Episode 5: Corey Abramowitz – BarkYours

Corey Abramowitz

Corey Abramowitz

BarkYours is a dog-themed marketplace showcasing artists & creatives of dog-inspired clothing, crafts & art. People inspired by their dogs are creating artsy, craftsy unique gifts because of them.

Alongside his wife, Corey started Bark Yours, which has evolved from being a marketplace for dog-inspired gifts for humans to now an online shop that sells items for dogs as well. Their goal is to sponsor and donate to organizations that they believe are making a positive and meaningful difference for dogs.

 

Find the pawfect gift for your dog-loving friends or yourself on Bark Yours:

BarkYours website: BarkYours.com

 

Follow Bark Yours on social media:

Facebook: Facebook.com/BarkYours

Instagram: Instagram.com/BarkYours

Twitter: Twitter.com/BarkYours

Pinterest: Pinterest.com/BarkYours


Corey:

My name is Corey, and welcome to the Animal Innovations Show.

 

Narrator:

You’ve tuned into the Animal Innovations Show, where we feature people, products, services, and ideas that are helping animals and the people who care for them, live better lives.

If it’s innovative, and if it helps animals, you can find it here first.

So, get ready. Here comes this week’s newest innovation for animals.

 

Chris:

All right. Well, Corey, I’m so glad you came on today. Thanks for being here.

 

Corey:

No, thanks, Chris. I appreciate it.

 

Chris:

So, why don’t you tell us about you and how you’re innovating and helping animals?

 

Corey:

So, I’m an entrepreneur by nature. I’ve created a couple of different businesses.

My background was mainly in technology recruiting. Still is. I’ve been doing that for quite some time, but differently, I’m a dog lover. I’m a dog dad. I’m a proponent of all sorts of dog issues.

And so, with that, I wanted to combine all those passions and bring together something that I kind of knew a little bit about.

And so, in talking to people, it was sort of “What is an issue that’s happening?” My family and I started going to dog events more and more and more to meet people who are so creative. And eventually, a marketplace was inspired, and we decided to sort of take a niche, which is the dog-themed world, and sort of have people who create, you know, clothing, crafts, and artwork all inspired by the dogs.

They’re all artists. They’re all creatives, and they list their collections, and their artwork, and their clothes on BarkYours. That’s sort of how that happened.

 

Chris:

That’s really super cool. Like you said, it’s all about dogs, right? It’s crafts, and it’s all the people. So, you’re providing the platform, then?

 

Corey:

That’s exactly it.

 

Chris:

To really support these creators?

 

Corey:

That’s exactly it. So, it’s a matter of how do you make it easy for people to list their items to sort of create their own little storefront and to, you know, show people what they do? And then also, to try to make it easy enough for buyers to come in and just kind of come by, to look around, and to see.

I’m hoping that you know, there’s a lot of people who look at it, that it just makes people happy to see that kind of creativity that is out there. Everybody is passionate about their dog. Certainly, if you have a dog, certainly, dog-inspired gifts are the best gifts to me. I mean, if you saw my desk, I have on my mouse pad on, you know, it’s pretty much everything here.

So, I mean, these are the best gifts, and I’m happy that this sort of came about, where people were able to use the platform for their art.

 

Chris:

Now, when did you launch this?

 

Corey:

Launched? Probably around the holiday season of 2018, 2019. Around that area is when it kind of just started, kind of moving along. Not so much at a snail’s pace, but kind of taking on a little bit of steam.

 

Chris:

And then, how have you seen the growth of the platform then? It’s, what, almost two years? It’ll be, right, like next month?

 

Corey:

Yeah. Wow. Happy anniversary to BarkYours.

 

Chris:

That’s right.

 

Corey:

It went from a lot of trying to get people because, you know, the marketplace is sort of a Catch 22. You want people who are on it. You want people who know about it, who keep coming back to it. I mean, you know, technical marketplaces are somewhat complex.

So, it started off with just a few people putting their collections on. And then now, it’s more than 55 artists and creatives that are on there. So, from that perspective, it’s done pretty well.

We grew as far as—it used to be dog gifts for humans. So, it was fun T-shirts, clay wine stoppers like your dog, and, you know, purses and bags and so on to dog crafts. So, collars and tags and so on. And then, we just expanded to food treats, so it grew in that regard.

Chris:

Yeah, I found it because when I was out there, I find it really interesting. There are home decor things. I mean, everything from coffee mugs to things you can hang on the wall, to, you know, anything with pictures and custom pet portraits.

