First Look! Fetch Pro – one toy to throw them all

Dogs love to fetch toys, and many people play fetch with tennis balls. But these days there are better dog toys than tennis balls, and these toys come in many different shapes and sizes.

Tennis ball launchers are great at throwing tennis balls, but with Fetch Pro’s patent pending adjustable gripper you can pick up and throw any dog toy ranging from 1 inch in diameter to 6 inches in diameter. Small balls, footballs, lumpy balls, big balls, slobbery balls, plush toys, squeaky toys, dumballs, you name it.

Fetch pro has a low production cost per unit, is extremely light and compact for shipping and shelf space, thoroughly field tested, and ready for mass production.

For licensing information please contact:

Justin Garrett Hill
323.822.8831

5757 Franklin Ave #202
Los Angeles, CA, 90028

Also be sure to check out another toy I designed BirdBall the whistling fetch toy for dogs http://www.BirdBallToy.com

My journey to mass produce a dog product, and make money.


I have decided to openly chronicle my journey to make money in product development, specifically with my latest product, a dog toy I call “Fetch Pro”. I have had many ideas over the years that I have felt were inventive or a “good idea” as many people call them…But I am still working out good ways to go from having a good idea and zero dollars, to having “something” and making a profit…As with many things, I’m pretty sure the process is way easier the more money you have to throw at it, but I have also found that there is probably an ideal way to do everything that also costs the least. This of course is the goal of every business, but is especially important to a newbie entrepreneur with little or no budget. I hope that this blog may help someone who knows less about all of this stuff than I do, and also that it may grab the attention of those people who are smarter or have more wisdom so that they might teach me. If nothing else, I guess it will be my work journal….

So that said, on with the specifics!

I am already at the point with my product Fetch Pro where I have a working prototype, so in future posts I will also write about how I went from the “aha moment” to having a product in my hand. I will cover such topics as:

1. “when I think an idea is worth spending effort on”
2. other related products, aka the competition
3. patents
4. Designing, Blueprints, CAD, engineering
5. freelancers, lawyers, and contracts
6. rapid prototyping (aka 3D printing)
7. product testing

But this is actually where I am in this current story, I have gone through these 7 mentioned steps, and now have a product in hand that I think if mass produced, and marketed well, will be a product that consumers like and in turn will be profitable. So I will be writing in both directions from this point, going into more detail about the 7 previous topics as well as thinking out loud here on the blog about how to move forward.

So, moving forward…. what should I do with a working prototype and next to no budget? My current opinion is that one of the best scenarios I can imagine is if I launched a successful “Kickstarter” campaign. I think Kickstarter is currently the best platform to expose and launch a unique product directly to the consumer, while also having the benefit of potentially raising money beyond just what would come just from pre-sales. That being said, I think that pulling off a successful Kickstarter campaign will require a number of things. Some things I think would help create a successful Kickstarter campaign:

1. Make a good Kickstarter video
2. Make press releases for pet magazines and blogs
3. Make a budget for google Adwords and Facebook promotion
4. Make time to link bomb the internet!
5. Make stickers or signage for local grassroots outreach into new social bubbles

Ugh. That already seems like a lot of work to do in addition to working full time in my day job! But “To have what others don’t have, you must do what others don’t do!” Right?!!?! Ok, so I just need to accept this work, allot the time required, and do it. I will make a physical list and implement proper time management to accomplish these tasks.

Additionally I will be attending a big pet product convention in 9 days called SuperZoo. I have been to this convention twice now, both as an exhibitor and a guest. This year I can only afford to go as a guest, but I hope to achieve some networking as well as get an update on the cutting edge of the pet product world. I will pulling a power work day by flying to Vegas at 6am, networking all day, and flying back at night, to minimize costs and loss of income from taking the day off of my day job. So there we have it Those are my current thoughts and proposed plans!

SuperZoo 2014

superzoo logoYikes it has been a month since SuperZoo and I have not posted nor made a ton of progress….but I have made some…. so first of all here is my recap about SuperZoo:

Conventions are a smart way to bring together a bunch of like minded people. In the US there were more than 13,000 pet stores pulling revenues of $15.9 billion in 2013 alone (IBIS World), and SuperZoo in Las Vegas is one of the biggest pet product conventions, attracting a lot of key players in the industry. So this is definitely where a lot of business gets done.

In 2009 I attended SuperZoo for the first time by buying a booth and being an “exhibitor”. I showcased my Chinese factory made 2nd generation BirdBalls (which won 2nd place for best New Dog Product). It was extremely satisfying to be so well received by the store owners who attended the convention and placed pre-orders for BirdBalls, as well as the promising interest from major distributors, and of course receiving the Best new Product award. I really do think that it was a great way to launch BirdBall at the time, and to go from samples to pre-orders to mass production. However, now that Kickstarter and other such crowdfunding sites exist, I have shifted my thinking that those sites are a potentially a better way to launch a product. Not only is there the potential through Kickstarter to reach more way more consumers directly, but Kickstarting is also a possible method to execute a product launch with substantially less money invested. I do think that SuperZoo, the HH Backer Convention, and Global Pet Expo, however are undoubtedly super important places to expose, network, and sell product once production in dialed in.

But, because I am not currently in production, did not buy a booth to showcase my products, I decided to attend SuperZoo this year just as an “attendee”, which is free! 🙂

So here were my goals and gameplans that I thought were possible to accomplish:

1. Check out the manufacturing competition
2. Establish and build rapport with distributors
3. Consider companies that might make good partners

I’m going to say that I fully accomplished #1, and made a little progress on #2 and #3….

Here are other impression from Superzoo that I think are worth mentioning:

Walking around this year at SuperZoo among the more than 600 exhibitors it was plain to see how many companies produce the same products. I’m guessing that this is because these products were not patented. So with so many different brands making and selling the same things, two things were made clear to me once again……
1. Getting a strong patent is super important.
2. The personal relationships between the manufacturers and the distributors determines who and what gets on the shelf.

But while all of these thoughts are important and I am glad I was reminded of them, I left the convention most importantly perhaps with clarity about what major action needs to happen next. I need to launch a Kickstarter for Fetch Pro and BirdBall together. Showcase my products, and raise the funds to produce and sell my products. Patents are great, networking is great, prototypes and samples are important, but nothing beats having a lot of inventory ready to sell, and the best way it seems to get the inventory is to have a lot of orders directly from the consumers.

So first things first….

MOST IMPORTANT NEXT STEPS!!!!!

1. Make a budget for a producing a batch of both Fetch Pros and BirdBall
2. Make a Kickstarter Video showcasing the products and outlining the budget needed to accomplish the production. (who will help with this step…. Elance?)