Introducing Dogs Supporting Local, powered by PawSwap - bringing Vancouver dog owners and businesses together to support local.
PawSwap has launched a new initiative to help support local, inspired by the impact COVID-19 has had on the community in Vancouver.
Realizing the strength, and passion, that the dog community has when they unite, PawSwap launched Dogs Supporting Local - a platform that makes supporting local easier than ever.
The new site, which officially launched yesterday helps support local in two unique ways. The first, an online guide allowing pet owners to search, find, and identify local products easily.
The second, through purchasing Dogs Supporting Local Kits. Packed full of doggy essentials, the kits will be available at two different price points, with the site’s pay it forward model giving dog owners the option to donate one kit to a local rescue or pet food bank of their choice. The team at PawSwap were inspired to take action after it was reported that one third of local businesses may not re-open their doors again due to the impacts of COVID-19.
The Dogs Supporting Local website states that just a 10% shift to local shopping can make a huge impact, and with 150,000 dog owners in Vancouver, it takes only 15,000 of those switching to local products to make a significant change.
Carly Geill, Marketing Manager of PawSwap, believes many dog owners would happily purchase local a lot more if it was easier to identify local pet products. "It's not that people don't want to shop local in the pet industry, they just don't know how," explains Geill. “It’s hard to know what pet products found in retail stores are made here in Vancouver, or even Canada without doing some prior research, which even then can be difficult to find. So we created this guide to make it really simple."
Now, locals can easily identify Vancouver brands with a quick search on the site's Shop Local Guide, either before, or even during shopping. The team hopes that this will encourage the community to make the switch from their favourite non-local toy, poo bags, or treats, to a local product. Initially set to launch on June 1, the team made the choice to delay the launch of their new initiative and instead stood in solidarity with the #amplifymelantedvoices movement, muting their PawSwap and Dogs Supporting Local pages from June 1-7. Yesterday, the team shared the following statement on their Instagram page:
"Out of respect for the very real emotions being felt across our community and beyond right now, as well as the important messages being highlighted across social media, last week we made the decision to delay the launch of Dogs Supporting Local. As we launch today, while excited about the impact we can make locally with our new initiative, we recognize that we all need to continue to do more right now.
As a part of our initiative, we planned to feature a local pet business each month. As the BLM movement is very close to our hearts as a team, the first Featured Business Of The Month will be our friends over at Moonlight Dog Cafe, a local Black-owned pet store.
It is our promise to continue to always support and highlight companies and pet stores that are inclusive to all diversities including race, gender, and sexual orientation. Our dogs see us as one, so let’s take their lead."
Although restrictions are beginning to loosen up across the province, the impact COVID-19 has had on the pet industry and dog community is here to stay, and there's no doubt that BC will see long lasting effects to the economy.
"Since COVID-19, the importance, and impact, of supporting local has never been more evident," Geill adds. "People are actively looking for ways to help others who call their community home, too, and they’ve realized that through the simple act of shopping local, they can make a real difference." “Then there’s the hundreds of individuals that have been laid off due to COVID-19 who can’t even afford basic and essential items right now, and of course, we wanted to do something to help them too."
Dog owners can join a waiting list for the Dogs Supporting Local Kits today on the website, and as the team wants everyone to be able to get their paws on a kit, you can also nominate a dog-owning friend who needs a little extra love right now to receive a free kit.
The kits ($85 value), can be purchased at $45, or by purchasing at $65, dog owners can select a local rescue organization or pet food bank to receive a free kit.
"These kits are we perfect way to say thanks to your pup for being the best social distancing companion over the past few months!," Geill adds. "We're only launching a select number of kits to begin with, so we're telling everyone to make sure to join the waiting list today."
As a dog owner herself, Geill was passionate about uniting the dog community for a great cause, and is excited about the impact they can have when they work together.
"As we all know, there is immense strength in numbers, and with dog owners being as passionate as they are, bringing them together to drive an initiative like this has the potential to make a huge difference in the lives of those in need," she explains.
Don't forget to share Vancouver dogs and local pet businesses using #dogssupportinglocal.