And, I mean, there are so many things that I never knew existed. It’s like the perfect place to go to buy a gift for a dog lover, right, to either remember a pet that they had or even just to inspire them to get another one.

 

Corey:

Yeah, I completely agree. That was—the whole purpose of it is just, you know, people who love that sort of background, who love antiques and crafts.

I mean, it’s all handcrafted stuff, and it’s all people who—I mean, a lot of these artists are working out of their home, especially during COVID. You know, a lot of new home-based businesses were created, and so, you know, it’s nice to meet entrepreneurs who are looking to just expand either side jobs, or they just need some creativity, and this is their outlet. It’s their dog that ultimately inspired them to create artwork.

And I think it’s great. I mean, I speak to so many of these people, and I think that they’re all just wonderful. Dog owners are wonderful. Going to these dog events was wonderful. These people who create—it’s just a great experience watching people how happy they are talking about their own products.

Chris:

Yeah. One of the things I know I said to you before we came on here was that I really appreciate the fact that you’re also doing what you can to support rescues and shelters. I mean, tell us a little bit about that.

 

Corey:

It’s easy to give when you’re in this field, when you’re inside of a dog-themed world and just be a part of the culture, and you’re meeting other people who just are around it all the time.

And so, everybody gets the charity. I think that’s fantastic. And there’s a lot of great charities. In New York, there’s a lot of young charities who I didn’t know. And when you start getting sort of immersed in that culture, you kind of learn all these people and how hard they work and how dedicated they are.

So, BarkYours is happy to get back. As we grow, the charity component will certainly be larger, and we’re trying to figure out how to structure it appropriately. But, it’s not only just, you know, the dog artists that are giving—because most of them do—but it’s BarkYours as a platform.

It’s a huge goal in sort of bringing this to the next generation of how BarkYours works. So, you know, we give, and we try to do whatever we can because 1) you should, and 2) you start meeting so many people who do do that, and you become inspired by that whole world. You become sort of knowledgeable in what’s going on, and with that said, you know, if we can, we do. So, that was the goal.

And, again, my next generation, which I’m trying to figure out, is how to really structure it. So, it’s something that’s automated. Currently, we have “pick your charity”, “write in a charity”.

There’s a couple of different ways to go about it. The artists can pick their own charity. We’re trying to figure out the next steps of how to make that a little bit easier, a little bit more fluid.

 

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Chris:

That’s really cool. I like that idea. And I’m like you. I’m alright. I appreciate people that want to give back and help people and help animals and all that kind of stuff. So, kudos to you for doing that. So, what’s your vision for BarkYours? Where are you going to take it?

 

Corey:

I like it to be the go-to. You know, if you’re looking for a dog-inspired gift, why not come here? I mean, everything is one, I think that all of these—everything, the price is right. There are so many different levels of, you know, what you can purchase.

Artists are all across the country, a couple is global. It’s a marketplace that sort of, you know, we took a niche out. It’s sort of just focused on one direct, creative passion and cause.

So, that would be the goal, is that if you’re going to look for a dog gift, let BarkYours be part of the strategy of how you’re going to buy a gift.

 

Chris:

Any plans to do a MeowYours? You know, for us cat lovers, too?

 

Corey:

Yes. (laughs)

 

Chris:

Okay. Yeah. I mean, nothing wrong with dogs, right? But can you give a shout-out to the cats as well?

 

Corey:

Yeah, we talked about it all the time, and I get asked that question all the time. And definitely. I just need this to sort of walk a little bit, you know.

 

Chris:

Sure.

 

Corey:

New businesses, as you know, are never easy. I sort of, you know, it doesn’t happen overnight, and this so far is, you know, it’s a lot between and trying to get the word out and trying to have people trust the site and have it be that go-to. It’s a big endeavor.

 

Chris:

Yeah. I mean, I always say overnight success takes about seven to 10 years. So… (laughs)

 

Corey:

Yeah, so we’re not there yet. But, it’s like, it’s the weight of trying to figure out how to market every artist individually and make sure that they’re comfortable with their products being on your platform.

I mean, that’s the big deal. If someone’s taking time to upload what they create, I want to make sure that it’s in the best light, and people like it, and it’s being seen enough by as many dog lovers as possible. That’s important.

 

Chris:

Now, what’s your background, Corey? Have you always been a technology guy? E-commerce guy? I mean, tell us a little bit about you.

