Worldwise has become one of the country’s largest retailers of pet products with their recent acquisition of a few major brands. The company is based in San Rafael, California, but they have plans to expand to Novato this fall. The company turned 25 this year and has decided to relocate its 18,500 square feet of space.
Worldwise began in Aaron Lanstein’s garage in 1990. Lanstein started the project with co-founders Debra Lynn and Phil Genet to make environmentally responsible products for pets. Obviously, the operation has grown considerably since then, including two buyouts by private equity funds. The first was The CapStreet Group in 2005 and then Mistral Equity Partners in 2011.
Worldwise currently employs 53 people and this move will give them the space to add more. Kevin Fick, Worldwise CEO and pictured above, says that the company is growing both organically and through acquisitions. He believes there is no limit to the amount of growth that the future holds for Worldwise.
In May, the pet product company merged with Quaker Pet Group, a Denver-based company. Their product lines include Sherpa carriers, Hear Doggy toys, goDog beds, Fox & Hound fashion dog collars, and Guaranteed On-Board program for precertification of pet carriers with airlines. Operations for all of those brands have been consolidated to San Rafael, but the product-development and design team, led by the founders of Quaker Pet Group, still remains in Denver.
The terms of the deal were never revealed, but according to the company, the merger made Worldwise the sixth-largest pet accessory supplier for U.S. pet products. The company underwent another major change last year when they rebranded their three largest lines and added the licensed line Kathy Ireland Loved Ones.
Worldwise will not disclose revenue, but sales of their products at major retailers like PetSmart, Wal-Mart, Petco, Target, Ross, Pet Food Express, Home Goods, and TJ Maxx top $200 million annually. No matter how much they make, the environmental focus of the company is still the same as it was when it started in Aaron Lanstein’s basement 25 years ago.
Worldwise products are made principally from reclaimed, recycled, renewable, and certified organic resources. At a company plant in Texas, Worldwise uses recycled plastic and memory foam from mattresses to make filling for their pet beds. Their goal is to change pet owners’ expectations about the feel, look, price, and performance of environmentally responsible products.