On Mutts, Malts, and More: A Big small Talk With Donald Erceg, We Love Our Pets Co-Founder

depicIn today’s Big small Talk, a sequel to our previous post, we’re  catching up with Donald Erceg, co-founder of We Love Our Petsa new online community we’re honored to be helping launch this fall. Donald first dreamed up the idea on his deck with a bag of peanuts in hand during a daily visit from a collection of crows,  jays, sparrows, and squirrels. We’re excited to share a bit more of his story, and preview the new community, which is officially launches in October. 

BIG SMALL BRANDS: WHAT IS We Love Our Pets, AND WHERE DID THE EARLY STAGES OF YOUR “BRAND STORY” BEGIN?

wlop-logoDonald Erceg: We Love Our Pets is a place where pet passionate people find community and connection. As a pioneer in high end brand marketing for veterinary hospitals, I saw over and over how much people love their pets and how important they are to the family. There are a very large number of people who self identify as loving their pets, and who want the best for them: the best information, the best, safest products, the best place to meet and share their stories.

BSB: Talk to US ABOUT THE PATH THAT BROUGHT YOU HERE TODAY.

DE: In June of last year, I sat with my dear friend and neighbor, Perry Kenin, and told him that I had an idea to create an online community for the pet owners I had spent the last twenty years talking to through my brand marketing. As a pet lover of the first rank, he took a shine to the idea and we spent the last year plus kicking the concept around, discussing it at length with others who would become members of the team, and rounding up a few friends to pitch in the seed capital. I am really excited by our team and looking forward to an Indiegogo crowdfunding launch on October 19. We will be having a launch party at Portland’s Columbia Edgewater Country Club from 5 – 8pm PST. We hope a lot of pet lovers will show up and help us celebrate our new company!

BSB: SUPPORTING PET-RELATED CAUSES IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE We Love Our Pets BRAND MISSION. TELL US A BIT MORE!

noun_32820DE: For most of the founders, making money is not their primary motive for becoming involved with We Love Our Pets. We share a strong desire to leave the world a better place, especially for pets and animals. As a group it was almost taken for granted that we would be sharing our profits with organizations involved in helping people and their pets. Our founding member Robyn Luchs has been contributing in this space for decades, working with over 2000 financially challenged pet owners to get spays and neuters for their animals. Her 501(c)3, SNIP, will be the first beneficiaries of our donations. In fact, we will be holding a silent auction for this organization during the Indiegogo launch party.

BSB: HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVELY INSPIRED?

DE: Single malt scotch. But, seriously, creativity is addictive. It is so much more exciting than sitting around watching daytime TV—don’t you think? Brainstorming, designing, photographing, building ideas—that’s all great stuff. I can’t imaging retiring. What would I do? Design, write, think, make books. How can anyone live on this incredible planet and not be creatively inspired?

BSB: WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU SHARE WITH OTHERS WHO MAY BE CONSIDERING LAUNCHING A START-UP?

DE: I’ve always loved the Wieden+Kennedy tagline for Nike, Just Do It! It is the most empowering tagline of our times and only our fear of failure can get in the way. But the most important thing for me is to realize that no matter how smart I am or how  great my idea is, I can’t do it alone. Collectively, my team is way smarter, wiser, and more talented than I am. We will succeed because we have a great team.

BSB: THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO TALK TO US, Donald!

Take an advance peek at the new We Love Our Pets community, sign up for a free membership, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. You can learn more about their first nonprofit partner, SNIP, in our previous Big small Talk.

For even more fun, meet the team at the Portland Pet Expo on October 15 – 16, and RSVP to join the team at the official launch party on October 19!

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