 

Corey:

Post-college, I got a job as a technology recruiter, and I never stopped. I find technical people jobs.

 

Chris:

Interesting, so like, developer-type people, designers? I mean, when you say technical, how broad does it go?

 

Corey:

Broad. From infrastructure to applications, applications that span across anything, you know, that comes up mainly within the field of financial services and those sorts of business verticals. But I have been in other business verticals, too.

But, I mean, it’s great. I mean, again, here’s another situation, where I’m the platform for, you know, people looking for jobs, to those that are people that need those people.

You know, it’s always been that kind of middleman approach, is where I was. And technology is fantastic. It grows by, you know, from what it was when I first started. I mean, I cannot believe it. If you just sit down for an hour and just think about how far it’s come, it’s unreal.

So, it always changes, and therefore, it keeps things very interesting, and you meet new people. And being I’m in New York, there’s a lot of, you know, people coming here to look for technical jobs. So, you meet new people all the time. I love that.

 

Chris:

That’s really cool. So, you’re like me, right? You work the day job, and then you work the evening job as well, right?

 

Corey:

Yes. One is passion. (laughs) Yeah, and it’s a lot, it becomes a 24-hour a day. Then that’s fine. Let it be that for as long as it needs to be.

 

Chris:

Yeah. So, you know, I’m curious. I mean, is there anybody along the way that’s really helped you or anything you’ve learned along the way?

 

Corey:

Yeah, I think that, one, you know, this was co-founded at the time with my wife. So, she is a very macro person who kind of helped with the workflow so much to create what it looks like today, which is, you know, I think the site is great.

But I think that she pushes quite a bit, and I think that’s great. I think I need that. I sort of need the focus, and, you know, so she is, definitely.

Family, artists locally. I know a T-shirt designer who is on this site, who is dog-inspired and amazing T-shirts. So, all these things were just, you know, people who focus you and kind of push you along and say, you know, “That’s a great idea. Why don’t you put that into it?” And I think those are the sorts of people that I appreciate, that helped.

 

Chris:

Yeah. Have you ever done a website before you started this?

 

Corey:

Just my own personal, you know, technical recruiting-type websites. Nothing of this large scale. Nothing of the marketplace with payment structures and uploads and messaging areas. Like, I’ve never done that, no. That was a new thing.

You know, websites. WordPress stuff. You know, single-page.

 

Chris:

Right.

 

Corey:

Scroll up and down.

 

Chris:

And this is obviously a lot more than just a static WordPress site.

 

Corey:

Yes, yes. This is definitely a big change. So worth doing.

I tell everybody that they should be, especially if you’re in a more transactional profession, to be creative, to have an outlet. You know, I think that it just helps you, I think, on a data focus on a day job or whatever you need to focus on.

I think creativity is very important. I’m learning that more and more from the artists that I’m currently meeting, where they’re kind of you. Similar things, where they have day jobs, and they’re creating because they just need to work with their hands or make T-shirts or whatever it is.

 

Chris:

So, Corey, what did you learn about yourself along the way?

 

Corey:

I think that I had a lot of time to do this. (laughs) I’m like, “Wow, there’s a plus between walking a dog, and there are a family and kids, and there’s like a lot. Who knew that this takes a lot of time?”

You know, I learned how to structure. I think the organizational aspect, I think I’m pretty good at. Learning not just about myselfmore broadly about, you know, social media, things like that. Just, you know, I’m learning how to really create more on a creative scale, and I haven’t done that before.

Usually, I mean, you could imagine recruiting as very interview-ish and, you know, it’s phones and emails. This is really kind of listening to the passions of people and trying, you know, creating a site that kind of manages that for them.

And I think it just changes a little bit. It’s a little bit different than what I was used to beforehand. I didn’t know how different it would be until I started. I thought I could do thoughtful marketing campaigns and kind of move that along, and it sort of changed a little bit.

It’s a lot. To get the word out requires a lot of time, and a lot of hope, and a lot of discussions. And you hope that others are talking about it, too, in great light. And there are reviews and so on, and it’s a lot to think about at any given moment.

 

Chris:

Yeah, I think it’s interesting. Like you said, it’s a different type of person that’s making crafts, and being creative, and things like that. And they probably think very differently than the typical technical professionals that you said that you have been recruiting, right?

 

Corey:

Yeah.

 

Chris:

So, it’s gotta challenge you in different ways to say, “How do I support them? How do I work with them?” Because I’m guessing a lot of them are not technical.

