Only 20 people have access to this page right now and you are one of them. As a thank you for speaking to me on the phone during my community outreach calls, I want to give you an honest behind-the-scenes explanation of why we are doing what we are doing here at The Modern Ferret. I feel like there’s no risk of being too personal right now because I know I can trust each and every one of you. So, here’s our story and an outline of our hopes and dreams:
“Is this it? Is this why I was put on this earth? To design stylish products that mean nothing to me?”
Four years ago, I sat at the desk of a prominent product design firm asking myself “is this it? Is this why I was put on this earth? To design stylish products that mean nothing to me?” I couldn’t help but wonder if I was going to wither away in that cubicle, sketching new designs for Tupperware and trash can lids. I told myself to feel grateful. After all, it was a big deal to get accepted to this firm. Yet still, I felt empty inside.
I looked up to the shelf where I’d set some personal belongings. Among them was a hardcover photography book in which I curated all my best nature and wildlife photos throughout the years. I looked back to my sketches of trash can lids. Something didn’t feel right.
I thought back to my first day on the job when I was asked to introduce myself. I spent 30 seconds talking about myself and the following 5 minutes talking about my ferret. Looking back, I should’ve known I wasn’t meant to be there long.
I tried to contact everyone I could think of but nobody would get back to me.
I tried to find product design jobs in the pet industry. I knew that was my life’s passion. But the opportunities were few and far between. There were a couple small companies spread out in the mid west and I had no idea how to reach the product development department at Petco or Petsmart. I tried to contact everyone I could think of but nobody would get back to me. I figured that was a sign -it was time for me to grow up and take a job designing more stuff for humans like everyone else.
I’m so glad I finally woke up.
It took all the courage I had to quit that prestigious design job and pursue The Modern Ferret instead. It didn’t matter if this pursuit brought me the same accolades I had enjoyed at my last job. All that mattered was I was leaving a place that made me feel empty to pursue something that made me feel whole.
The Modern Ferret: Phase 0
As soon as I quit my job, I jumped head first into creating content for The Modern Ferret. To make ends meet, I took every odd job I could get my hands on and put every spare dollar into camera equipment for The Modern Ferret.
Channing and I spent all our free time brainstorming photoshoot ideas and sketching product ideas. As you can probably see, that first year on Instagram was pure trial and error!
But man, the ferret community loved to see somebody actively trying to shed a more positive light on their babies. And we loved being that hero. We were hooked.
Next thing we know, people were asking if we had a calendar of our best photos available for Christmas.
We were in full panic but it was the good kind of panic that energizes and inspires you.
Channing and I had never so much as printed stationary, let alone designed, sourced, and printed over 100 calendars. We were in full panic but it was the good kind of panic that energizes and inspires you.
After we learned how to source and ship our first product, we expanded to all the other items we now have in our Etsy shop.
That was a great start, but we wanted more.
As many of you already know, Channing and I moved from California to Lincoln, Nebraska, last year. But do you know why? You could argue there were several reasons:
- Cheaper cost of living meant we could afford to buy our first house
- We wanted to try living in a different place for the first time in our life
- We wanted to move closer to our mid west family members
Want to know the biggest reason?:
- We moved to Lincoln to grow The Modern Ferret
It was no accident we chose Lincoln, Nebraska. This town has the most wonderful start-up culture I have ever seen. There are meetings every day for aspiring entrepreneurs to find the resources they need to succeed.
And you want to know the biggest different between trying to grow The Modern Ferret in Nebraska vs. in Los Angeles? Nobody laughs at our idea to improve the lives of ferrets here. All they say is “how can I help?”
In Los Angeles, I was connected to a mentor that spent a full 2 minutes straight laughing hysterically at my ideas for The Modern Ferret (it’s okay, you don’t need to beat him up for me!). Want to know what happened instead in Lincoln, Nebraska, when I pitched the same business idea? They invited me to join an accelerator program to bring my business idea to life.
Because of this town’s amazing support, Channing and I are able to grow this new website and offer these new products.
As I’m writing this, our first offering is the top 3 non-raw food brands available for ferrets. As a member of the ferret community for over 4 years, I’ve read everything I can get my hands on regarding ferret nutrition. Channing and I stand behind these products because this is what we feed our own boys.
I am so grateful you will let us supply you with only the top products available. Our babies deserve better.
Why start with selling food?
Over 90% of you feed a different food than what your ferret ate as a kit.
During the 40 hours of phone calls we have conducted so far, over 90% of you feed a different food than what your ferret ate as a kit. Had you known better, most of you would have started your babies out right as soon as you brought them home. Channing and I feel the same way -we, too, didn’t know any better.
We want to be the first search result new ferret owners find when they google, “what should I feed my ferret?”. It’s time to give first time ferret owners a fighting chance at a long, healthy life for each of their fuzzbutts.
Why not Amazon or Petco or Chewy.com? Because unlike the big guys, the revenue made from every purchase on this website goes right back into growing The Modern Ferret. Channing and I have so many ideas we want to bring to life for you. With every purchase, we get one step closer to developing products and services that will improve the lives of our ferrets.
During our phone calls, I asked each of you one question: “Are ferrets just a phase or for the rest of your life?”
Likewise, growing The Modern Ferret will continue for the rest of our lives, and we need your help to do something great with it.
Here’s how you can support us: