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This woman can make your pet famous – and make you rich in the process.
Loni Edwards runs The Dog Agency, the first pet-focused marketing company representing Insta-famous animals.
And now the former lawyer has written a book revealing the secrets to making your pet a social media sensation.
Her clients include fashion icon Tika the Iggy, an Italian greyhound who had her own collection with high street store Zara, Crusoe the celebrity dachshund who launched his own range of dog ramps and cuddly pals Harlow and Sage.
But it’s not just limited to dogs, with cats, hedgehogs, pigs, ducks, a rabbit called Queen Blanco and even a toad titled Toby all making big bucks thanks to Loni’s help.
The Harvard law graduate switched to the world of “petfluencing” in 2013 when she started an Instagram account for her mini French bulldog Chloe.
It proved a hit and Loni soon realised there was a growing appetite for animals on Instagram.
With her law background, other petfluencers sought her out and, in 2015, she launched The Dog Agency.
Since then she has negotiated big-money deals for her clients, which sees the most popular rake in more than £10,000 per piece of content and six-figure salaries each year.
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Loni says: “Tika the Iggy has done really well over the past year for her fashion. She has a couple of million followers and I want everything she has. I want all of her clothes.
“She had a collection with Zara that was in stores all around the world, which was incredible. It sold out.
“She’s worked with Valentino and Fendi and Rolls-Royce – the list goes on.
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“Crusoe the celebrity dachshund is also super-famous.
“With Toby the toad, the mum has all these dollhouses so she creates sets for Toby. He’s big on TikTok. He might be sitting next to a little washing machine his size doing laundry, in the bathroom getting ready or laying in bed.
“It’s just so creative, innovative, and unique and that’s why Toby is so successful.”
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So how can you make your dog famous? Well, it’s not just down to cuteness. You have to have an idea, build a brand and be prepared to work hard.
First, make sure it’s the right move for you and your pet. “Do you have the time to commit?” says Loni. “Does your pet like posing for photos and videos – are they having fun too?”
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Next, work out what your brand is going to be and the type of content you want to create. Loni adds: “Do they like getting dressed up? If so, maybe you go towards fashion. Are they crazy and have funny expressions? Lean into that.
“It can go in a million different directions but just having some kind of brand that people want to see more of is what results in success.
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“It’s a mix of what you like, what works for your pet, and what they enjoy being part of.
“Picking content about something you’re passionate about is ideal because then you won’t get bored and it won’t be like work. If it’s fun for you that’s going to come through on the content.
“You want to be different and come up with your own angle so you stand out.”
Then the hard graft starts. “People don’t realise how much work goes into it,” says Loni. “Coming up with the brand, coming up with the creative ideas, shooting the content – the photos, the videos – coming up with the captions.
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“Creating good content is important – figuring out how to shoot great photos, how to edit the photos, paying attention to things like lighting and backgrounds, if you’re doing videos then knowing how to edit them, figuring out what your concept and storyline is for the video.”
It’s also important to build a community online – that means replying to people’s comments and direct messages, and following other accounts. Let people know you are listening and care about what you have to say.
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Then it’s about being discovered – which can be through bigger accounts sharing your pet, working with other influencers or getting press.
New York-based Loni, who now has a French bulldog called Emma after Chloe died in 2017, will step in when a pet gets to about 50,000 followers and take over the business side, negotiating commercial deals and partnerships and helping them build a business.
And the rewards can be immense. “There’s multiple revenue streams,” explains Loni. “There’s the branded ads and sponsored posts, which is the bread and butter of the industry.
“Then influencers have merchandise lines, book deals, calendars, product lines, so it can really go in different directions.
“An influencer with 100,000 followers can earn £1,500 per post and the ones with a million-plus can earn between £7,000 and £11,000 per piece of content.
“They do a lot of these, so it is a very lucrative industry to be in and it’s fun because you get to work with your best friend.”
●Loni’s book How To Make Your Dog #Famous, from Laurence King Publishing, is out now, priced £12.99.
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