Innovating the Pet Industry with Metamorphosis’ Brock Weatherup

November 19, 2020

Life is better with pets.

On the show today is Brock Weatherup, the CEO and Co-Founder of Metamorphosis.

Metamorphosis is a family of brands in the pet industry. They offer a media platform called Great Pet Care for any and all information about pets and pet products. Another business up in the running is Anxious Pet, a medicinal pet store for anxious animals in need of some relaxation with CBD supplements and more.

Learn more about all the different businesses that Metamorphosis offers to the pet world and more in this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on   Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.

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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. Stick around to the end of the show; we'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.

And with us right now, we've got Brock Weatherup and Brock, you are the CEO and founder of Metamorphosis on the Thank you so much for joining us. Glad to be here. So Brock, I'm gonna do I'm gonna give you a title here, you seem like the the the kingmaker in the pet industry. So I would love if you could kind of just give a high level overview of what metamorphosis is, and all of the brands that are a part of this family.

Yeah, I'm not quite sure. kingmaker. But But you know, we're definitely trying hard, that's for sure. So yeah, you know, our business is, you know, we've got a lot of experience with me and my team in the pet industry over the, you know, last basically decade and started a bunch of different businesses. And so we decided we get together and create kind of part agency Park venture studio all focused on the consumer, in the pet industry. So you know, we love the consumer side of it. And so through that, we've created a few different platforms. So on the one side, we've got a media platform called great pet care, so great pet So finding information, product reviews, you know, best dog beds, to, you know, what, what is hip, dysplasia, all of those sorts of things in one location, we launched a business called the anxious pet, the category of supplements, and treats and CBD for pets is growing pretty, pretty fast, the fastest growing categories in pet. And so we created a unique set of products that are in that arena around calming around hip and joint and skinning code and some cognitive sort of things that all are, how to basically be the best pet parent that you are. So we kind of joke a little bit the anxious pet is really about the anxious pet parent who's confused about all the things that they could and should do for their path. We have another business that's called metropolis, which is a pure kind of pure play ecommerce boutique retailer. That's basically if you want like really cool, really awesome very trend forward fun. You know, leashes, collars, if you dress up your dog and put them in costumes, Halloween is coming up, you know, we, you know, you can do things at metropolis. And then last but not least, we have a business called pawprint, which is a leading app around kind of pet health and wellness. So if you want to get your medical records, understand your vaccine records, things like microchip number, those sorts of things are all in in that and that's at get pawprint calm. So

yeah. So what was the first? What was the origin of Metamorphosis? It was Did you just kind of start with one, Brandon? Well, we should also mention your backstory, like where you came from? You've been in the pet industry for quite some time. Yeah, so

I've been kind of serial entrepreneur in a few different categories I've been in the pet industry for Well, basically, last 1112 years, build a business started as pet food direct and became we've acquired a business in group business called pet MD and then made it down. It's called pet 360 which was acquired by pet smart, whereas the Chief Digital Officer at PetSmart for a while and then left and you know, got fairly active as a angel investor. And then actually when I left PetSmart, I was like, I'm never getting back in the pet industry. And so here I am, you know, five years later right back in the pet industry, so but after PetSmart I but a year after that I saw an opportunity around kind of pet telemedicine and access to you know, information and so, you know, help kind of creating co found a business called pet coach, think telemedicine, QA text interaction with veterinarians on your phone, was that that business for about a year and then that was acquired by Petco. And then I spent a couple years as the Chief Innovation Officer Chief Digital Officer at Petco, which I left about a year and a half ago. And one of the things when I left Petco was just, you know, that there's, there's just there's a lot more things to do and pet as big as the pet industry is it also likely lacks a lot of innovation. And, you know, there's not a lot of kind of businesses that have ever grew up in it. And so I said, hey, look, if I could pull together A group of people I, I've loved working with and you know, we go after an industry we know pretty well then let's see what we can go and create. And so actually our one year anniversary as a company was two days ago. So September 15, was our official first day. And so we're just over a year in and we're having a lot of fun with it.

Yeah. You know, as I'm kind of going through your experience, and again, I read I met with your team, pre acquisition on pet 360. At shareasale. Had a had a conference. And yeah, way back in the day with my other company savings Angel. And where did Where did pet 360s? succeed? where maybe like the infamous Do you? I'm sure you've you know that story really well. And that's one that always kind of comes up from, you know, they're kind of the poster child for Bubble, back then what what did they What did they do wrong? There are a lot of and I don't mean to throw them under the bus.

