Parisa Fowles-Pazdro

Parisa Fowles-Pazdro

CEO and Founder | Max-Bone

Industry
Retail

Location
Los Angeles


Parisa Fowles-Pazdro: A Pioneer in the $73B Pet Industry Talks Consumer Spending during Corona

Founded in 2016 by Parisa Fowles-Pazdro, Max-Bone was created as a branded pet label that combines influences from fashion, art, and architecture with upscale functionality. The line of apparel, toys, beds, leashes, and more is sold through their own e-commerce website, brick-and-mortar showrooms in West Hollywood and SoHo, and more than 200 retailers worldwide, including Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. The brand has also collaborated with Disney and VistaJet on capsule collections and has seen growth of 50% month to month over last year.

What are your biggest business concerns surrounding COVID-19? 

I’m sure this sort of disruption wasn’t on any founder’s plan for this year. I remain optimistic about Max-Bone’s ability to weather this pandemic, however the rising economic uncertainty that comes with a moment like this is really concerning for any DTC business. As we offer essential products for pets, we’ve seen an uptick in demand for some products such as antiseptics wipes, beds and wellness products. We’ve been seeing some interesting changes in our customers’ shopping behavior and this is helping us to make the best decisions for our company during uncertain times. 

We’ve introduced a “Welcome Home” initiative, where we are offering free gifts to consumers that have chosen to support a local animal shelter through fostering or adopting a dog in light of COVID-19.

What is your current business strategy for dealing with the situation?

COVID-19 has given me a new outlook into our company’s role within our community. We’re truly embracing the transformation and we’re adapting our current marketing model to better serve our customers. As a brand that has always valued giving back to our community, we recognize that in the times that we are facing today it is crucial to do so now more than ever. ⁠We want to offer meaningful value to our segment in every way we can. As an example, we’ve been contacting local hospitals to offer free care packages to those on the frontlines that have pets at home. Additionally, we’ve introduced a “Welcome Home” initiative, where we are offering free gifts to consumers that have chosen to support a local animal shelter through fostering or adopting a dog in light of COVID-19. This is the perfect time to try different approaches and tactics. We’re using this moment to improve our strategies that might impact our success in the future.

The owner’s own dog, Macintosh, in the company’s signature rain jacket.

Our online website had more visitors In March than ever before. Although it’s difficult to predict the future, but we still feel very confident about growth due to different new projects we are working on, such as launching an amazing food line which every dog would want to have. It’s based-on superfood ingredients that are human grade. Our mindset is, you can’t sit still in change and need to adapt accordingly, and we feel our consumer knows whatever we launch will be the best since they trust the brand. We’ve been experiencing a spike in sales in some specific items such as the carrier bag (although it is an item people use for commuting), and we’ve sold more than 500 in the past few weeks, which is very unexpected in terms of consumer behavior.

How do you think things will look in your industry a year from now? 

I believe pandemics like these are accelerators of innovation and will enable entirely new categories of businesses. It will change the way businesses will compete over the next few years, and it will only companies with a structured foundation and a clear mission will survive. Besides that, I believe DTC businesses will be rethinking their products, offering to better serve the industry demand.

What have you learned from other difficult times in the past? 

To react ASAP and do not sit and watch it play out. Adapt to what’s happening, listen to what the demand is and change accordingly.

Max-Bone features a range of chic pet accessories, clothing, and home items.

Safe–and entertained–at Home: What business leaders are doing with their downtime 

 

Morning routine?
As the founder and CEO of a growing company, I need to remain calm and manage my emotions to get through these challenging times. It’s my job to keep it as light as possible, so I’m trying everything I can to stay productive and optimistic. Sticking to my routine is helping me to manage my time more effectively, so I make a to-do list every morning of important things I need to accomplish that day. It’s also important to me to continue exercising and eating healthy foods. I’m following some online workout classes and walking my dog, Macintosh, also helps me to stay active.

Currently binging?
I’m binging Homeland and would highly recommend Veep for some laughter.

Currently reading?
One book that I’ve gravitated toward is The Universe Has Your Back, by Gabrielle Bernstein. It teaches you about your spiritual side and how to connect with love instead of fear, which has helped me to maintain a positive mindset. Another book would be Wisdom by Andrew Zuckerman, which is very inspiring.

What are you doing to spend quality time with those you’re sheltering with?
It’s been a breath of fresh air, actually, to be together more with my husband and my English Bulldog, Macintosh. We’ve been trying to keep things as normal as possible by sticking to our workday routine, exercising, and cooking together. I have even followed the trend and tried Tik Tok which is so much harder than I thought—I have a lot of respect to the dancers out there.

What are you doing to stay healthy mentally and physically?
Practicing self-care to remain calm, keep the creativity flowing, and support my team is more important now than ever. To me, self-care means setting aside some time to unplug and focus on things that make me happy. Personally, listening to music, cooking, and reading have brought me joy throughout these times. I also love burning sage, I find it to be so helpful as I unwind at the end of the day!

Where are you dreaming of visiting once things are back to normal?
I had a birthday trip planned for this month to my favorite hotel, Amangiri in Utah, but of course I wasn’t able to travel due to the circumstances. So, I really hope I can make this happen this year. Besides that, I really miss grabbing a coffee at my favorite shops and having dinner at Madeo.

We are hopeful that the pandemic will be resolved in a safe and timely manner, as we are staying informed on the current updates to further strategize the best steps moving forward.