Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is Jon Cooper, whose business aims to disrupt the traditional mass-produced dog kibble world by offering an all-natural, human-grade, locally sourced dog food. We caught up with him to find out what inspired his career and what advice he would share with other young professionals…
1. Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I’m an entrepreneur at heart. I’ve launched a handful of companies, but most recently I started All Good Dog Food – a locally sourced, all-natural, human-grade dog food store. We work with local farmers and butchers to create the best, most nutritious homemade dog food possible.
2. What was the inspiration for your career route?
I wanted to do the best thing for my dog. I saw so many dogs getting sick so I began researching what actually goes into traditional dog foods. I quickly realized there were many dog owners just like me looking to provide their dog with healthier, more nutritious options.
3. What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
Opening up our first storefront and manufacturing plant was a really big moment for us. Getting to spend that face time with our customers and their dogs has been an incredible experience. We see tired, lethargic dogs come in and be completely transformed into healthy, energetic personalities. Partnering with Redemption Dogs and being able to make a positive impact on dogs’ lives makes every day worthwhile.
4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
There are so many dogs across the globe that aren’t getting the proper nutrition they need. In five years, I’d love to have multiple storefronts across Canada. In 10 years I see us expanding into international markets. Within 20 years I’d love to see All Good Dog Food as a household name in pet and dog nutrition known for high-quality, nutrient-rich dog foods.
5. Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
If you have that entrepreneurial bug, then go for it. Take a chance when you’re young and have minimal responsibilities. When there’s no downside to failure, you can take more risks. And with risk comes opportunity.
6. Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
I’m President of the Thompson T Egbo Egbo Arts Foundation. We work to incorporate better arts programs in schools to enrich children’s lives and encourage them to make positive contributions to their communities. My background is in music and it’s always been an essential part of my life. I come from a very charitable family; giving back and inspiring others was something they instilled in me from a very young age.
7. What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge we’ve faced is getting people educated about dog nutrition as a whole. We’re a small fish in a massive pond, and so many dog owners are unaware of what’s required to maintain optimal canine health. Making strategic decisions, networking with the local community and being sincere has been essential to our success. Never forget that word of mouth is everything. Have faith in your business and be confident in what you’re doing.
8. What does the word notable mean to you?
To me, “notable” means having influence and inspiring those around you. Never underestimate the ability to create change.
1. Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
This might sound boring, but I love to cook and entertain at home. It allows for so much more creativity and I love experimenting with new recipes. My go-to favourite? Ribs.
2. What’s the most played song on your phone?
I maybe shouldn’t admit this, but the most played songs on my phone are anything by Steely Dan.
3. Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
To be honest I’m not very active on social media, but I think John Tory is really funny to follow.
4. What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
I actually really love exploring Canada. So many Canadians see more of the world than they do their own country. Next on my list? Probably Japan. Their culture is so unique.
5. What gives you the greatest FOMO?
I don’t think I have FOMO…
6. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
My baths. Is that normal?
7. What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
I wish I didn’t spend so much money on technology – I love gadgets! I wish I spent more money on travel. There are so many places I want to visit.
8. And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
I think success is a combination of all the above. It’s about finding the right balance in every category. That, and smiling lots!