June 9, 2012 in Business

Back-seat stickers

Media agency duo create Passenger Pets
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Dan Pelle photoBuy this photo

Tyler Lafferty, left, and Nick Murto are branching out into an entrepreneurial experiment, a business called Passenger Pets that lets animal lovers have realistic images of dogs and cats on their car windows.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

The guys behind Spokane media agency Seven2 are branching out, testing an entrepreneurial experiment.

With photos of pets – of dogs or cats that attach to car or truck windows.

Nick Murto and Tyler Lafferty, the principals at Seven2, have launched Passenger Pets.

For $20, customers get to choose an image from among eight dog breeds and two cat breeds. The images are printed on slick clear sheets that cling to interior vehicle windows.

For safety, the images are meant to be attached to a side rear window.

“I got excited about having a physical product,” said Murto. “Everything we’ve done to date has been services (to others).

“It was time to get behind our own product.”

Starting next week the first batch of dog and cat images will be available through Amazon.com.

Instead of having to start a shipping and fulfillment center here, the pair opted to use Amazon. It will ship orders from an Indiana warehouse.

Using Amazon should help reach more customers as well, Lafferty said. “People have a lot of confidence and trust in Amazon,” he said.

The eight dogs chosen cover six of the most popular breeds plus two all-American mutts. Photos are actually about half-life-size, featuring the dog’s or cat’s head and shoulders.

The first and most likely customers, Murto said, would be women in the boomer range and up. “Our research suggests the demographic skews older, maybe covering people like my mom or aunt,” he said.

Murto had the idea about a year ago while looking online at a photo shoot that featured live dogs inside cars. “I thought, ‘Hey, it’s too bad they are sad-looking.’ ”

The idea evolved from there, leading him to find a way to place happy faces inside pet lovers’ vehicles.

They bought the pet portraits from iStockPhoto and then went to Ross Printing on East Sprague Avenue to produce the company’s first 5,000 images.

Producing a prototype, buying image rights and printing the window clings has come to about $15,000, Murto said. They researched the window-sticker market and found other companies have developed all kinds of stickers, including images of pets. But Murto said they didn’t find what they’re doing: producing large, realistic dog or cat photos.

They later would like to produce images of customers’ real pets. “We’re moving toward that. Once we’ve sold enough of the first group of Passenger Pets, we’d like to look for ways to let people produce their own (images),” Murto said.

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