Last year felt like a rollercoaster for Marcos Álvarez, Aida Martinez, and Cristina Ferreiro of Patasbox (which translates to Pawsbox), a monthly subscription service that has been providing folks with boxes full of organic, healthy, and fun products for their dogs since 2016. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns in their home country of Spain, the co-founders weren’t sure what the future held for them. “We thought we were going to close our business,” says Marcos, “and then, around the same time as the lockdown, we got a lot of sales—better than any other year.”
As lockdowns went into effect across Spain, people around the country started adopting dogs to keep them company at home—and as a way to go outside for quick walks without breaking the law. This increase in dog ownership suddenly put Patasbox in high demand, bringing about exciting new opportunities—and a handful of unexpected obstacles, too.
The challenge: Juggling demand, growth, and visibility during a pandemic
While the Patasbox team knew that the sudden jump in demand was a good problem to have, Marcos admits that they weren’t quite ready for it. “We are a subscription box, so we need to plan months in advance for how much we’re going to sell. In April, we sold all of the boxes we had for the month by the 10th or 11th, and we couldn’t supply more product to meet the demand because of the lockdown.”
In addition to the supply chain and logistical issues, Marcos and Aida knew that, in order to sustain their growth, they needed to continue generating awareness of their brand and their products. And through it all, they felt a responsibility to find new ways to help their beloved canine community.