Shameless Pets is a unique dog treat brand that is out to tackle the issue of food waste. Co-Founder James Bello started the company in the Chicago area with Alex Waite in October 2018.
Prior to creating the brand, Bello was a corporate food buyer at Target where he says he saw so much food wasted. After learning even more about the issue of global food waste, Bello had the idea to make quality dog treats out of all this unused food, though he wasn’t yet sure how it could be done.
It was fate when he met Waite, a food scientist, at a start-up event in 2017. The duo connected over the issue of food waste and their love of dogs. Together they launched Shameless Pets, a healthy dog treat company focused on using upcycled ingredients.
Launching the Brand
In October 2018, Shameless Pets officially launched with four SKUs in mass retailers nationwide. Because the brand’s original plan was always to enter mass retailers right from the start, it took time to gear up for launch. In fact, Bello says it took them 18 months to build a solid supply chain that would be scalable as the brand grew. In that time, they also finalized the recipe, using human-grade upcycled ingredients to create the grain-free superfoods dog treats. Once the recipe was finalized, it was time to create the custom pet food packaging.
In the beginning the brand was using a flexographic printer to create the pouches for the dog treats. It worked fine but didn’t offer the flexibility that many brands, especially start-ups, need.
“I didn’t know anything about digital printing. We were using a flexo printer… then I got connected to ePac and it made my life way easier. It has allowed us to do smaller runs, and not have to buy into months and months of supply,” said Bello.
The brand was able to do this because ePac uses digital printing technology that allows for short runs with a fast turnaround, plus the flexibility to make changes to the package design, time and time again.
“Like any emerging brand, we listen to our customers and make changes to our packaging. With ePac and digital printing, we are able to make changes on a consistent, regular basis. We’re not stuck to the plates,” said Bello.
Since their launch, Bello says they have been able to make quick changes to their pet food packaging design such as changing the call out on the packaging and adding secondary colors. With digital printing they were able to make changes on the fly without needing to worry about time-consuming and expensive plates.
“We’ve done it all. We have touched our bag design five times maybe since 2018. Having ePac and having someone with digital printing ability to do that has been super helpful for us,” said Bello.
Forming the Right Partnership
For Shameless Pets, finding ePac in 2019 at a Global Pet Food Show has allowed the brand to make upgrades to their pet food packaging material and take advantage of the big benefits of digitally printed flexible packaging. ePac was able to bring other features like spot gloss, high-impact graphics, and soft touch to the packaging. Today, all the Shameless Pets products are packaged in ePac’s resealable stand up pouches with a clear window that its customers want.
“We did a soft-touch with ePac and our customers liked that. It adds value to the packaging. We also heard from customers that they wanted to see the treats before buying them,” said Bello. “ePac has the spot gloss ability so we were able to upgrade and have that ultra-clear window on our package.”
ePac’s spot gloss capabilities allow Shameless Pets to have both gloss and matte on the same pouch. The entire pouch is soft touch matte, which would typically make the window cloudy. But with spot gloss, the pouch can be printed with an ultra-clear window with a gloss feel, while the rest of it remains the matte soft touch.
Given Bello’s background as a buyer, and now as a brand owner, he knows the importance of the right package.
“Packaging is incredibly important for a brand. The vast majority of our business is in brick and mortar. Making sure that we show up on shelf correctly is incredibly important,” said Bello.
As a printing partner, ePac is there to help small brands get started, grow the brand, and plan for the future.
“Working with ePac has been great and everyone is super easy to work with. They get where we are in the brand and they understand our needs as we continue to grow. Chadd is awesome. And it’s super easy to drive down to the ePac plant,” said Bello.
Since launching in 2018, Shameless Pets has grown and grown. Today the brand sells 20 different SKUs in 3,000 stores and has a strong web presence on the company’s website, Amazon, and on chewy.com. Even more growth is on the horizon as the brand launches a new line of calming chews for anxious dogs and even a line of cat treats.
Finding the Right Packaging Supplier
Are you a growing brand in need of a better way to package your products? Or maybe you’re a start-up company looking to take advantage of the flexibility digitally printing allows for flexible packaging for pet food. Either way, give us a call and we can help you find sustainable pet food packaging for your next project.