Start-Ups.Co really enjoyed interviewing the brilliant entrepreneur; Ms. ‘Katie Mulich'; Founder of the Kansas start-up “ThePamWash”.
Below, is the full interview that we have conducted :
1. What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?
The Paw Wash is a product that is used to both clean dirty, muddy, sandy, dusty dog paws and to help with their health too. For example the Paw Wash helps with pet allergies or when a dog cuts/hurts paws you can soak the paw in the Paw Wash with medication to help heal it.
We also have The Paw Wash Mitt that is used for the final dry. It is made out of microfiber that is safe for your washer and dryer.
2. When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?
The Paw Wash was invented by me when I was 12 years old for my 6th grade science fair project in 2002. I got tired of my daily chore of cleaning my dog, Sadie’s paws with buckets, hoses and towels. I thought there had to be an easier way. I went to the barn with my father and found PVC pipe and used it on Sadie and it worked! The Paw Wash was born. We are currently in the growth stage.
3. What is your startup’s business model and how does it work?
We plan to grow and spread the word of the product while developing new products. The Paw Wash works quick and easy by just lifting off the lid of the gadget then adding water and a drop of soap. Next, you place the dog’s paw inside the Paw Wash and pump it up and down several times. This creates a fluid dynamic of suction to pull off all the mud and as you pull the dogs paw/leg out the squeegee on top helps lift the extra water droplets off the paw. Then simply pat dry with The Paw Wash Mitt. It is dishwasher safe and it is made out of polycarbonate plastic so it won’t break and can be used anywhere any time.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
My father and I met members of our team through r friends and family. I do the social media, sales, events and presentations. Mike and Steve work with manufacturing, investments and legal matters, Sue works on the book keeping, sales and shipments. Garret is in charge of marketing, sales, networking and representation. We all work on customer service and connecting with people.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
The Paw Wash is the first product invented for cleaning dog’s paws and taking care of the health of dog paws. It was created out of my need to fix my problem and chore of cleaning dirty dog paws.It grew into a business with my father’s help and and team. It addresses and solves a need that every dog lover faces after going on a walk with their dog or letting them outside. Now it is solved with The Paw Wash.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has your startup achieved so far?
We continue to grow daily and some of our main milestones would be being featured on lots of media outlets like, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, CBS Morning Show, The Hallmark Channel’s Home and Family, DIY Network’s Show “I Want That”, Canada’s number 1 daytime talk show called, The Marilyn Dennis Show and many others. The Paw Wash has also won many awards forit’s design and won at the International Housewares Show in Chicago and also won 3rd place as the best new product at SuperZoo in Vegas.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is your start-up’s competitive advantage over them?
Our competitors are very few. I hold a U.S. patent for The Paw Wash. We have had to go to federal court due to patent infringement in the past and we won. The Paw Wash doesn’t use any brushes because brushes can cause irritation/molding/and health problems. The Paw Washes hourglass shape makes the suction more powerful to get the paw clean and easy to grip for all ages.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
Having someone infringe on your patent is always a hard and costly issue. It takes a lot of time, energy and money to figure out how to handle the situation. It truly set us back at the time because everything that we worked so hard for had to be out on hold, but we are moving ahead and not looking back!
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
Luckily, we get to deal with dogs all day! Most people understand what The Paw Wash is and how it works, so we haven’t had any problems with people not understanding. The only thing is to lift off the center piece of the lid leaving the yellow ring in place. Some people unscrew the yellow ring and you want to leave it one because it keeps the squeegee in place.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
Faith, Family and Passion are why we will and are succeeding! We have been blessed with the BEST family, friends and supporters. Though all the ups and downs we know it will all work out. I love The Paw Wash and you could say that it’s my baby. It excites me daily and I am so blessed to be able to do what I get to do everyday with The Paw Wash. Failure is never an option, never give up!
11. If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
Our dream is to expand the product line with an extra- large Paw Wash, shampoos, different colors of the product, leashes and anything dog related. The sky is the limit!
