Table of contents
- Founder - Arianne Sackville
- Location - Melbourne, Australia
- Started in 2018
- 7 figures revenue
- 3 employees
What's your backstory Arianne?
Born and raised in Melbourne, the oldest of 5 children. I think that set me up from the beginning to be a leader, advocate for what I believe in and break rules that were set by others that I don't necessarily agree with - basically the perfect recipe for a business owner.
Besides this, my mum is one of the strongest women I know - raising 5 kids, is a lawyer and a total fighter. She taught me to go for what I believe in, to be brave, to give everything a go and don't let others hold you back. I'm thankful for her lessons.
As a teen and into my early 20s, my part-time jobs were always in sales. I am fascinated by the psychology of it. Why people make the choices they do, and how can I tap into it?
What is their problem, and how can I provide them with a solution? How can I help? I use that every day in business in everything I do. It helps me tell the story of Bell & Bone.
I was always driven by results, pushed by my own internal competition. I always wanted to create change where I didn't agree.
I grew up with a nut allergy, so reading the ingredients on the back of packs became second nature to me early on. I learned a lot about ingredients, preservatives, and health from doing this, questioning everything before I ate it.
I grew up loving and appreciating animals, too - how could you not? They are wonderful. My dog Louie is so beautiful. He is my inspiration in life - happy, unconditionally loving, affectionate, warm, gentle, non-judgmental, and so much more.
Bell & Bone absolutely represents everything good in my life and who I am as a person. It holds all my strongest values at its core - honesty, transparency, giving back to and being an active good member of my community, making positive change in the world we live in, helping people with their problems... and having fun while I do it, most importantly.
What is Bell & Bone?
We exist for owners who want their dog by their side at each important moment.
We do this by providing healthier, effective alternatives to dental care for dogs.
Bell & Bone primarily sells dental sticks - healthy, natural, Australian-made, science-backed, and effective in reducing the likelihood of developing dental disease.
80% of dogs will develop dental disease in their lives. It's the most common disease in dogs. If left untreated, it can turn into a range of other serious illnesses. Bell & Bone Dental Sticks are made with industry experts to prevent and reduce plaque and tartar build-up.
Caring for your dog's teeth is one of the most important things you can do for their health and well-being... and Bell & Bone works hard to be there for owners to help them make the right choices for their pet's teeth.
How did you end up starting Bell & Bone?
When I launched the business in September 2018, it was with dog treats. I liked doing it, they were good products, but I didn't feel like I was making enough of an impact on our dogs' lives. I wasn't fulfilled by this venture.
I knew how bad the dental health crisis was in dogs and that I didn't agree with the products on the market - no scientific backing, often full of unhealthy fillers, and so on...
I gravitated towards this because I knew if I did, I could really help make a positive impact on our world. Bell & Bone's goal is to become the household name in dental care for pets. Why? Because it is the go-to for owners wanting to look after their dogs' teeth.
I know that more dogs will have a healthier life, and that's all I want for this business and the legacy I have the opportunity to leave.
How did you build & launch the business?
Bell & Bone Dental Sticks was in my dreams for over a year before it launched. I knew the manufacturer who could make it for me, but they weren't working with new people at the time.
The pet industry has been in growth for a long time and has now proven itself pandemic proof too, which means saturation and more brands than there are manufacturers to make products.
I begged this manufacturer to work with me - sending them weekly business updates and wins, sending them industry news updates, running location-based, targeted Facebook ads over their office... you name it! It might sound mad, but it worked.
I worked hard with my manufacturer on this range, using their expertise in creating it.
I knew what I wanted, the ingredients to avoid and to use, the impact I wanted it to make, the price point I needed to hit, and so on.
They are a team of visionaries, scientists, pet nutritionists, food technologists, and they help me bring my vision to life, where we could begin to change the landscape of dental care for pets forever.
