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A born entrepreneur.

NEW YORK -- Why would a successful young advertising executive give up what he describes as an "engaging, well-paying job" to strike out on his own as a manufacturer? For Ren Moulton, the

founder and president of Dogmatic Products Inc., the reason was simple: "I was just more interested in my clients' products and their design than in their advertising."

Moulton had grown up in the design world. His mother, Bessie Moulton, was the first woman art director for a Fortune 500 company, UNUM. As a child he enjoyed inventing toys and tools, and he thrived in the creative environment of the advertising and art worlds.

But he wanted something more. "I just knew that there were many other opportunities for great products that no one was developing," he says. "I was more focused on every phase of the product from conception to development to marketing, and the only way to be involved at a high level in all those activities was to go out on my own."

With that realization, Moulton walked away after a decade of working at such ad agencies as Goodby, Silverstein and Partners to enroll in Babson College's M.B.A. program--rated No. 1 in entrepreneurship for over a decade. A lifelong lover of animals who had always had pets, Moulton participated at Babson in a product development team that created pet products for its members' own pets while working on their projects.

"When we started looking at all the products we had created for ourselves, we did some formal research into the market," he recalls. "It's a $39 billion consumer market, growing at 8% a year with a glut of "me too" products and with no real strength in branding or design. Obviously, it was--and still is--a huge opportunity."

After graduating cum laude with the M.B.A., he embarked on what he calls "textbook entrepreneurship 101": bootstrap financing and constant monitoring of cash flow. It was difficult then, he admits, to recall the steady paychecks that advertising had provided.

Those worries are behind him now, since the company is in the black and gearing up for international growth. Dogmatic--a whimsical choice for a company name, since its culture emphasizes creativity and collaboration--has grown at an annual clip of 400% with $10 million in revenues projected within the year.

And the company has certainly brought a creative flair to the pet products category. An example is SnackShotz Treat Launcher and Discos Flying Dog Treats. The hand-held SnackShotz launcher lobs snacks through the air to one's pet dog, combining snacking with play.

Interestingly, Moulton has found mass market retailers to be quicker to appreciate Dogmatic's unique approach than pet specialty retailers (with the exception of PetsMart, which he describes as "very savvy"). "The buyers and merchandisers are generally very sharp, strategic thinkers," he says. "They understand the big picture and can grasp our vision quickly."

His advertising experience has been valuable to the new enterprise in several ways. One is a sales approach that stresses consultation and service--a result of Moulton's experience in servicing ad accounts and working as an account director. Another has been a focus on true collaboration, not only with retail partners but within the company.

His goals for Dogmatic are clear. "Our simple vision is to be the first modern, global brand in pet care--the Apple of pet products," he says. "We want to create products that fit into home decor, products the purchaser doesn't have to hide after use. We call it 'beauty with brains,' but in the end we want to make pet products cool."
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Title Annotation:SPOTLIGHT; Ren Moulton of Dogmatic Products Inc.
Author:Jacobson, Greg
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 16, 2007
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