Vital Pet Life

Growing a Passion Project into a Successful Amazon brand

$1.6M Yearly Revenue
Donie and Kyle Yamamoto

Donie and Kyle Yamamoto

Ecommerce
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Our dog, Tuxedo, was having issues with his fur when we adopted him. We thought he was part wire-haired terrier with really coarse hair.  After doing some research, I  started adding  Wild Alaskan salmon oil to his diet. Miraculously,  his fur got very soft and his dry and flaky skin healed. All his symptoms resolved.  Little did I know he would be the inspiration to conceptualize our passion and new company.

We started the company in our living room with no real plan. Now, 3 years later, I've been named a 2019 Tory Burch Foundation Fellow, am preparing to launch our third product and our Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil has the coveted "Amazon's Choice" badge! 

Vital Pet Life

Our dog, Tuxedo, was having issues with his fur when we adopted him. We thought he was part wire-haired terrier with really coarse hair.  After doing some research, I  started adding  Wild Alaskan salmon oil to his diet. Miraculously,  his fur got very soft and his dry and flaky skin healed. All his symptoms resolved.  Little did I know he would be the inspiration to conceptualize our passion and new company.

We started the company in our living room with no real plan. Now, 3 years later, I've been named a 2019 Tory Burch Foundation Fellow, am preparing to launch our third product and our Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil has the coveted "Amazon's Choice" badge! 

(The “Amazon’s Choice” badge is given by Amazon to a product they feel represents the top products for any customer search. The main factors Amazon uses in determining the “Amazon’s Choice” badge recommendation include Price, Review Quality and Rating, and Prime Shipping. Getting the “Amazon’s Choice” badge is one of the most important ways a product can differentiate itself on the Amazon Store and sales can be drastically different with and without the badge.)

How did you get your first three customers?  

Family and friends were our initial customers. Our sales grew from word of mouth and from our Amazon store, Vital Pet Life.

Kyle’s experience with mobile apps has really helped build our business. I had sourced materials with my first retail company, so I was familiar with the buying/sourcing process. We both feel strongly about sourcing and using organic ingredients whenever possible and being transparent with our entire process. 

Pretty much all pet parents are within our target demographic. We made a conscious decision to keep our prices affordable, which makes our products appeal to a wide audience of pet owners. We’re not just for dogs either. Our customers are also ferrets, horses, cats and ducks. 

What is the strangest customer request you’ve had? 

One customer reached out to ask if she needed to worry that she woke up to find that her mischievous labrador had crushed their bottle of Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil and all the oil was gone.The picture she sent of her Lab was priceless....and he was totally fine.    

How did you fund the idea initially? 

My husband and I started the company in 2017, maxing out our credit cards and dove head first into a totally new and foreign industry, in short because our dog had rough and dry skin. 

We’ve been very fortunate to find employees through  friends of friends. Kyle goes to Fiverr, FreeUp and other companies that offer contractors as well. 

What motivated you to start your own business? 

It really started out as a hobby and has grown organically. We both thought that it would be great to be able to do this full time, which was our first big goal. Now, after three years, our mission is to grow without compromising our brand and values. 

What were your family and friends first thoughts on your company? 

Both our parents were concerned that we used our credit cards to start and fund our business. Unfortunately, they didn’t understand the market nor the potential of the Pet Wellness space. 

What motivates you when things go wrong? 

We always ask ourselves what is the end goal? I’m helping animals and families. I understand that in business there’s always a solution. Kyle and I are very focused and solution based, so we don’t get daunted very easily. 

Do you have any advice for someone just starting out? 

Jump in and just do it. Follow your dream because there is no perfect time or place to start a business. The obstacles you encounter often teach you the most about your business.   

What has driven the most sales? 

Our Amazon store does very well especially after our Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil became an “Amazon Choice” product! Our Facebook ads are key and we’re constantly finetuning them to make sure we reach our target market. 

What is stopping you being 3x the size you are now?

Right now we enjoy being a small family run business with the ability to connect with our customers and actively giveback to local and regional animal rescue shelters.  Our goal is to remain mindful of these values, especially as we grow.  Our current infrastructure wouldn’t support being 3x the size we are now, which would be necessary to be in the big box retailers.

How do you protect yourself from competition?

In differentiating ourselves from the big box retailers, we’ve ensured that Vital Pet Life has a unique offering. We’re a small family-run business and we take pride in being hands-on in every aspect of the company. Each customer becomes part of our Vital Pet Life family and community. We communicate with them and reach out after each purchase to ensure their experience is positive. We love feedback and photos of our customer’s fur babies, and we proudly display their testimonials and photos on our website and Instagram. 

We’re always researching and looking at the statistics in the pet wellness arena. We go to all the tradeshows to network and see what is trending in our industry. Kyle and I are  interested in natural ingredients, so we’re  always looking to meet and support those  suppliers. 
What are the top 3-5 apps your business could not run without? 

The top ones we use are : Quickbooks, Helium 10, Slack, Wrike, Shopify, Amazon, Instagram and Facebook. They’re essential because they help the company be nimble and easy to manage.
What are the next products you’re working on?

Glucosamine and plant-based Omega-3 products.
What is current revenue? 

$1.6M

Would you ever sell?

Yes, if the price is right.






Donie and Kyle Yamamoto

Founder, CEO

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