Loni and duck
February 12, 2021

A doggone good job

Combining pets with marketing, Loni Edwards ’02 is on the leading edge of a niche business
by Nancy Hitchcock

Every day is a surprise for Loni Edwards ’02—she could be working with dogs, ducks, pigs, toads, or even hedgehogs! She could be contacted by Netflix, Disney, Amazon, or Google. Or, she could be asked if she wants to write a book about her experience.

Edwards launched The Dog Agency (TDA), a talent management and marketing agency for animal influencers, in 2015. When a brand such as Swiffer contacts TDA, the agency provides advice on what kind of pet the company should use for advertising and brand awareness; creative ideas on the type of content, such as static images, stories, or videos; and what social platforms the company should use—Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or others.

For the past six years, Edwards has represented hundreds of internet-famous animals, some of whom have amassed millions of followers.

For one marketing campaign, Chloe, a miniature French bulldog wearing a crisp white bib at an outdoor dining table, is ready to indulge in a chef-prepared meal at a beautiful Ritz-Carlton property to promote its pet-friendly philosophy. In another ad, Kenzie the cavapoo wears pink silk pj’s while on a bed with a tray of breakfast delights modeling for Hotels.com. For a recent Netflix promotion of Space Force, a goldendoodle sports a space cape while proudly staring off into space.

“It’s the best job in the entire world,” says Edwards. “I'm working with pets all day long, which is incredible, and I’m working with brands that I admire. We create content, come up with creative ideas for marketing campaigns, and it’s all done with these adorable pets that spread joy around the world.”

Edwards didn’t always know she’d be working with pet influencers. After graduating from PA and Cornell, she went to Harvard Law and ended up at a large law firm in Los Angeles.

However, when she arrived at what she thought was her dream career, she realized that entrepreneurship was more her style.

Edwards moved to New York City in 2011 and shortly thereafter started a fashion tech company, emPowered, that combined handbags with phone-charging capabilities. But just as she was licensing the utility patent for her company, she noticed that her dog, Chloe, was gaining a lot of attention on Instagram. Companies were starting to send her their products to promote, and other pet owners started asking her legal questions—about contracts, for instance. From there, TDA was born.

As Edwards continues to grow TDA, she has also branched out into another aspect of the business. Created in 2017, PetCon offers businesses, consumers, and pet-lovers an in-person experience to meet celebrity pets and the brands they represent.

Building community is key for Edwards, and it is a value she says was affirmed during her time at Andover.

Edwards appreciates that the Academy challenged her not just through academics, but also by providing opportunities to meet people from around the world, the tools to be prepared, creative outlets, and independence.

“Andover was my first strong community, one filled with supportive, diverse, brilliant, and inspiring people, and it is still the one I turn to the most,” she says. “I got my first job out of college by reaching out to an Andover alum. My closest friends to this day are ones I met at Andover, including Brit Holten ’02, who came in as a new lower like me, and Lauren Henderson ’00 and Raleigh Elizabeth Smith ’00, who were like my big sisters in Paul Revere.”

“When I started splitting my time between NYC and Chicago in 2019 and didn’t have friends in Chicago, the first thing I did was go to an Andover event to build a Chicago community. I most recently befriended Ross Driver ’61 at the Apple Store in Grand Central NYC because he was carrying an Andover tote bag and I couldn’t help but run up to him!”

The Andover bond is an everlasting one. It's the community that carries through.

Loni Edwards '02 Founder, The Dog Agency

Categories: Alumni, Magazine, Magazine Online

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