Success Story - Shelly Phillip - Skedadder
Solving problems can turn into an opportunity.
Greenhouse owner and gardener, Shelly Phillip’s solution to a nasty problem, led her to a new opportunity as an entrepreneur. A persistent problem of cats in her and customer’s gardens resulted in the development of a natural repellent product that she is now rolling out to the wider marketplace.
Her mission was simple – to develop a product that would deter cats from property-destructive behaviour without causing any harm to the cats, people or the environment. Skedadder is made from natural, plant based materials and essential oils. It is biodegradable and lasts 45 – 60 days before reapplication is needed and it does not have to be reapplied after a rain. The population of feral cats in Edmonton is now between 60,000 – 70,000 and is growing. It is similar in other communities and becoming a problem in need of a solution.
Shelley has operated Gardener’s Junction at Cold Lake, Alberta for 18 years. The concept of the repellent began in 2015 and evolved to its current formula. The repellant lasts twice as long as the comparable products and is effective through the cold winter months. Development of the product included rigorous testing, both scientific and consumer.
The process of product development was a new one for the business owner. Support from Startup Lloydminster and Alberta Innovates (AI) and the staff of Holly Andony, Wendy Plandowski and Kara Johnston was extremely important. It allowed her to prepare for the National Pet Industry Show last September in Mississauga, Ontario. She needed a logo, marketing materials and to register for patents and trademarks in Canada and the U.S. Shelley says without the funding through the Alberta Entrepreneurship Incubator program, facilitated by AI and Startup Lloydminster there is no way she would have got the ground work done to attend the trade show. “It was a very important step and the timing was crucial to get into the marketplace,” she says.
“There was a lot of interest from distributors and large pet store chains,” she adds. Recently, she was able to sign an agreement with a Canadian pet distributor, and is working with another one based on the prairies. This is a huge step to moving forward.
Entrepreneur in Residence at Startup Lloydminster, Wendy Plandowski says, “It was a pleasure to work with Shelley on her very innovative pet deterrent - Skedadder! We were pleased that Alberta Innovates also recognized this unique product to be worthy of a voucher through the Alberta Entrepreneurship Incubator program. Startup Lloydminster works with many entrepreneurs who are driven by fantastic ideas, strong work ethic and business acumen. Shelley is certainly no stranger to the aforementioned qualities and her drive to succeed has made her a pleasure to work with. Fortunately with technology, we were able to support Shelley from our Lloydminster office, and ensure that our regional innovators have a conduit to the great supports that are provided through Regional Innovation Networks and provincial entrepreneurial ecosystem."
Skedadder is now available in a few gardening stores in the Edmonton area - Apache Seeds, Coleman Greenhouse, Salisbury Greenhouse, Blue Huron Greenhouse and Mar-Wes in Edson. Manufacturing of the natural product is just outside of Edmonton. The location is important because the experts and consultants Shelley is working with are all based in Edmonton. Shelley is working on finalizing two patents and applying for an international one.
A friend recently sent a picture of Skedadder on shelves in an Edmonton store. “Seeing that picture is one of the most rewarding things that has happened,” she says.