Founders Feature: Bonne et Filou

In this week's Founders Feature we're talking to Bonne et Filou - an eCommerce company that specializes in making high-quality, French dog treats. Bonne et Filou was inspired by the lavish lifestyles of the dogs of French King Louis XIV, Bonne and Filou - and now your dog can snack like his owner is a king too!
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Bonne et Filou

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Tell us a little bit about Bonne et Filou.

Bonne et Filou is the first French-inspired brand for pets in the world. Our flagship products are unique innovative French dog macarons (dog treats), all-natural and handmade from the highest quality and human-grade ingredients in the USA. We also carry a line of multivitamin dog chews (Cheese / Brie flavor) as well as a complete line of CBD drops (flavors: Filet Mignon, Lavender, Vanilla, Natural).

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Meet Nico, Founder of Bonne et Filou

What led you to start Bonne et Filou?

Bonne et Filou was inspired by the lavish lifestyles the dogs of French King Louis XIV, Bonne and Filou, lived in the Palace of Versailles. They slept in satin sheets, wore diamond collars and even had their own personal chef. Our mission is to provide the same caliber of luxury for our own pooches.

But more personally, the brand came totally from a love story. The story of Linzi (my wife), Filou (my dog) and Nico (myself).

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What have been some of the greatest challenges you've experienced as an entrepreneur, and what did you take away or learn from those experiences?

My current experience as an entrepreneur is full of challenges on a day-to-day basis. My two main challenges: (i) I launched wholesale (selling to retail stores) quickly after launching the brand, at a trade show in February 2020. COVID hit at that moment and retailers canceled their orders because they lacked visibility. It was a major setback for the launch in retail so I decided to keep working on convincing them but also offered consignment options (ii) marketing of the product and not controlling exactly how the consumer perceived it. We shifted the marketing and ads around it and accepted it is a special occasion product

What kind of growth have you seen at Bonne et Filou? What do you think helped drive that growth?

We are seeing good growth. Growing at 10x last year for now. The brand is new, the product is hot and getting awareness and retailers are starting to pick it up. The consumer is getting used to it and re-ordering.

Do you have any techniques, tools, or words of wisdom on how you successfully engage your customers?

We tried multiple things. Talking to them via their dog's social media always work well, and turning them into "influencers."


Why Bonne et Filou? What sets you apart?

Bonne et Filou is the first French luxury dog treats brand in the U.S. I think our main product sets us apart from the competition. Our unique French dog macarons (dog treats) are all-natural and handmade in the USA. We actually made a dog treat look identical to a real French macaron, but healthy for your pets.
I believe our packaging definitely sets us apart from other premium brands. Many customers never believe that our products are for dogs, always thinking they are for humans. It’s the highest compliment you can give to the team, it means that we actually succeeded to be unique and different in the industry.. We are pushing the human experience for your pets to a limit that has never been tried before and we strive to be known for this.

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Who or what has been your biggest influence in starting your company?

During my career in banking, my entrepreneurial desire increased further with all the deals I worked on and with the exposure I got to these successful entrepreneurs selling their companies for millions/billions of dollars, often coming from nothing, and started their empire from the ground. I will always keep in mind is the deal I did for Next Level Apparel, a leading designer and supplier of blank apparel to the promotional product market. During the closing dinner of the company's LBO, I had the privilege to sit next to Joe Simsolo, the founder, and chat extensively with him. He is the one that convinced me to leave banking to start my own business.


What advice would you give to someone that is just starting their business?

Even the best-laid plans have to face reality/customers/market. When I started Bonne et Filou, I really thought our product would be seen as a day-to-day product that will be highly recurring. We pushed marketing money and strategy around this but we realized at some point that the customers didn't view it the same way. No need to be stubborn when the market gives you an answer and a fact. You just need to face reality and be ready to be flexible with your strategy. Pivoting your business quickly enough is key and accepting the outcome is as well.

What does the future have in store for Bonne et Filou? Is there anything you want us to know about?

A lot of new products, a current fundraise with a whole team hiring when it closes.


That's all for this week's edition of The New Yak Times! And a huge thank you to Nico of Bonne et Filou for sharing his story and insights. Tune in next week and subscribe below!

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