Small Business Spotlight: PoogoStick

Who: Jordan Buhagiar

What: A device that makes it easier to clean up after pets

When: 2006

Where: Sacramento, CA

How: Co-founder Jordan Buhagiar says his father, who he refers to as a “Mr. Fix-It” type, created an early version of the PoogoStick, which was a stick with nails in it, creating a fork for scooping up after pets.

“We used that growing up, and I came back from college and started working on a prototype in the garage,” says Buhagiar.

He says the PoogoStick is based on a three-step process, in which users squeeze the handle to scoop animal waste, then release it into the pan that comes with the stick.

“The concept is pretty simple,” says Buhagiar.

Biggest challenge: Buhagiar says learning how to take the product from concept to market was challenging, especially for first-time entrepreneurs.

One moment in time: At a trade show in Las Vegas, Buhagiar got the attention of a couple of PetSmart VPs, who liked the concept. “They gave us the golden ticket and put us in an environment similar to SharkTank, where we pitched our product,” says Buhagiar. A few days later, the team got the call asking if they would like to sell the PoogoStick in 1,300 PetSmart stores around the country.

Best business advice: “You’re going to run into hurdles on the way. Don’t look back, just get up,” says Buhagiar.

Follow Gabrielle Karol on Twitter @GabrielleKarol