Love Your Pets: Engraved Pet ID Tags for Style & Safety
In 1981, Bruce Overbeck and Beverly Verna took a leap and started Gravagraphics, an awards and engraving business, in downtown Lebanon, Oregon. Bruce has a business degree and Beverly has a master’s degree in psychology, but neither had experience running their own businesses. “There was an opportunity to get into the business and we decided it was a risk worth taking,” Bruce said. “Like a lot of fledgling small business owners, we didn’t have a solid business plan and weren’t sure where things were going to go. However, with a lot of hard work and constant learning, it turned out right for us.”After several years of working 80-hour workweeks trying to build a business in a small, local market, the pair decided it was time to take another leap. They researched direct mail marketing looking for a way to use their experience in the engraving field to find a personalized, engraved product they could market nationwide. They settled on the pet identification tag. It was a product people were familiar with but, at that time, ID tags were often hard to find, of low quality and usually very expensive. Bruce and Beverly began to market Love Your Pets ID Tags by mailing displays and order forms for custom engraved tags to every veterinary clinic and Humane Society in the United States.
With their marketing techniques producing positive results, they began testing advertising in the coupon section of Sunday newspapers. This proved to be a marketing niche that was perfect for their product. They redesigned their production methods to be even more efficient for high volume and began advertising nationwide. By the mid-’90s they had 15 full-time employees, all the while keeping the business located in downtown Lebanon. After several years of dominating that niche, other competitors entered that market and consumers began the switch from ordering products through the mail to ordering online.
Bruce and Beverly created www.LoveYourPets.com in 1996, anticipating a future online marketing trend. Their prior experience with old school direct mail marketing theory was a good base for delving into Internet marketing because there are many similarities, one of these similarities being the ability to test and monitor your marketing. “If you were monitoring your results, you knew exactly where and how well it was or was not working,” Bruce recalls. Learning how to advertise online with Google, Yahoo, Bing and the ever-changing and expanding Internet marketplace has been a constant challenge. Today, nearly all Love Your Pets orders come from online sources.Throughout the years, there were many opportunities to expand their product line and grow to be a much larger company, but they have maintained their original goal of keeping their business small and simple, and doing it efficiently with a quality, affordable product and excellent service. The applications of their tags have become more diverse and they are now often used for labeling equipment, IDs for backpacks and luggage, promotions, and even party favors.
Since 1987, Love Your Pets has put tags on more than 5 million pets. Beverly says, “There’s a good feeling that comes from knowing our tags have helped reunite lost pets with their owners. We have received thousands of letters from customers telling us stories about how our tags saved their pet. It’s great when you really believe in your product or service,” says Bruce.