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We are working with TDBBS (aka “Best Bully Sticks”) in their search for a Director of Ecommerce based in Richmond, VA.

TDBBS specializes in bully sticks, elk antlers, and other natural, high protein dog chews that are highly digestible and are becoming increasingly popular among dog owners across the U.S. and abroad. In addition to bully sticks, the company also offers a wide variety of complementary all natural dog treats and chews to consumers through its proprietary ecommerce sites and also through other retail channels.

Founded by Avrum and Lauren Elmakis in 2007, TDBBS has achieved extraordinary growth since inception and was ranked #384 in Inc. Magazine’s 2012 “Inc. 500” ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.

HARRY’S COMMENTS: Given the volume of recruiting inquiries we receive each year, I have the luxury of choosing the searches we take. As part of my decision making process, I’ll ask myself “Would I invest my own money in the client’s business?” In Best Bully Sticks’ case, this is not a hypothetical question given the huge number of stock options that will be awarded as part of this position’s compensation package.

Bullish on BBS

Best Bully Sticks, which manufactures and markets all natural treats and chews for dogs, has fantastic underlying economics improved by the fact that so many parts of its business model are impossible to duplicate without directly competing with the company. Amazon, for example, could compete with BBS only to the extent that it was willing to operate a further processing plant and import its own raw materials. Having spent the 1990s as a frozen food trader, I am well acquainted with the slings and arrows of beef importing. So many ways to lose money!

Whoever takes this job needn’t lose sleep over direct competition from Amazon. In fact, Amazon has contacted BBS several times about supplying it with product.

Amazon’s enthusiasm is understandable.

The US pet and pet supply store industry includes about 18,800 stores with combined annual revenue of about $12 billion and is forecast to grow at a high rate in the next two years. The number of households in the US that own a pet is at a record high and continues to increase; four-out-of-10 pet owning households own multiple pets, and many people spoil their pets on a regular basis. Key industry drivers of growth include increasing income levels, as well as a trend toward pet humanization, or treating pets like family members.

Furthermore, recent quality problems involving BBS’ Chinese competitors have given Chinese suppliers a bad reputation: Responding to more than 2,000 complaints from dog and cat owners, the FDA has issued multiple warnings to pet owners about the potential life threatening dangers of China-sourced jerky treats. China is the largest foreign supplier of dog and cat foods to the US, and imports from China have grown rapidly over the last half decade.

BBS was founded in 2008 by Avrum and Lauren Elmakis in their basement. No business plan. No market research. The Elmakises had been making bully sticks for their own dogs when Avrum began to sell the product on Ebay. When demand for the product took off, Avrum invested the couples’ 401k’s in the business. The rest is history. To this day, much of BBS’ growth has been fueled by repeat business and word-of-mouth “marketing” from thrilled customers.

Today, with $19 million in total revenue, Best Bully Sticks is listed in the Inc. 500. Its strengths include a strong brand, a proprietary recipe, a well-developed base of suppliers, an extremely strong supply chain, and a sharply defined, reachable market of affluent, replenishment oriented buyers.

And here’s something else to chew on …

BBS has a new 87,000 square foot facility and two large beef plants under contract in South America. The firm is not constrained in terms of its ability to source the product, nor is it constrained in terms of its capacity to store and handle it. Moreover, the company is well funded, having recently closed on a first round of venture funding which valued BBS well.

About the role:

There are four ways to grow any business: 1.) Selling existing products to existing customers; 2.) Selling existing products to new customers; 3.) Selling new products to existing customers; and 4.) Selling new products to new customers. BBS’ ecom business will be yours to grow any way that hits the numbers.

BT DUBS: You can hit the numbers with some smart blocking and tackling in customer acquisition, content creation, online merchandising, database marketing / list segmentation, and conversion rate optimization. All of BBS’ KPIs are in fantastic shape, and its conversion rate is one of the highest I have encountered. Additionally, I have an extraordinary amount of intel on BBS’ activities in affiliate marketing, online marketplaces, CRM, online merchandising, SEO, SEM, and social media.

Hit me up for that information.

The folks at BBS are smart, business-oriented, extremely nice people who have a proprietary product being sold to a rabid niche. Every once in a while I’ll take a search and think to myself “If I weren’t an ecommerce recruiter, I would take this job myself.” This is one of those jobs.


  • Driving traffic to internet sites through, search engines, keywords, banner placements and other appropriate placements.
  • Building business by digital word of mouth marketing, consumer awareness, and promotions.
  • Oversight of all online marketing budget, ROI justification and team management
  • Management of email marketing (list development and management, campaign development and implementation, content strategy, contact strategy, and promotional calendar)
  • Creation of a segmentation strategy for email that maximizes life cycle of customers – increase 2nd order rate, grow email database
  • Identifying and filling gaps in the online assortment that is complimentary and incremental to the business.
  • Partnering with other functional areas in strategic development, planning, coordination, and execution of ecom initiatives
  • Development of performance metrics and assesses the effectiveness of
  • Managing delivery of all creative assets for copy and visual design for new customer-facing web site features.
  • Ensuring that creative elements maintain brand integrity.
  • Leveraging available site metrics to analyze feature performance to recommend appropriate adjustments and future enhancements.
  • Driving SEM strategies and optimization (keyword expansion; ad copy, ad grouping, landing page optimization; testing; analysis)
  • Managing search engine optimization campaigns
  • Researching, identifying and establishing partnerships with websites for link-building
  • Executing ad copy, bid strategies, and keyword expansion for PPC campaigns
  • Developing and executing strategies to grow affiliate, comparison shopping, retargeting and email marketing programs with a focus on ROI and customer acquisition metrics
  • Coordinate email marketing campaigns to ensure distribution growth
  • Manage partnerships with 3rd party vendors Implement testing strategies to continually uncover optimization levers, enhance learning, and improve performance
  • Keeping up to date on new online marketing trends/practices and continually analyze and leverage the opportunities for growing organic traffic
  • Growing BestBullySticks’ keyword portfolio by figuring out how to scale and manage a program with potentially millions of keywords and finding new search venues to advertise in
  • Optimizing keywords portfolio through testing with ad copy, landing pages, bidding strategies, negative keywording, etc.
  • Tracking, reporting, and analyzing our PPC initiatives and campaigns, including understanding attribution analysis and impact of lifetime value
  • Growing non-affiliate comparison shopping engines such as Pricegrabber and Google Product Search.
  • Creating / leading an overarching strategy for social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Blog) and provide basic customer service when necessary
  • Researching and implementing new acquisition marketing tactics and vendor partnerships


  • 5+ years experience in web environment; 3-5 years experience in retail operations capacity, preferably with a multi-channel retailer (with management experience).
  • Deep knowledge of Ecommerce operations and thorough familiarity with the online space.
  • Experience designing online customer experiences.
  • Proven experience in creating effective teamwork and an environment conducive to developing cross-functional collaboration
  • Self-learner and a passion for search engine marketing.
  • Experience managing PPC campaigns across Google, Yahoo, and MSN.
  • Analytical Experience
  • Expert knowledge of performance marketing, conversion, and online customer acquisition strategies.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Excel. You should love spreadsheets and lots of data.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously, work within a marketing team, and work with other departments in a matrix environment.
  • Excellent verbal and written skills. Detail oriented. Supportive of co-workers.
  • Knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Expert with web analytics tools such as Google Analytics, Coremetrics, etc.
  • College degree (MBA a plus)


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