We also love to give back and donate. We have donated hundreds of Paw Washes to shelters, the military dogs, and organizations throughout the world. I would love to be able to give back even more and help make a difference for all dogs and animals.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build your start-up based on?
It was a need, an everyday problem/chore that I had with my dog that I thought other people had as well. My father guided me on what to do and how to get started. Without my father it would still be just an idea because at 12 years old I had no idea what a patent was or the funds to get started. Together we learned from our mistakes and experiences, but always stayed positive. We love what we do and love to be able to work together!
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
You learn how important family and your company’s team are to have. Be careful who you trust and always be ready for the most random problem that could ever come up. Be prepared for everything and trust that God will never put you in a situation that you can’t handle. Always have faith and excitement for what you are doing no matter what!
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
I hope our problem is the need to hire more people. We would love to have even more members of our Paw Wash team!
We also plan to work on our website and websites are always a challenge to get perfect. There is also a lot of research to be done in order to pick the right one
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
The benefit is really for the customers, the buyer (Dog owner) and the dog. It helps keep the mess out of the owner’s home or car while keeping the dog’s paws healthy and clean. It is a win- win situation for all. Less cleaning and less licking, messy, itchy dog paws. It makes the home healthy and it is also healthier for the fur-baby!
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
Our website is: www.thepawwash.com where people can order the product or see a list of the retail stores that carry us. We also have a WordPress that is updated with what we are doing. Our Facebook and Twitter pages are the best way to stay connected with us since we are always on them and there to answer any comments. Also, you can call us or email us with any questions, comments, or advice.
17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?
Our current customers are dog lovers and people who support us.
We target anyone who owns a dog, knows of someone who has a dog, or loves animals.This is because it makes a perfect gift for anyone or for your dog.
Even some cat lovers like to use the product and have had great results with it!
18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
We gain a lot of new customers after any of our presentations, media appearances, or social media postings. The Paw Wash excites people and solves their issue with dirty dog paws. People also love the family story behind the product and love to support us, which means the world to us! We also get new customers when they get a new dog. Since we have two sizes : small and large.People like to get a large and small Paw Wash.
19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?
Our customers are like family! They always tell me how much they love the product and how much it has helped them. It is always a wonderful experience speaking/meeting customers. They give me advice and ask for advice on their endeavors too. It is all about making lasting friendships with your customers and understanding their needs and wants.
20. How are you going to scale?
We plan to push our marketing efforts into high gear this year and with people’s support and word of mouth anything is possible. We hope to create great new products soon and add fun merchandise to our website. We have another shipment of Paw Washes arriving next week and plan to order again soon!
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
The biggest missing feature that customers want is an extra- large Paw Wash for dogs over 150lbs like Massive and Great Danes. Some people want us to make one for their horses too! That would be a super large Paw Wash.
We also get asked by people wanting us to create a shampoo or soap to go with it. We are working on that and hope to have one out in a year.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
We are already sold internationally. We are sold in five continents and do very well selling internationally. Canada is one of our biggest sellers since they get so much snow. We are in large pet chains in Canada. Japan sells more small Paw Washes and USA sells more of the large Paw Washes so it is important to know your customers.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
We can get as big as we want with the support of our customers and hard work. We want to grow into a large company that invents and has a large product line of Paw Wash products. We are going to achieve this goal by networking, making the right connections and hard work. We have come this far and are ready to keep growing for many years to come!
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
Currently, we are not looking to hire anyone, but as started above I hope that soon and we can bring more wonderful people aboard our team. Having the right team of individuals is so important because you want to work with people who are just as excited as you are and have the same goals. We have a wonderful team now, but we would love to add more people as we continue to grow.
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
At this point we are self-sustainable and have one investor. If someone is really interested they can contact us at our website and click on the contact us tab to email us and we can set up a meeting. You can always call us too at
1-888-WET-PAWS. We always love hearing from people and are a very open team.
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
Love what you are doing and be excited about it. Because it won’t be easy and you need to have a passion for what you are doing and having a great support system/team with you makes a world of difference.
27. Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to add
I want to thank you for the opportunity to summit to be apart of your online platform and please feel free to call or email me for any additional information.