Providing health products for pets with carefully researched
WHO ARE YOU?
Donie Yamamoto, creator, co-founder and owner of Vital Pet Life LLC
WHAT did you do?
I am the creator, co-founder and owner of Vital Pet Life; a curated line of Pet Wellness products. My mission is to create a Vital Pet Life community to help families and their pets thrive while providing health and wellness products with carefully researched clean, sustainably sourced, toxin-free ingredients. This community is our driving force as well as giving back to rescue shelters in my neighborhood, throughout the US and overseas. It all starts with kindness, compassion and the willingness to help.
HOW did you do it?
My journey as an entrepreneur has always been interesting and has taken unexpected turns. I grew up in the Philippines, where being a woman entrepreneur was a challenge. I started with very little capital and family support. In our culture, it was not acceptable for young women to become entrepreneurs at a young age, therefore I had to defy a patriarchal society to pursue my dream as an entrepreneur. I opened my own clothing store and never looked back. Not only did I have to learn to communicate with my customers and employees, while managing the business, but I overcame the societal prejudices of being a female business owner.
I met my husband Kyle in 2009 and in 2011 we moved to the US. I had to make the difficult decision to close my business and leave my five dogs behind with my parents. The new set of challenges that faced me in the U.S. culturally and geographically, tested me emotionally and psychologically. In a short time, I went from being financially independent and empowered by owning my own business to feeling like a nobody. I fell into a depression, lost my drive and lost touch with who I was and my dreams until fate brought me to Tuxedo; a handsome, personality-filled terrier mix.
As a new pet parent to Tuxedo, I noticed he had dry, itchy skin and fur issues, which I wondered if it was because he was a wire-haired terrier with very coarse hair. I began methodically researching different options and supplements to help his discomfort and
relieve his itchy, dry coat. Everything I found was extremely expensive, too costly and unsustainable to use for a long period of time. This is when I began experimenting with the more affordable Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil, adding it daily to his diet. As his fur and coat became dramatically softer and more supple using the Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil, I knew there was a market for this product. I knew I wanted to share this solution that improved Tux's quality of life, with other pet parents.
During this same time, I had graduated from fashion school with an Apparel Manufacturing and Production degree and started my own botanically-dyed children’s clothing company. The design, sourcing, production and product launch cycle was taking up to six months, so I was actively looking for a side hustle to earn some extra money; and with that Vital Pet Life was officially launched.
Tuxedo helped me heal myself and rekindle my love and concern for the welfare of animals. Growing up in the Philippines, I always saw stray animals, referred to as “street dogs”, roaming my community. I couldn’t understand why no one adopted or rescued them. Healing Tuxedo, as well as the injustice I felt for the stray animals overseas, planted the seed that grew into my passion to heal animals and give back to rescue animal shelters through Vital Pet Life.
WHEN did you start your company?
In 2017, Vital Pet Life was officially created, although it really started as a way to earn some extra money while running my children’s clothing business. I worked tirelessly growing my clothing company and at the same time my new side business, Vital Pet Life, was taking off. Every day I felt fulfilled connecting with our passionate and loyal VPL customers as they shared stories of our Salmon Oil transforming and relieving their fur babies’ issues. My vision of creating a community where we all share silly pet pics and post our pet stories was now a reality. It quickly became clear that my passion, focus and energy was with Vital Pet Life.
I began reaching out and building relationships with rescue shelters in my local community. My goal at Vital Pet Life has always been to create a compassionate and socially aware business that makes a positive impact within our community both donating products and volunteering at local shelters. What differentiates Vital Pet Life from big box Pet Wellness companies is that we create authentic relationships with non-profit organizations that share a common mission of animal welfare, outreach and compassion. I work closely with local rescue organizations Wags & Walk and Dogs Without Borders.
I am grateful for all that has come in the last three years. In 2019, I was honored to be chosen to be one of fifty Tory Burch Foundation Fellows, for outstanding entrepreneurship. This experience gave me the opportunity to meet and create close knit friendships with other like-minded entrepreneurs. Our original product, Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil, is a best seller on Amazon and we’re preparing to launch two new products in mid-2020.
WHY are you innovating with this product or service?
What sets us apart and makes our products unique is the time and energy we put into sourcing the cleanest, most sustainable toxin-free ingredients to create products with absolutely no fillers, harsh chemicals, mineral oil, sulfates and parabens. In addition we collaborate with the most reputable formulators, who work closely with me and care deeply about mindfully creating the highest quality pet products. We don’t mindlessly release products just to fill shelf space. We conscientiously give thought and research to every product we create. Our belief is that less truly is more. When we originally were testing other oils, most were costlier and therefore would be affordable for only a certain
socio-economic customer. We feel strongly that every pet and their pet family deserve the very best quality while being affordable and attainable to everyone.
Every batch of our Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil produced is rigorously tested.
Our salmon oil comes from wild-caught salmon in the pristine waters of Alaska.
It is sustainably sourced, taking into consideration environmental and economical factors. The salmon oil is extracted through a chemical-free centrifuge and filtration process. After extraction, the salmon oil goes through an additional process called Short Path (Molecular) distillation which removes all heavy metals and toxins. Once the bottle of pure wild Alaskan salmon oil is bottled and sealed, the salmon oil lasts up to two years before opening.
This is what sets us apart from our competitors and their products.
WHERE are you from?
I’m originally from the Philippines and currently live in Los Angeles, California, US.
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