Ask any dog owner, and they’ll agree with the sentiment that a healthy dog is a happy dog. And a healthy, happy dog makes its human very happy, too.
This is the fundamental idea behind the founding of King Lou.
A few months after losing his beloved dog Lou to Canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a form of canine heart disease, Clayton Farris was surprised to see an FDA communication linking common ingredients in several well-known pet food brands to rising occurrences of DCM in dogs.
“I was shocked to find out the condition that afflicted Lou was linked to the ingredients in some of the most popular dog food brands on the market,” Farris comments. “The sad reality is that most of these companies are more focused on volume and profit instead of creating products that are healthy for pets.”
Farris, an Indiana University Kelley School of Business grad, has a background in health and nutrition. After working as a personal trainer through college, Farris built his career scaling brick & mortar sales for high-growth, startup CPG brands in the health and dietary supplements space. After an unexpected job change at the height of the pandemic in 2020, he decided it was the ideal time to take the plunge into full-time entrepreneurship.
Hence, King Lou Pets was founded, named after his beloved, rescued, Labradoodle.
The Hoosier native and father of two young sons soon discovered something that many of us realize: it’s difficult to work from home, let alone launch a business, especially with young children at home.
After relocating to Zionsville, Farris discovered zWORKS, which offered him an ideal opportunity to work in a coworking space among other entrepreneurs and focus on growing his company.
“Having the ability to be surrounded by business people who are experiencing many of the same challenges was a motivating factor for me to pursue a place with zWORKS,” Farris commented.
He joined zWORKS in January 2021 and soon after brought a partner on board. zWORKS allowed him the chance to set regular office hours and dedicate the time necessary to kickstart his vision into a growing business. King Lou Pets officially launched in August 2021.
What sets King Lou apart from other brands in the space are the core values:
- Real, clean pet nutrition: all of the ingredients are top quality whole food, human-grade, without preservatives or filler ingredients
- Sustainability: as a 100% USA company, all of the ingredients are sustainably-sourced from family farms in the USA, and the packaging is made from post-consumer recycled material
- A healthy dog is a happy dog: King Lou products are designed to help dog’s live longer, healthier, happier lives
Aside from living the core values for King Lou Pets, Farris is proud of starting his business in the community where he lives, too.
“It’s exciting to launch a CPG brand in the area,” says Farris. “There’s a great deal of hometown pride in Zionsville, so I’m excited to launch a local brand with the potential to scale to a national level.”
zWORKS also provides an opportunity for Farris to have a flexible schedule so he can focus on other important things when he is home, like his children and the dogs. Clayton and his family can often be found enjoying time in the great outdoors.