Client Closeup: Advancing Innovation Pet

Imagination, creativity, and originality are the strategic tools Innovation Pet uses to bring exciting new products to pet parents everywhere. Since inception four years ago, Innovation Pet has set the pet industry on fire with its unique and engaging products. This dynamic corporation is rapidly achieving success that competitive companies envy—with several industry awards and national publicity that includes an appearance on ABC’s famed Shark Tank reality television show.

Innovation Pet’s story began in 2012 when, after previously running a successful company together, Victoria Coopman and Tim Taft reunited on a new business venture. With decades of combined experience in the pet industry, they set out to revitalize the market with a unique line of interactive and automated toys for cats and dogs. Smartly, they envisioned engineering their products targeting a rapidly growing customer base that loves to pamper and entertain their beloved companion animals.

“We tapped into the creative toy industry and translated existing manufacturing capacity to fill a new pipeline with revolutionary and innovative pet toys,” said Coopman, who serves as president and chief operating officer for the Huntington Beach-based company. “Since then, we have introduced a range of new products, including walk-in chicken coops, rabbit hutches, and even duck barns.”

The company’s rapid growth and expansion underscores the founders’ vision, drive, and commitment to their pet-loving customers. It’s also attributed to a family tie that brought Innovation Pet together with Plaza Bank.

“During our startup phase, I reached out to my sister Toni Clubb, an accomplished chief financial officer, to help us establish a banking relationship,” Coopman said. “She introduced us to Al De Grassi at Plaza Bank, who was instrumental in helping Toni’s company through the difficult economy in 2008. At her recommendation, we met with Al—and it has been an exceptional relationship ever since.”

Plaza Bank’s advice and offering of business oriented products and services were creatively applied to our specific needs.

“And of course, we needed outstanding customer support,” Coopman said. “With Plaza Bank, we got it all. Al and his team took the time to understand our company, our business, our needs, and our future, and then delivered the personal, first-class banking services that they promised. From the start, they have made banking easy for us, enabling us to focus our attention on other business challenges, such as product creation, sales, and distribution.”

For its part, Plaza Bank recognized Innovation Pet as an ideal client, with potential for sustained growth and long-term loyalty, and led by quality people. “Not only was I impressed with their professional background and business plan, but they already had several partnerships with manufacturers and distributors, as well as a backlog of orders,” De Grassi said. “It has been gratifying to be part of their startup, growth, and success, with so much more opportunity ahead.”

According to Coopman, De Grassi and Plaza Bank were Innovation Pet’s biggest supporters when they applied for a spot on Shark Tank, where entrepreneurs make business presentations to a panel of “shark” investors. “They brought credibility to our company during the due diligence required for the show,” Coopman said. “We were thrilled when we were selected. Al was one of the first calls we made to make sure he knew we could not have made it without him and the support of Plaza Bank.”

In addition to resulting in a TV deal with one of the investor’s, the Shark Tank experience has provided valuable publicity for Innovative Pet, showcasing its products to millions of potential customers. “Again, Plaza Bank has been there to help scale our business following this national exposure,” Coopman said.

Despite the success of its amazingly cool toys and houses—one of its Kitty Connection products took first place at the 2015 Global Pet Expo—the company is not stopping there. Most recently, Innovative Pet unveiled another industry-transforming product line: all-natural and safe pet odor-eliminating flakes.

“Our company name says it all. We want to continue to bring amazing products to pet parents and animal lovers,” Coopman said. “We could not do it without Plaza Bank, which has enabled us to grow our business. Isn’t that the ultimate goal?”

Indeed, Innovation Pet has achieved double-digit growth annually for the past four years, thanks in part to its strong banking relationship. But Coopman is just as appreciative for the intangible. “Plaza Bank has been a true partner from the beginning, assisting us in our time of need and offering advice and counsel in the most empowering, professional manner. We are grateful to Al and Plaza Bank.”