Interview With Kerry Cooke
Describe your product or service:
“Spleash is a handle that attaches to any standard-sized leash, holds 12 oz of water, has a flip-open cup for refreshment on the go, and can spray at least 14 ft!”
Describe your company values and mission:
“Our company is dedicated to the pet parent and their never-ending quest to give their beloved pets the very best in all matters.”
How are you funded? I.e. type of funding, number of funding rounds, total funding amount.
“We bootstrapped the company.”
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)
“Two to five people. The CEO and founder Kerry Cooke, the Creative Director Katherine Cooke, and two fantastic PR and Marketing groups we've partnered with.”
How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!
“We first came up with the idea for Spleash while walking our black lab, Lola, in the SoCal summer heat. She was overheating on even the shortest walks, so we searched high and low for the best ways to keep her hydrated on the go. This led us to wonder, is it possible to carry water and a bowl to drink it without the inconvenience of collapsible bowls and clunky water bottles? After discovering something like that wasn't readily available, we decided to make one ourselves, and the rest is history!”
How did you come up with your startup's name? Did you have other names you considered?
“For me, there was no other name, Spleash (a combination of the words Spray and Leash) was the very first thing that came to my mind, and I couldn't want it any other way. It was one of those "Aha!" moments, a perfect fit from the very beginning.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“I've wanted to be an entrepreneur for as long as I can remember. The idea of creating something from the ground up and having it succeed has always appealed to me. To finally be walking that path after so many years of dreaming is an honor.”
Did you encounter any roadblocks when launching your startup? If so, what were they and what did you do to solve them?
“One of the biggest roadblocks we've encountered throughout the entrepreneurial process was COVID-19. We founded our company in 2019, and immediately, we started facing challenges related to the pandemic. From shipping and manufacturing to sales, there was no part of our business the virus left untouched. But, we stayed by our convictions and never let these challenges stop us, and now we're moving into the future with renewed determination!”
Who is your target market? How did you establish the right market for your startup?
“Our target market consists of any dog owners who walk, hike, or generally explore the world with their four-legged friends at their sides. As our product was specifically designed for this market, we fell into it rather naturally.”
What's your marketing strategy?
“Our social media has become a huge part of our marketing strategy. Spleash is a difficult product to explain with words alone, so we rely heavily on pictures and videos to display our product and its uses.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“We acquired our first 100 customers through a combination of our Social Media and PR strategy, not to mention our own community of supporters.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“We pay attention to our conversion rate and strive to drive customer traffic to our website more than anything. We've also been paying close attention to shipping costs as those have been increasing since the onset of the pandemic.”
What's your favorite startup book and podcast?
“I appreciate the ‘Startup Therapy Podcast’ by Wil Schroter”
What is a song or artist that you listen to for motivation?
“‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen always gets my blood pumping!”
Is there a tool, app, or resource that you swear by to help run your startup?
“HARO, Help A Reporter Out, is an amazing resource and a great way to get some PR.”
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“How strong the entrepreneurial community is. There are so many groups focused on helping each other reach new heights, and I absolutely love that.”
What is a strategy you use to stay productive and focused?
“Planners and lists are a lifesaver for me. Keeping yourself organized is the hardest and the most important part of being an entrepreneur.”
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?
“Always be communicating. The best thing you can do for your company is to know everything going on in every facet to avoid any mishaps.”
What was your first job and what did it teach you?
“My first official job was working as a waiter at a catering company. It taught me how to balance a tray with 15 delicate stemware dishes on my arm and how hard work is inevitable if you want to succeed. It also taught me how hard it is to make enough money to support yourself. That experience humbled me and gave me a better appreciation for everything I had received in life up until that point as well as everything I have now.”
More on Spleash
Kerry Cooke, founder of pet startup Spleash, shared valuable insights during our interview that will inspire and motivate aspiring entrepreneurs.