At first glance, a 14-year-old Basenji, six-year-old lab mix and four-year-old pit bull mix don’t have much in common aside from their four-legged lease on life. Look again, and you’ll find there is more to the three fur-musketeers than meets the eye.
All three were rescued by Samantha Borelli, owner of Husse AZ Premium Pet Products. They share a forever home with Borelli in Arizona, where they occasionally get along. And they enjoy a healthy, balanced diet of all-natural, GMO-free premium dog food delivered right to their door.
Borelli’s mission through her work with Husse is to ensure other fur babies can do the same.
“My job is twofold,” said Borelli, who is the first franchisee in America to manage Husse products. “I service the customers to help make their pet lives healthier, and I also recruit franchisees who want to make that their mission as well.”
I service the customers to help make their pet lives healthier.
Despite Husse being a well-recognized staple in the European pet food industry for the last 30 years, Borelli said a lack of brand recognition in the States is among the Arizona franchise’s largest hurdle.
“It’s gone slower than I thought it was going to, partially because we really employ a grassroots marketing model where it’s a lot of person-to-person exposure to the products,” said Borelli, who said being prepared for the unexpected is the best advice she’s gotten since she purchased the Arizona market in 2014.
“The best thing you can do (in small business) is to make sure you have a patient group of supporters who can help you stay positive and focused on why you’re doing what you’re doing,” said Borelli, who left a career of 25 years in banking to start her business.
Since the products were approved for sale in the United States, Borelli said she has moments almost every day when she knows she made the right choice.
“I have one client in particular who has two dogs that both had really challenging issues with digestion,” Borelli explained. “They both had supposed allergies and even tried prescription diets from the vet and nothing helped until we got involved.”
It didn’t take long after the switch to Husse’s hypoallergenic line for sensitive doggie stomachs for both dogs to see marked improvements.
“It was like they were completely new dogs,” Borelli said. “I just remember stopping and thinking to myself this is exactly why I do what I do.”
It was like they were completely new dogs. I just remember stopping and thinking to myself this is exactly why I do what I do.
Cloud Friday recently had the opportunity to sit down with Borelli to discuss what she has learned about being in business and her advice for fellow entrepreneurs.
Cloud Friday: What has been the biggest challenge of your career and how did you overcome it?
Samantha Borelli: In my career as a business owner, the biggest challenge is patience. You must know that if you are doing the right things it will blossom, just maybe not on the schedule you want.
CF: What do you most enjoy about your career?
SB: I get to make animals healthier and this impacts theirs and their owners’ life.
CF: Who inspires who and why?
SB: I am a positive person, so ideally, I inspire me. Sometimes it is easy to forget how far you have come and you need to remind yourself and keep moving forward towards the goal.
CF: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned about running a business since you started your new career?
SB: To stick to my principles of what is important. Keep my bar high.
CF: Can you describe a moment or moments when you stopped and realized this is why you are doing what you’re doing with your life?
SB: Many. But one of my first customers had been through the ringer with her dog. He had “allergies and digestive issues.” They tried prescription foods and supplements from their vet but the symptoms did not ever really go away. We transitioned him on to our hypoallergenic formula and both health problems have disappeared and as she says “He is just generally a happier healthier dog.” This was life-changing for them.
CF: What advice would you offer to other small business owners?
SB: Be prepared to work hard, screw things up and basically have things not go according to plan. But in the end if you are doing this because of a passion for it, things work out and you will love what you do every day.