If you know one thing about UMI, it’s that we love our pets. Like, really love our pets. One Bring Your Pet to Work day wasn’t enough for us –– they’re welcome every day of the week. But we’re just as dedicated to finding ways to support our local community, especially when we can use our brand growth expertise to help small businesses hit hard by the pandemic.
That’s exactly what happened this spring when we launched our Glow Up give-back program. FurBabies Bakery was an ideal first candidate. Located in the heart of downtown Plano, TX, FurBabies offers apparel, accessories, treats, a self-service spa, and more for dogs and cats. It’s a pet lover’s dream come true.
Angela Crowe and her wife, Sandy Hollis, opened their shop almost a year ago. Like most retailers, Angela and Sandy struggled to keep the lights on during the pandemic. They applied for as many small-business loans and relief programs as they could, but, as Angela says, “We just couldn’t catch a break –– until the team at UMI walked in with an opportunity better than anything we could have imagined.”
UMI typically supports multi-unit brands with 250 or more locations. We provide everything from signage and menu boards to uniforms, swag, and promotional materials for places like Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Zips Car Wash, and Steak n’ Shake. Why not offer the same marketing and operations and marketing support to a small retailer –– especially when that retailer has a lot in common with UMI: women in leadership roles and a passion for pets?
Here’s how it looked in practice. UMI’s team, led by Creative Director Allison Baumgarn, presented FurBabies with three unique concepts. Each one included a variety of marketing materials, from signage and message boards to bakery case labels and floor decals, all designed to boost visibility and turn new visitors into lifelong customers. We had brand guidelines in terms of fonts and colors, but Angela and Sandy basically let us off leash to make something fresh, new, and playful.
In the end, Angela and Sandy were able to pick and choose elements from each concept that suited their style while still creating a unified, cohesive look for their store and brand. “When we started, we had a lot of things around the store that people had donated to us,” Sandy says, “but UMI came in and made this place truly FurBabies. It’s amazing, and our customers are loving our new look!”
From start to finish, the project took about eight weeks, and we were able to design, produce, and install everything in time for FurBabies’ one-year anniversary celebration on March 27.
Take a look at the results!
“For our first concept, ‘Cor-Keep It Simple,’ I went with something classy and sophisticated––an overall clean aesthetic with straightforward messaging paired with traditional shapes and graphics. This was meant to appeal to the pet owners by emphasizing the quality of the FurBabies brand. We all know that our FurBabies only get the best,” says Allison.
“The second concept, ‘A Touch of Paw-ish,’ has a more stylish aesthetic,” Allison explains. “Still refined, but I started to add in bright pops of color and contemporary graphics. These were designed to bring a smile to your face while still elevating the brand.”
“I turned the volume up in the third concept, ‘Raise the Woof!’ The concept is filled with playful messaging, bright colors, bold graphics, lively illustrations, and die-cut shapes. We’re bringing out the lighthearted and whimsical side of a brand that makes Woofles and Puparoons that your FurBabies will love.”
Giving back is nothing new for us –– we’ve long participated in local food drives and other charitable activities –– but working with FurBabies felt different and truly special. The passion that Angela and Sandy have for providing quality products and experiences for Plano’s pets struck a chord with everyone at UMI. Nothing feels better than belonging to an organization that cares about giving back and making the world a friendlier place, and it was a joy to see the whole team pull together for this project. We’d say our Glow Up initiative is off on the right paw.