Personify Pets hits $1 million mark for sales with help of rubber dog ID tag
Amazon has been good to Western New York entrepreneurs’ Jayson Czerniak and Kevin Mychajluk.
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Their business, Personify Pets, has hit a few milestones this month – $1 million in total sales, 50,000 units sold for their signature rubber dog and cat ID tag product and 4,000 reviews and 44,000 customers on Amazon – since the company began selling its merchandise in August 2018.
The two are now making more of a push to get their tags, as well as their collars and leashes, sold at Western New York retailers, but Personify Pets’ biggest success by far has come on the internet commerce giant.
Czerniak initially had his misgivings about selling the pet ID tag via Amazon, and it took some convincing for him to give it a try. But their initial success on Amazon “told them they had something” right away, he said.
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The waterproof tag, which is made of silicone and custom engraved, secures directly to the collar and does not hang like a usual metal tag.
“I was initially doubtful about selling on Amazon because our pet ID tag was so different from what people were used to,” said Czerniak, who also runs his family’s third-generation tool and die machine shop, Sharp Tooling Co., in Cheektowaga. “I thought it was something people would need to see, touch and hold in their hand in order to appreciate and decide to purchase.”
Instead, Amazon became the ideal platform for the product’s sale because it allowed Czerniak and Mychajluk to adjust the product based on reviews. They also were able to sell to customers all over the country – their first sale came from Alaska, and gain validation of the product and its $25 price point.
“It is very moving to see a customer we don't know write a couple paragraphs about why they love our tag and mention the problems it solved for them,” Czerniak said.
Five years ago, Czerniak was operating a side business, Expressed Impressions, making personalized jewelry and engraving photos out of his tool and die machine shop when he and Mychajluk, a high school intern at the time, stumbled onto the idea of making a rubber pet ID tag for dog and cat collars.
The two had been invited to sell their wares from Expressed Impressions at a dog show in North Tonawanda, and Czerniak said they set their sights on coming up with a pet product for the show.
One thing led to another, and the two came up with the rubber pet ID tag.
They launched Personify Pets and began selling the item in stores, but, to Czerniak’s surprise, most of their success came on Amazon, accounting for much of the company’s $1 million in total sales in four-plus years.
Personify Pets has now increased its revenues to $500,000 annually and sells more than 1,500 pet ID tags a month on Amazon.
“It was nice to have that creative liberty when we were first designing the pet ID tags because there wasn’t really anything out there like this yet and we had to come up with it all by ourselves,” said Mychajluk, who came to Czerniak’s company with a background in technology and robotics as part of a work-based learning opportunity.
The two grew up in the same neighborhood in Alden and both graduated from Alden Central High School, 22 years apart – Czerniak in 1996 and Mychajluk in 2018.
After attending the University at Buffalo for mechanical engineering during the fall semester of 2018, Mychajluk decided he would rather pursue Personify Pets full time and left school.
The reason why the rubber dog tags have become so popular? The product is safer than many of the dangly metal tags on the market and is comfortable and durable, Czerniak said.
It also does not hang from a ring, so it can’t get caught on other items, and it is silent because there is no metal clinking, he added. In addition, the text on the tag doesn’t shade or wear off, and they stretch and slide on to every style of collar with a buckle, Czerniak said.
The two also invented a proprietary method for laser engraving text on the silicone of the rubber tags, Mychajluk said.
Personify Pets has developed and is now selling collars and leashes that pair with their tags and will eventually launch a line of pet harnesses and pet treats. Next up is trying to find similar success they’ve experienced on Amazon inside pet store retailers in the Buffalo-area.
Welcome to Buffalo Next. This newsletter from The Buffalo News will bring you the latest coverage on the changing Buffalo Niagara economy – from real estate to health care to startups. Read more at BuffaloNext.com.
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The Buffalo Next team gives you the big picture on the region’s economic revitalization. Email tips to email@example.com or reach Buffalo Next Editor David Robinson at 716-849-4435.
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