Amber: Hi I’m Amber Ambrose and this is The BusinessMakers and today my guest is Jay Drayer of PrizedPals.com, welcome to the show Jay.
Jay: Thank you, good to be here.
Amber: Yeah, I’m glad you’re here. So Jay tell me, what is PrizedPals.com?
Jay: PrizedPals is an organization headquartered in Austin but we work with providers nationwide that offers a solution called a CareCorral which is a web tool that’s created and run by a family that has components built into it that enables friends and loved ones to become more naturally engaged around a family with a pet who’s healing or aging, maybe living with a chronic illness or something like that or even in regards to end of life.
Amber: And you say corral, what does that mean exactly?
Jay: The care corral is, as I say it’s a web tool that has a number of components built into it; one being a blog, one being a storytelling tool and interactive calendar and a crowd funding capability, all kind of integrated along with some other items into a private, invitation only place that a family can send to engage their loved ones around the journey that they’re on with them and their pet.
Amber: So you have a model that’s a little bit different because it sounds almost like it’s a nonprofit but you are a business; explain to me what your model is.
Jay: Well we offer a branded version of the CareCorrals which we brand to organizations that range from Veterinary hospitals to Veterinary pet health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies and a whole wide range of organizations that orbit pet families and their pets.
Amber: And why did you decide to go that route rather than selling ads traditionally?
Jay: Well we were certainly open to exploring the ad approach and it works great for other organizations, but our volume and the way that we engage people around what’s going on doesn’t support that type of a model.
Amber: And I know that today people are a little more savvy about their advertising so why do you think this is an important route to go for your particular brands that you have brought onboard?
Jay: Well the great reason is the fact that we enable a hospital or any of these other industries that I was describing to touch the friends and loved ones around their client, their family that they’re providing care for, in ways that enable them to leverage the human/animal bond and how they’re creating quality of life together, along with our tool, to help more correlate their brand through the good will that they’re creating than them just telling people over and over again who they are and what they do.
Amber: What do your I guess sponsors for lack of a better word – or your partners perhaps – what do they say about the model and what are some of the positive things they’ve been coming out with?
Jay: Well the great thing that we’ve seen happen that we didn’t anticipate when we launched PrizedPals, which has only been about 6 months ago now, was the fact that not only are people creating CareCorrals around their pets but likewise around other animals that may not be healing or ailing or anything along those lines. I mean we’ve seen people create CaringCorrals around giraffes in zoos where it’s created by a scout troop, around all sorts of different circumstances. I mean there’s a family that has a CareCorral around a horse that runs around and they ride in Time Square in the middle of Manhattan.
Amber: And speaking of pet families and also getting into the human component, you have another company that is a similar model but for people, is that correct?
Jay: That’s exactly right. In 2005 I started an organization called CareFlash.com. And CareFlash is synonymous with PrizedPals except for it doesn’t offer a CareCorral, it offers a Careopolis. And the Careopolis likewise has components built into it that enable friends and loved ones to become more naturally part of the journey around a family member.
Amber: So what did you learn at CareFlash.com that you were able to bring over to PrizedPals.com?
Jay: Well there’s a couple of things, one being in the user experience. I mean the improvements, the enhancements that we’ve continued to make to the Careopolises over time, have been driven by watching people’s behavior helps become more part of the answer for a family and less part of the challenge. And by that I mean helping enhance the dialogs that so frequently never get had. As well as an interactive calendar that helps loved ones go past the proverbial casserole to become really part of the support fabric of a family who’s going back and forth to the hospital and there’s a lot of moving parts around therapies and measuring blood pressure and blood sugar and things, as well as leveraging storytelling to help improve outlook and optimism. And so these are things that we’ve learned in just watching user behavior and listening to people around the world who talk to us about how they’re using the Careopolises.
Amber: Sure, that makes sense and I know you’ve learned not just about business but about problems within some of the industries that you’re working with now. You mentioned something before we started the interview about veterinarians and a high suicide rate; what is going on there and what do you plan to do about it?
Jay: Well, so now that PrizedPals is rolling out well across the country we’re embarking on our newest approach which is going to be branded VetHug.com and this is not something where we’re intentionally working to create pity in the eyes of the public because people don’t want to pity people and people don’t want to be pitied. However we have embraced this reality, this difficult phenomena that’s happening so pervasively throughout society, where veterinarians are more prone to suicide than any other health career path.
Amber: That’s a very interesting and scary and sad fact and why don’t you think more people know about it?
Jay: Well I think beyond the stigma aspect, which is significant, the industry has not been forthcoming with communicating it because who wants to either be seen as being pitied or pitying someone. And so I think there’s a number of complex reasons but it’s not just limited to any one sex or age group; I mean it’s pretty uniform throughout the…
Amber: It’s widespread.
Amber: Okay, well it sounds like you are doing something about it or tackling it with VetHug.com so we’re looking forward to seeing where that goes (Jay: thank you). But thank you so much for joining us today and we really appreciate is Jay.
Jay: Appreciate you taking the time, thank you.
Amber: And that wraps up my discussion with Jay Drayer of PrizedPals.com and this is The BusinessMakers Show.
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