As we scrolled through Instagram recently (one of our favorite hobbies), we spotted an ad for the most gorgeous dog kennels we’ve ever seen! So, we DM’d the company and asked if they’d be willing to chat with us for a few minutes and give us the skinny on these unique designs.
Since it’s part of our mission to share superior products with our readers, we knew they fit right in at K&B - especially after we learned the founders are a young couple who discovered a gap in the marketplace and worked dilligently to fill it. As young entrepreneurs, they re-prioritized their life and worked on building a future together based on something they were genuinely passionate about.
Who they are: Bethany and Brody Rathman, founders, B&B Kustom Kennels, based in Larkspur, CO.
The inspiration: In 2015, the couple adopted two 8 month old labradoodles - litter mates who they named Gracie and Pyper. “We realized very quickly that they could not be left out unattended. They ate the drywall.” So, off the couple went in search of crates or kennels that could contain their adorable beasts, AND leave their kitchen cabinets intact!
“Brody had just remodeled our house and after all that work we were upset that we now had these stupid kennels in our kitchen. So, I started looking for a piece of furniture that we could transform into a kennel.”
So, off they went to Home Depot to start improvising. Neither Bethany nor Brody had any professional design or carpentry experience - she was a school teacher and varsity volleyball coach and he had a successful career in healthcare IT. Not exactly the perfect recipe for a dynamic design duo.
But, they knew what they liked. And, they clearly have good taste. The first model was grey with white legs. Bethany’s cousin suggested they share a pic of it online. She recalls that they got somewhere around 200 likes, mostly from locals, and - lo and behold - one of them turned out to be their first customer. With the money from that first sale, they were able to build four more kennels and figured they’d sell one per month and help pay off their student loans.
Going viral: However, when their first happy customer posted her new kennel online, things really blew up. That post went viral and reached over 6 million people.
Coincidentally, all this happened right before the Christmas holidays. Bethany decided to use her holiday break to figure out all the logistics of what was clearly going to be a REAL business. They filed an LLC, built a website and figured out how to ship such hefty packages. By the new year, they were able to start taking orders and were soon selling 30 kennels a month.
Entrepreuners at heart: In the Spring, Brody decided to quit his job and focus on building kennels full time. They acquired two employees - a college buddy and a cousin - and worked out of their 400 sq ft garage. Two and half years later, they have completed construction on a new warehouse, are still making each kennel by hand and have a 16 -18 week wait time. They established a parent company, Rothman & Co. and have recently made deals with both Overstock and Wayfair, who will sell slightly different product versions manufactured in China and shipped flat, ready to be assembled at your home within 3- 5 days.
Bonus tip: B&B is currently hiring. If you’re interested in working for them, go to the Careers section of their website.
Two weeks after we spoke, Bethany delivered their first baby, a boy, Emmitt Jay Rathman. We are so excited for them!
To order you own custom kennel, visit B&B Kustom Kennels.
All dogs should be happy dogs