Dogs aren’t just a vibe, they’re a lifestyle, and Fable built a brand to match

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The way recent generations of consumers have treated their dogs(!) is quite different than those that have come before. It has gotten to the point that it is memorable.

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There are a few new pet therapy services out there like Bond Vet and Small Door, and pet food companies have entered the mix in a real way, including Farmer’s Dog and Spot & Tango, to name a few.

fableOn the other hand, a puppy is thinking about the necessary accessories to parents to stay sane in an urban environment including collar, leash, crate and toys. The company just raised $9 million in Series A led by 14W, with participation from the Female Founders Fund and Slow Ventures. And that fresh cash shows that his plan to build dog goods that work together as an ecosystem is a smart one.

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The New York-based startup is riding the waves of pandemic-fueled puppy purchases and the trend in how millennials take care of their pets. Like, you know, living breathing fellows.

But instead of focusing only on pets, Fable makes a conscious effort to think about pet parents as well.

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Fables products are all designed to boot to make pet care easier and more aesthetically pleasing.

The company launched with a collar and leash, and then evolved into a new type of hands-free leash called the Magic Link. Anyone who has tried to multitask at the same time getting coffee and walking the dog can realize the value in a hands-free leash.

image credit: imaginary pets

The Fable was then expanded into other use-cases for dog care, including a crate that could double as a side table by a bed, a dog bowl, a poop bag dispenser (which could last for a few months). durable enough to not need replacing) and, importantly, toys.

In fact, Fable’s best-selling product is a game aptly named The Game. I have one for my pup who has been a real godsend.

The game has a weighted bottom and a silicone frame in which you can hold up to a cup of kibble or a treat. Inside, there’s a sliding mechanism that lets you set the difficulty for your dog. From there, the puppy activates both its game and prey drive and can occupy a considerable amount of time.

I have other treat-delivery toys for my pup, including puzzles and balls, that are either too easy for him (earning me five minutes) or cheap and super loud. The game appears to address those two problems.

Fable also released a toy called the Falcon, which delivers treats through a small slot that the pup has to squeeze to open. Falcon is cool on its own, but you can also chain multiple Falcons together to make a different, more difficult game for your little girl or boy.

All of these products are designed to look great in a small space, with matching earthy and jewel tone colouring.

This is where the real genius of the fable lies.

One product leads to another. Once you’ve purchased the essentials — a collar and leash — it no longer makes sense to purchase a matching toy or poop bag dispenser from a trusted brand. If your dog loves sports, why not buy a Falcon? Why not buy two? And if you have a Falcon, did you know that it can hang inside the crate so your dog can stay engaged and stimulated in there? And while you’re at it, why not grab a matching bowl?

But the fable is not resting there. The company is looking not only at adding new use cases to the portfolio, but also looking at ways to enhance existing products. For example, Siblings founders Jeremy Canaday and Sophie Bacaller described a plan to sell an add-on in Crate. (Right now, it has no drawers or compartments for storing human contents.)

fabled crate

image credit: imaginary pets

Canned also hinted at a separate insert for The Game that would change the difficulty of the toy for the dog.

Planned obsolescence is not part of the strategy here, but what else can the company offer to enhance existing products while releasing new ones?

Startups have found great success using this strategy.

In 2021, there were over 20,000 people on Crate’s waiting list, and Fable sold one unit of The Game every five to ten minutes during the holidays.

Overall, the business grew nearly 3 times year over year, according to the team.

It doesn’t hurt, either, that people naturally love to share content around their dogs. Organic marketing around products such as Magic Link and The Game has greatly helped spread the word, according to Kennedy and Bacallar.

The Fable’s price point leans more towards the premium end of the spectrum. The crate stands out exclusively at $395—you can pick up a crate for $40 on Amazon or Petco. But Bacalar explained that pricing depends on how you benchmark the products. For example, the crate is also a bedside table, so when compared to the prices of West Elm or Restoration Hardware, it pretty much lines up.

The game costs $55, the Magic Link costs $65, and the Vest Bag Holder costs $35, to give you some idea of ​​the range of pricing.

“They [competing] The products are designed to be thrown away and repurchased in the short term,” Canad said. “We’re really trying to rethink products from scratch and make things for both animals and humans. They’re meant to be in those two worlds at once. No one is doing that. Everyone’s either just human.” is designed for, with a quality grade that is not meant to stand up to dog wear and tear, or is dog-only, [that doesn’t fit into the use cases of a human],

(The audio on my transcript was terrible for the end of this quote. Awaiting clarification from Kennedy and will update when I hear back.)



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