Ol’ Dan and Lil’ Ann brings quality cosmetics to dogs
Haley McDonald likes dogs.
"Dogs and babies," McDonald said. "I grew up with dogs, they’re awesome. Human beings love taking care of something, and they love the love you get back from dogs."
That’s why she also loves to wash her canine friends.
"It’s a chore, but dogs are so grateful after a wash," McDonald said.
However, there has never been a product she was satisfied with to clean her pooch. She bought dog shampoo and she didn’t like the smell and the dried up flaky skin it caused her dogs to experience.
"So, I used my own shampoo and conditioner," she said.
But, while her human shampoo worked better for the dog’s skin and hair, she didn’t want her dog to smell like "perfume," and McDonald still wanted to use a product that included the right ingredients to suit a dog’s hide and fur needs.
"I wondered," she said, "Why don’t they make a dog shampoo as good as a people shampoo?"
So, using her engineering and chemistry background, she went to work on finding a solution. For more than a year, she formulated a high-end dog shampoo. Last April, her product "Ol’ Dan and Lil’ Ann" became available to consumers.
Her product is featured in various pet stores throughout Park City, Calif. Atlanta and New York, and will be featured in gift bags delivered to celebrities in the Shadow Ridge Gifting Chateau during the Sundance Film Festival.
"Hopefully, it will get more attention on the national scene with celebrities and national magazines coming through," McDonald said.
McDonald named her product after the canine characters in the book "Where the Red Fern Grows." She read the book in fifth grade and says it had a huge impact on her. She loved the lessons that could be learned from that novel and she hopes that something from it will carry over into her product.
"You can’t go wrong by doing right," McDonald said.
There were more complications making the product than McDonald thought when she began almost two years ago. She went to Mort Westman, a chemist who develops similar products.
"He is one of the best cosmetology formulators," McDonald said. "He has done every high-end cosmetic shampoo."
McDonald "called the people shampoo and finally met Mort." Then she had to fly out to convince Westman to help produce this product, and that was only the start of McDonald’s experience with dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s.
"It’s unbelievable how many rules and regulations there are," McDonald said who also personally financed the whole project.
Not only did she have to deal with making a formula with the correct PH for dogs that creates a shiny coat and soft skin, but the product also had to include chemicals to inhibit it from freezing during transportation and prevent the growth of fungus and bacteria.
McDonald also had to pick a bottle, and once she found a bottle she liked, she couldn’t find a cap to fit it. She had to develop a trademark for her name and a website. She found a label but it took a long time to make sure it didn’t peel off the bottle.
"Stupid stuff," McDonald said. "It takes months."
While developing her product and including the finishing touches, it didn’t help that she was pregnant and had a baby boy, Cooper, last July.
"It’s tough to have a baby and a product born at the same time," Cooper said. "My husband thinks I’m absolutely out of my mind, but without his support, I couldn’t do it."
The shampoo has a pleasant scent from mountain savory and sage essential oils. McDonald says the product is gentle on sensitive skin and it makes the "dogs look amazing."
"There’s that much difference," McDonald said "It makes them soft. I use it on myself and I use it on my two-year-old, that’s how gentle it is."
McDonald said it even helps long-haired dogs have smoother coats.
"If you wash a golden retriever, people will rub their hands through their coat without any knots," McDonald said.
Cindi Whitehead, a customer from California who bought the product on the Internet has become a devoted follower of the shampoo.
"I love the fact that it has a fresh clean scent rather than a perfume scent like most dog shampoos on the market," Whitehead said. "I also like how a little goes a long way and the fact that it cleans my dogs and conditions them in one step.
"Most of all, my dogs love it," Whitehead continued, "they used to try and rub the smell off from other shampoos as soon as they got done getting bathed. They don’t do this anymore which makes all of us happy."
"All I have to do is get someone to use it and they love it," McDonald said.
McDonald suggests most dogs should have a bath once a month, depending on their activity level. Many dogs in Park City, she says, may be jumping around in ponds and during the winter "get a lot of gunk on them."
"Use quality ingredients and take the time to wash your dog," McDonald said. "Do what’s best for them."
For more information on Ol’ Dan and Lil’ Ann, visit http://www.oldanlilann.com.
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