Besides getting the manufacturer on board, I needed to launch with a big retailer to be able to afford to buy the MOQ they were suggesting.
All my stars needed to align, or I would have gone broke before I started. I was lucky to have the support of a major pet specialty retailer, PETstock, who launched this product range in June 2020.
I'm very grateful to everyone who was there to support the brand in its early stages, and proud of the growth we have all shared together.
How have you grown the business?
I think the business has grown by really understanding my customers where they consume their information about products and care for their dogs.
For example, "influencers" is a really popular avenue for brand awareness. But rather than going down the typical route of finding influencers who have a big social following and just so happen to have a dog, I have been far more strategic than that.
My influencers are puppy school trainers, breeders, retail staff in the stores I sell to and so on. I prioritise them over any social media account following - they are Bell & Bone's influencers, and they do such a wonderful job of supporting the brand and ensuring it grows.
I don't think I have had a lucky break... still waiting for it actually! I think it's hard work, persistence and a well-thought-out strategy that has been behind the success of the brand to date.
Any big failures and learnings?
Bell & Bone is built around my journey of owning my dog, Louie. I represent the brand each and every day, which has helped to build an engaged, supportive, and loyal community of other people who own, love, and want the best for their dogs.
In October 2021, I had a baby - a beautiful little boy, Harley. In my panic about the unknown, I worried that people would lose touch with the brand if I took some time to be a mum.
In that instance, I spent a lot more than I usually would on advertising to keep on top of people's minds and it didn't have the results I wanted.
It was the first time I wasn't true to myself, losing sight of my strategy, and that was made very clear in the results.
For example, I tried things like radio advertising and paying influencers with big social presence to post pictures. It didn't feel right at the time, but I did it anyway.
It took me a lot of hard work to recover from those mistakes, which I have done now... luckily.
It has taught me to stay true to myself. People will understand your circumstances and remain loyal to you if they believe in what you have set out to achieve.
My community has stayed loyal to Bell & Bone and I feel an even stronger connection to them now that they have been with me not only on my journey of owning a dog but of having a baby now too.
What's next for you and your business?
2023 is my most exciting yet. We just launched Puppy Dental Chews, helping to prevent dental disease. They just launched and have absolutely flown out the door, there has been such a need for healthy puppy chews, and I am proud to be leading the way in this space.
We are diving further into dental care later in the year with some products that are completely innovative and never seen before... but I'm not saying one more thing about them!
We have a new pet specialty retailer coming on board, so we're focusing hard on making sure they are set up for success with education and training for their staff.
Online is a massive focus for us this year. Our website is beautifully designed to tell the story of Bell & Bone and help owners find the right product for them. We have real potential there.
Your go to digital tools?
Shopify - our online store
Klaviyo - email marketing
Meta - online advertising
Linkby - great one to find publishers
LinkedIn - this is my personal business newspaper
Any inspiring founder books you recommend?
Start With Why by Simon Sinek.
Whenever I feel like I'm moving away from my core or need some inspiration, I will read his book again, and I feel inspired each and every time by him.
Any podcasts or websites you love?
Addicted to LinkedIn... I listen to podcasts all the time, but what I listen to changes depending on what I need at that moment.
Any quotes you live by?
"If you don't ask, you don't get... I don't know who said it, but basically - if you don't put yourself forward, you're just standing still."
What do you love & hate about being a founder?
I love that I get to create the change I want to see in this world. I hate that I never stop thinking about work... even though I also kind of love thinking about work all the time too.
Any mental health tips?
My family is my happy pill. I am grateful for them; they keep standing strong.
What does it mean to be a founder?
"Resilience, commitment, sacrifice... and you better not get seasick because it's one wild ride that never stops!"
Any advice for other founders?
"Stay true to who you are, your values and what you believe. Don't just do what the trends tell you to do. Be aware and informed, but always be you."
Any special offers for our readers?
Use code FOUNDEROO20 for 20% off your order at bellandbone.com.au