It’s a dog’s paradise at the headquarters of Skout’s Honor, an environmentally and socially conscious pet products company that moved to Oceanside from Irvine in the fall of 2020.
A gated mini dog park built at its digs off Oceanside Boulevard is a popular spot for employees’ dogs, and inside the building, there are plenty of containers filled with dog treats, several plush dog beds, toys, bones and bowls of cool water.
Skout’s Honor founder and chief Macon Brock and president and CEO Pete Stirling strongly encourage employees to bring their canines to work and stylish photos of employees’ dogs are framed and artistically positioned on a wall leading to offices.
Since moving from OC to North County, the number of employees at the company has grown from 5 to almost 25 — and the company’s real estate footprint has expanded from a 1,000-square-foot building to a two-story building totaling 55,000 square feet.
Skout’s Honor products are made in Los Angeles, but distribution and shipping come from its Oceanside warehouse.
“We have found San Diego an amazing place to find very talented people,” Stirling said. “It’s a great mix of people we have recruited here and brought here.”
Brock, 51, and Stirling, 43, close friends and business partners from Orange County, previously collaborated on sunscreen products in the early-to-mid-2000s but left that behind. They eventually reconnected, first laying the groundwork for the pet venture in 2014 and into 2015.
“I liked the idea of the pet market better, and the margins looked pretty good,” Brock said. “We had a manufacturing partner behind us and we knew we could compete against anybody, with innovative products that were different from the older technologies that people have been relying on.”
‘Newer, Better, Faster’
“We had the ability to come in with something newer, better and faster,” Brock added. “We know we have a better product and so we are very confident in what we do.”
Skout’s Honor products launched in 2016 at the Global Pet Expo in Florida. The company started with a few cleaning products to fight stains and odors left by dogs and cats. Since then, Skout’s Honor has added grooming products made with probiotics, both probiotic and prebiotic grooming and wellness items, preventive solutions, training aid sprays and flea and tick repellants.
Skout’s Honor products are plant-based, rapidly biodegradable, free of sulfates, parabens, colors and dyes and are safe for use on humans.
Stirling grew up with parents who worked in the medical field, and he has continued along that path, keeping up with the latest scientific research, specifically looking into probiotics and microbiomes.
Changing Dog Care
“Topical probiotics and skincare applications are probably the most exciting thing we have going,” Stirling said. “If we were to go out of business tomorrow, I know that this is the technology we have brought to the pet space. It’s changing the way people take care of their dogs in my lifetime. That’s really cool.”
Stirling said Skout’s Honor products have even helped in his own battle with eczema. Both he and Jenny Gilcrest, the company’s VP of marketing, are also fans of Skout’s Honor shampoo for their dogs – which they also use on their own hair.
Gilcrest said that the company has been both smart and lucky as it has grown. Before the pandemic, Skout’s Honor had ramped up its supply of components needed to make its products, Gilcrest said. She said some of the larger companies who made similar items, especially cleaning products, were unable to get their products on the shelves because of supply-chain challenges.
“We were able to slide in and support the pet specialty market, especially in cleaning products,” she said. “We were lucky in that way, too, because cleaning products were top-of-mind for people. And people were also home with their pets more and noticed the itching or if the dog stunk, and wanted more product.”
The company has started to grow at an opportune time. While many businesses have struggled to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, the pet industry is thriving, with sales in 2021 surging 14% to $123 billion.
A number of factors reportedly have contributed to the growth, including a heightened focus on pet health and wellness among pet owners in closer contact with their pets during the pandemic.
Skout’s Honor is currently in more than 8,000 pet specialty retail stores, including a host of mom-and-pop stores as well as Kahoots and PetSmart. Petco is set to come on board with Skout’s Honor this month. The company’s products are also available internationally.
The company also abides by a “Skout’s Paw Pledge” – when consumers buy a product, the company donates one day’s worth of food to Greater Good Charities’ GOODS program for rescue animals. So far, the company has donated more than 10 million meals to animals in need.
Locally, Skout’s Honor recently delivered more than 4,000 grooming products to the San Diego Humane Society.
FOUNDER: Macon Brock
PRESIDENT & CEO: Pete Stirling
BUSINESS: Pet care and wellness products
CONTACT: email@example.com or (877) 805-0399
SOCIAL IMPACT: Skout’s Paw Pledge (Buy a Bottle, Feed an Animal) program donates one day’s worth of food to rescue animals with every product sold.
NOTABLE: Third-party lab tests confirm Skout’s probiotic blend has the ability to naturally eradicate and prevent the growth of yeast and fungus on pets’ skin.