Meet Andrea Huspeni of This Dog’s Life
Helping dog parents discover the best for their best friend.
Andrea Huspeni started her blog 'This Dog's Life' in 2016 as a creative outlet and place to share her love for dogs. Today, it’s a go-to resource for information, a curated marketplace featuring high-quality products for pups, and her full-time job. Andrea spoke with me about her career path, learning from failures—her own and others—and her love for dogs that motivates her work.
“At This Dog’s Life, we celebrate our dogs. Our modern platform makes it easy for dog parents to discover and make the best choices for the health, happiness, and wellbeing of our four-legged best friends. We obsess over the details, so you don’t have to.”
A Little Bit About Andrea Huspeni and This Dog’s Life
Hi, I am Andrea Huspeni, and I am the founder and CEO of This Dog’s Life, an online destination for the modern day dog parent. On our curated marketplace, we feature thoughtfully designed dog essentials from brands committed to quality, transparency, and sustainability. Our mission is to create a higher standard for our best friends. We also are extremely focused on educating dog parents, so our blog provides advice, tips, and inspirational stories.
When did you start your brand? What is the inspiration behind it?
I actually started our in-house line first under This Dog’s Life name. Our first category was oral care, Bye Bye Dog Breath. This came after my former dog, Bentley, suffered from horrible dental disease. I didn’t realize how much of an issue it was until he passed, so I set out to create products that were easy to use yet effective. We then expanded to help with other health concerns, like calming, joint pain, and skin issues.
Our customers trusted us and started asking for recommendations for other product recommendations – everything from best dog bowls to toys and grooming. This is when we decided we could build a hub for dog parents looking for the absolute best, featuring brands that are just obsessed about dogs as we are.
Do you have any pets? If so, tell us about them!
Of course! We have Milo, a rescued bully mix. Before him, I had Bentley, a long-haired Chihuahua, so going from an 8-pound dog to one that was 55 pounds was quite the journey. But Milo has taught me so much about being a responsible dog parent and how people view different breeds and judge you for having certain types of dogs. He is a complete mush. I love him to pieces and he is the best spoon during bed.
Our other dog is Finn, a 30-pound mix, and I actually have no idea what type of dog he is. He looks like a mini golden retriever possible spaniel mix. He is definitely the boss and likes to make sure everything is in order. He is always on alert for squirrels terrorizing our backyard, and I have taught him to sniff out lanternflies for me (they are everywhere!). He loves to be loved, and if you could rub his belly all day long, he literally would be in heaven.
Can you share a bit of your journey in the pet industry?
My journey came from, as mentioned, a personal pain point I was trying to solve: dental care for dogs. It has taken a ton of twists and turns as it has evolved, which happens with nearly every startup. And I am sure there are more on the way.
The one thing that holds true for me in the pet industry, and which makes me so excited, is how much innovation is happening in it. There are so many new & independent brands pushing back against the status quo – creating new forms, using new technologies, and new ingredient profiles – it is extremely inspiring. Plus, many are taking the time to build a community, which I think is imperative.
What is an example of your biggest challenge you have faced as you have built your brand? Did you face any challenges specifically during the pandemic?
Marketplaces are actually very hard to build, if you are looking to scale quickly. There are so many entry points for a customer to join in on the journey while also being on the lookout for brands that would be a great fit for the site.
The pandemic was actually great for the pet category. The major issue was supply chain and slow shipping for some of our international brands.
Who is your target customer on This Dog’s Life?
The dog obsessed parent who takes the time to discover quality products, wants the absolute best for their dog, and is open to trying new brands. (They won’t settle for just anything.)
Do you personally have any favorite dog products or brands?
My first baby, the Bye Bye Dog Breath line, has been a definite act of love. To do product development (and do it right), what I have learned, can take months, if not years. It can be frustrating, as there are so many moving parts you don’t have control over, but when you create something you can stand behind, based on the team (in our case, vets, nutritionists, and R&D pros), it is extremely rewarding.
Other products I love are dog puzzles. I think we spend a lot of time thinking about physical activity for dogs, but mental stimulation is just as important.
Can you share a few personal tips or advice on being a successful business owner?
Know your numbers. It is extremely important to know what it costs to get your product to a customer’s home, which helps inform your go-to-market strategy.
What would you change about your business journey if you could go back?
I think in the beginning I wanted to go very, very big (like be the Goop of the dog world), which I still do, but when you have a smaller team, it can be better to focus on one area, build it out, and then build off of it.
How do you stay motivated?
It comes down to the mission, the values, and what you want out of life. How do you want to live it? That said, I do think the media can glamourize the startup world, and people need to understand it is tough, it is a long haul, and there are days that are just a grind. It’s during these times when it is so important to have a solid network of founders; they are great for brainstorming, venting, support, or just knowing there are other people out there going through the exact same thing.
How do you curate products for your website?
I look for products that have the same values we do: responsibly made, high-quality, aesthetically pleasing, and thoughtful. I also love to see products you can’t find at too many locations. Then it comes down to the founders: what drives them, what do they want to see happen in the pet space, what is their mantra.
What is one unexpected twist or turn you have encountered in your business journey that turned out to be positive?
Sadly, I think it was the pandemic. So many people got dogs, it definitely was a good time for us.
Tell our readers where they can follow you and keep up with your brand!
Please check us out:
We will be getting on TikTok soon, I just need to find a rockstar for that channel.
Thank you so much for having me!