Who doesn’t like a lovely, fresh smell when they are near their pet? A grooming product called M&J Dog Essentials, made right here in Asheville at the Blue Ridge Food Ventures, makes your dog’s coat soft to touch and noticeably shiny. Mary Louise Shenk and Hannah Koch, a mother/daughter team, are offering products to help a person enjoy their four-footed friend even more.
[dropcap]B[/dropcap]oth ladies became certified estheticians at the Aveda Institute. Not too long ago they decided to change their focus from products for humans to holistic grooming products for their beloved pets. The mother/daughter team began producing all natural shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, and treatments for dogs.
Mary Louise and Hannah returned to Western North Carolina, after living in Chicago for a few years. Hannah (the daughter) has a bachelor of science from Michigan State University, while Mary Louise (the mother) graduated from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Happy memories of the state came to mind when considering relocating the business and their lives to North Carolina. It was time to get away from big city life in the cold north.
After arriving in Asheville, they discovered that Blue Ridge Food Ventures had a facility, which would help them produce their product without a great deal of investment and overhead. All the ingredients in M&J Dog Essential products are natural, sustainably sourced. It is important that the pH balance be correct for a canine, which is not the same as for a human.
Mary Louise (the mother) has studied and learned about herbs, having gathered her knowledge of herbs over the past 20 years from countless other well respected herbalists and her world travels. From the start, both mother and daughter agreed they should make their own extracts. For example, the Calendula Flower Extract with antiseptic and soothing properties helps calm skin sensitivities that sometimes cause itching and helps soothe inflammatory dermatitis. The Red Clover Extract is full of vitamins and nutrients. Using locally sourced raw materials, other extracts are made in-house. Some of the herbs are grown by them or local farmers, but others are obtained from the Appalachian Botanical Alliance. Ingredients can include mango and cupuacu butter, nettle extract, camellia oil, or honeysuckle extract, all to help condition the coat and skin.
The graphic design on the bottles and the catalog are obviously done by a professional and catch your eye immediately. The initials M&J in the name stand for Moe and Joe, two beloved Boston Terriers, who hold the logo on both sides. Warm wonderful photographs and sketches are scattered throughout the catalog, the website, and marketing material. Moreover the company is committed to green business practices; the bottles are made with eco-friendly PCR materials. Product development is a passion of the team. The packaging was improved for a more visual point-of-sale presentation and changes in bottle caps and pumps for easier consumer use. The company recently introduced a gallon size Green Tea Clarifying Grooming Shampoo, which they are now selling to professional dog groomers.
Hannah and Mary Louise enlisted the aid of their friend Diana Eberhart, who has a bachelor of science from Hillsdale College in business and finance, to help promote these holistic products. After only a short time she has reached out to many retailers, who now purchase a variety of items, such as a 3-Step Holistic Dog Grooming Systems as an Ultimate Spa Day. The M&J Dog Essentials improve the health of all skin types and promote the optimal moisture balance for healthy skin with no dandruff and a beautiful coat.
The company does participate in local dog shows and charitable events. Recently they were a sponsor for the Brother Wolf Drag Queen Bingo event. All proceeds from their sales there were donated to Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, and any unsold product was donated to the Brother Wolf shelter’s Re-Tail store.
A number of retailers carry the product here in North Carolina and other states: Katuah Market, Woof Gang Bakery, and Waggers Dog Depot in Asheville, and Wag! A Unique Pet Boutique in Hendersonville. Other retailers can be found throughout the country. To find a retailer near you, or order online, just go to mjdog.com. Since you are undoubtedly living a healthy all natural lifestyle yourself, why not give the same care and attention to your canine companions, who are undoubtedly near and dear to your heart? They will appreciate it.