But trust me, it comes up all the time. Right? And, you know, look, you can look at chewy, and the amazing success that Chu is had. It's a $20 billion company now. So, you know, they are equivalent of Right? Well, I guess there's some other pets calm, and they still have not made a dime. So yeah, but they're still worth 20 billion. So I guess I can't say it's something wrong with that. But, you know, pet 360, you know, the big thing that we put together as we combined content and commerce and personalization is, you know, we thought that, you know, if you brought the right content to educate the pet owner, pet parent about what they wanted to do that you could then help them find the right product. I mean, there's such a huge variety of products out in the marketplace for pets. And it's like, you know, you have to find the right one. And one of the things that I think the pet industry does not do very well is personalized, you know, they might talk to you, or they talk to me and a rock, you're a pet owner. Okay, great. Well, I haven't I have a nine year old retriever named Boulder. And he's awesome. And he's got his own quirks and things. But like, you know, the other person next to me might have a might also have a pet or even a dog, but they've got a one year old Chihuahua. And with all due respect to both of us having dogs, like our pet owning lives are wildly different. So it's like how do you know, like, dependent, she kind of talks very broadly about that. And so, you know, a lot of things that we did, there was really around sort of around personalization. And, you know, making it interesting and helping educate the consumer.

Yeah. So, today, what was in terms of metamorphosis? What was the first of it? As it launched? What was what was there one brand? And then the other ones kind of came about?

Yeah, there were kind of two to start. I mean, we just, you know, again, you pull a bunch of smart people. Yeah, my theory was you pull a bunch of smart people, but you know, against a common goal against an industry that has some whitespace. And we said, let's, what could we create? So, you know, you start with what, you know, wow. And so that's where great pet care started. So we said, Look, let's just start creating content that consumers will want to know that builds an audience by building the audience, then you can start to test and trial different things with it. We also knew pretty much on day one that we wanted to be a player and be successful in the whole supplements and treats and CBD space for pets. Because Yeah, again, a category that has a couple kind of leaders in it, but does not, in my opinion, have great product that's delivered in a great way or frankly, has, you know, a whole lot of fun with it. And we said, hey, how do we, you know, how do we have fun with this, we'll get through to us but like, here's a little like, kind of one of our things, just having fun with this and like, okay, so called the hip and hotbar right, so it's around joint right and join and creating a different sort of almost like an adventure bar, sort of formats, that it's easy to give to your pet. So just trying to innovate and create kind of new products and deliver them in a in a vehicle that, you know, is easy for the consumer to work with.

So I would imagine now then, if someone says, Man, I would really liked, like, I've got this great idea for a product, I'd love to bring it to market. You work with those start those companies start those products, right, absolutely.

Yeah, absolutely. You know, whether it's we, you know, have partnerships with them. And you know, we're, we're actually in process I can't say yet but it'll be probably sometime late next month, where, you know, this amazing company that's out of the UK that's in the sustainable you know, how do you convert you know, basically waste and turn it into beautiful product and so, we're going to help them launch you know, sustainable products for the pet industry. So how do you take you know, I

waste You'll have to forgive me, my mind immediately went to dogs. waste.

No, no, no, no sorry, this is this is cute. This is like a human garbage way. Sorry. So we

haven't cracked that if we if we can repurpose doggy doo. Now that is that is the

idea that there will be in a different place, though. So not that but you know, how do we take, you know, things that are kind of, you know, waste like ocean plastic being a prime example, and then turn that into beautiful beds and bowls and collars and leashes. And so, in that case, they have a business that's doing, you know, well and growing in Europe, and they wanted to be in the US. And so we're actually going to build their us business with them and for them. So we'll create that sort of dynamic. And so if there are companies who have either, you know, products or frankly, digital services or other sort of dynamics in the pet industry that are looking to, how do I really grow my business? And how do I become successful in the North American pet market, we would love to talk to them.

So when if someone's listening to this conversation, and they've got a product that they would love to bring to market? Who do they talk to? And what are the opportunities that you can help them with?

Yeah, well, I mean, I mean, the easiest way that folks can you know what, they can go to metamorphosis calm, there's a there's an info box there, I have the blessing or maybe the curse of being the only Brock weather up in the planet. So you can't Google Brock weather up and Oh, are you that Brock weather up, so they can find me on LinkedIn otherwise that way, but the way that we can help is, you know, we have a, basically a full service agency, where we can help whether it's branding strategy, you know, whether it's marketing programs, whether it's, you know, kind of, you know, creative aspects that want to go to creating content elements. So we do that with a few different partners, we have kind of that whole side of it, then there's the other side of which is really our venture studio side of it, it's our internal piece where, you know, we can help, you know, somebody, you know, has a great idea, but doesn't know how to bring it to market. You know, that's where we can come in, whether it's, you know, frankly, technically building e commerce sites and creating logistics to, you know, launching it, including all the marketing elements. So we can kind of do kind of both sides that if we get really excited about an idea, we typically will like to kind of bring that, you know, that product or that group within, within our world one, but I didn't talk about because we're figuring out kind of the right way, but we acquired a business called Barkley. In the pet services kind of arena, they mostly in walking, but obviously, with COVID, a lot of dog walking was not a lot was not was not needed, right, everybody was home, nobody needed a dog anymore. So you know, we kind of brought them in, we like the people like the business, and we think, you know, when the world starts to come back, we like the play that we think we can do with it. So we've brought them into our fold, we're kind of working with them doing a few other things, and then we'll kind of relaunch that probably in q1 or q2 and make something out of that. So, you know, we were able to be pretty flexible in how we work with companies.