 

Corey:

Exactly. And, you know, I’m coming at it also from a technical perspective, but a marketing perspective. Let this be just an extension of your marketing strategy.

I thoughtI’m always sort ofIt’s a free site to list your products, right? Not every product can get listed. They need to fit the theme, obviously, but I’m alwaysI’m surprised by the number of people that really take this under consideration.

They have the products that they love, and it’s a free site of a dog-inspired site. Why wouldn’t you wanna list it? Why wouldn’t you list your products on the site? And they have their rationale and their reasoning. And so, I find that fascinating that they wouldn’t.

But I, you know, ultimately, I had to understand it. And with more conversation, I get it, that this is extremely personal to them. They’re artists, it’s extremely personal. And that stuff that I had to really learn, that they might not want it on this platform.

I think we do a lot of their artwork justice. I think that I take it very seriously. I’m really appreciative by those that put their art on the site, and I’m hopeful that it sells a lot, and people look at it, or people just are happy to look at it.

But alwaysyou know, I’m always thinking that I take it very seriously. Like, I know that they’re thinking about it. It’s not just an automatic “Yes, I would love to.” It’s a thought by them.

 

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Chris:

Yeah, and it sounds like you’ve put a lot of thought into this yourself, and you’re trying to cater to them and learn from them and say, “Look, we want to be this trusted place, and it’s not just about you.” You’re trying to help them as well with their brand, with what they’re trying to do.

 

Corey:

Yes, yes. And I do find all that stuff beautiful. I mean, there are so many clever things on the site. I’m shocked by what people can create, and it looks so beautiful.

I mean, it’s surprising, and between, you know, the work they put into it, I know that there are so many charity organizations that they will deal with. I know that there is so much going on in their head about how to get these things out.

And then, if they sell, they have to getobviously, they have to create the product and get it to their customer. So, it’s a lot going on. It’s a lot for everybody, but it’s a great site.

Marketplaces to me, I think that, you know, you have to be a big believer in the marketplace, and I am. There are great marketplaces that are out there. You know, is the world ready for, you know, a niche? You know, something smaller, more focused?

I hope so. But, you know, we’ll see as we go along.

 

Chris:

You know, I think it’s really cool. I mean, why don’t you remind people, Corey, how to find you? How to get in contact with you?

 

Corey:

Yeah, the website is barkyours.com. B-A-R-K-Y-O-U-R-S. And email [email protected] anythingyou know, there’s a lot of Google, there’s a lot ofbut it’s barkyours.com, and it’s a great site.

It’s great on phone. It’s great on a laptop, desktop. Go in, log in, sign up. You’ll get emails created by me, you know, and I think it’s a great site just to kind of look through different categories and see what people are inspired to do because of their dog.

 

Chris:

You know, I think it’s really cool, and I’m definitely a fan, and I’ll definitely be a new customer for sure because I found a lot of stuff out there already.

I’m like, “This would be great. Great gift for my wife, for any holiday that’s coming up, right, that I need to find something.”

 

Corey:

We’re about to push out holidays. So, you know, ornaments and crazy but gorgeous stuff. But yeah, that’s exactly what it was made for. And, you know, your friend gets a puppy. It’s lots of great stuff. People who likeyou know, I wear a dog-inspired T-shirt almost on a daily basis. Yeah, that’s on there, too. You know, very clever fun stuff.

So, I hope people like it and shop and support these local artists and support the charities that they support and we support and so on.

 

Chris:

Well, I’m really glad you came on to talk to us about it today, Corey. I really appreciate you.

 

Corey:

Me, too. Thank you, Chris. No, me too. I’m really glad. I was really excited to do the show. I’ve known your site, so, I mean, this is great. I really appreciate it.

 

Chris:

Thanks. And just as a reminder to all of our listeners, right? If you’ve got an idea for a product, a service, or know somebody that we should talk to, just go to www.innovations.show and let us know about it. Maybe we can get them on the show.

So, thanks again, Corey. I really appreciate you joining us today, and everybody, go check out www.barkyours.com.

 

Corey:

Thank you, Chris.

 

Narrator:

Thanks for joining us for the Animal Innovations Show!

If you want to volunteer to help animals, check out www.doobert.com, where you can join tens of thousands of Dooberteers supporting rescues and shelters around the world to help animals.

And, if you know of something or someone innovative that’s helping animals, let us know by going to www.innovations.show.

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