dogs a say in what goes into their bowl,” according to co-founder and CEO Terri Rockovich, who spent four years at Casper.
“Wellness has been a trend for the past decade for humans,” Rockovich tells Marketing Daily. “I think it’s starting to make its way into the pet category, but we have yet to see a fully comprehensive pet-wellness brand that focuses exclusively on dogs.”
Jinx’s startup backers include actor Will Smith, rapper NAS and singer Halsey, and venture-capital firms with deep roots in the direct-to-consumer world. Those firms’ investments have included stakes in D2C startups Harry’s, Peloton and Warby Parker.
“Our collective experience is on optimizing the direct-to-consumer relationship,” Rockovich says of herself and co-founders Sameer Mehta (whose first dog was named Jinx) and Michael Kim. Among other D2C attributes for brands she cites are “ease of convenience, transparency, a 360-degree feedback loop, complete control over brand experience and, ultimately, the runway to innovate as informed by customer data and shopping behaviors.”
Jinx will use out-of-home media, digital channels and search at the outset to create awareness. OOH will begin in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco with “messaging that is both at a human eye level and a dog’s eye level,” says Rockovich.
Initially, Jinx will sell calorically balanced kibble and treats containing ingredients like organic chicken through its website. But brick-and-mortar sales are part of the plan going forward.
“Absolutely. I think it’s a really natural extension and in-real-life touchpoint that’s kind of critical for a wellness brand. Our highest-level objective is establishing that relationship directly with the consumer, and then I would say the next order of business is being where the consumer wants to shop.”
Jinx notes that 75% of millennials own a pet and many consider puppies and dogs to be “starter children.” In addition to other food and nutrition launches, the company plans to sell “technology-enabled pantry accessories.”
The creative agency involved with the launch is Manhattan-based &vest.