Yeah, I really like it. So I'm curious about the this kind of the state of the pet industry. And it's it's an interesting year, in that, you know, one major transformation is that, you know, pet owners are at home with their pets a lot more. How has that impacted the pet industry?

Yeah, well, there's a couple dynamics that seem to be having? Well, one is there's a lot more pets in home. So one of the things that was really interesting at the beginning of COVID, was that people were alone, right. And one of the things that, you know, are amazing about pets is they are incredible companions, and they love unconditionally, and they're wonderful companions to have around. And so a lot like, basically, for a while, like shelters, wonderfully, you know, animal shelters were cleared out, meaning people came in and adopted pets left, right. And, you know, it was amazing. So there's a lot more animals in households, which is wonderful. You have within that people are, we're paying a lot more attention to their animals, right? So, hey, well, maybe you know, my, my pet needs this, maybe, you know, maybe that dog bowl I've had for like three years is kind of gross, I want to get them a new one that'll be fun. Or maybe I'll get another squeaky toy. Or maybe I'll think about food. People just started spending more time with their animals because they were with them all day. So instead of taking your dog for a walk in the morning, and then going to work, and then coming home, and then playing with them again. They saw him in the morning, they saw him later in the morning, they saw him at lunch, they saw him all day or anything. And so I think people got a lot more aware about both the the incredible positives that I think pets bring into our lives, as well as you know, they maybe I should do something a little differently, or maybe I should get something special, or maybe I should give something back, you know, so there's something along those lines where I think it just, it's creative dimension dynamics. And, you know, the pet industry has always been a recession resilient is what you know, it's been described historically, but you know, and you know, COVID is one more of those where the industry is Continue to be successful, you know, even in spite of what's happening in the economy, because, you know, pets are wonderful in times like these. Yeah.

How are pets a part of your company culture?

Well, so actually is very funny. I was, I was doing my dogs not with me today in the office, but I was doing an interview as probably maybe two months back. And yeah, I was having this conversation, and all of a sudden, there's this crinkle, crinkle, crinkle. And this kind of like, and I'm like, like, you know, like, what I could see on the other side of the interview, like, they're like, you're kind of checking the microphones, why is there like static. And you know, one of our one of the other folks who is at the office, their dog was visiting me in my office, and I had had a scone earlier that morning, and it was in my trash can. And so as I'm standing desk, and I'm standing here talking, and he was enjoying rustling through my, my trash can, and so I was like, Can I pause this one second that, you know, kind of like that? So that's our culture. Right? You know? Yeah. You know, they're obviously a huge, huge part of our lives. So

I would imagine, yeah, so they get so they get to come into the office? Yes, they do.

Yeah. When we were when we looked for our office, it was, you know, you cut out a whole lot of potential office spaces by saying, Hey, we are going to have our animals here, period. So


How's this? You know, how's this gonna work? And so you need to be allowed. So what's, what's the greatest number of pets you've had show up for work in a day?

Uh, well, you know, we've got a pretty small team. I think we've had four.

Okay. All right. All right.

Yeah. Not too bad. So

yeah. Okay, good. manageable. Not like a zoo. That's great. Well, rock weather up again, founder and CEO of metamorphosis. So metamorphosis is meta morph. And then O S I S  and so when you go there, you'll see all of the brands that are under the Metamorphosis umbrella, the anxious pet, great pet media, metropolis, great pet care, Barkley pads, which that's a brand I've been familiar with as well. I think my daughter was looking at at at gigging with Barkley A while back.

Okay, cool. Yep. And

then pawprint. So, so this is wonderful, Brock, thank you so much. That's great. And anything else that that folks should know about? If they're like, I, you know, maybe there was something that stood out in the conversation that you'd recommend that they take a look at?

Yeah, I think, you know, just for, you know, I think as folks think about things is just, you know, passion based businesses are fun, where there's a lot of emotion, you can have a lot of fun, a lot of fun with it. And you know, pets are that are a huge part of that. And it's something that, you know, we'd love to play with. But we also like to make sure that we give the tools so that pet parents can be pet parents and not worry about all the other stuff that sits underneath it. Like, when's my next vaccine record necessary? Or what's the product that I need? Or should I do this? Or should I do that? And so all of our products and services and digital tools are all centered around that so that you can go and just enjoy your pet more, whether it's curling up with your cat on the couch or going for a walk at the beach or you know, with your dog or whatever else just how do you you know kind of allow consumers to kind of get back and you know, frankly, get back to enjoying the pets that that we love having around so

Brock Wheatherup, thank you so much. Again, Thank you so much for joining us. Awesome. Thank you very much.

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