Today we’d like to introduce you to Lori Gammon-Megginson.
Hi Lori, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I have always loved animals, specifically dogs. When I was little, I wanted to be a vet. I read the entire series of All Creatures Great and Small, which was a 5 book series. I was always bringing home stray dogs and cats. I also would bring home frogs and lizards. My mother was not amused. Every time she turned around there was a new stray.
My final career choice was to be a Registered Nurse. I received my BS in Nursing, focused on Pediatrics, and worked in this field for almost 30 years. In 2001, I rescued a very neglected Bulldog puppy from a terrible situation. I had just gotten separated from my first husband and this little guy, whom I named Ike, was my world. I had no children and I was focused on getting this cute little guy healthy. I had him for 14 years. He passed away in 2014.
During the last years of Ike’s life, I began to incorporate a more holistic approach to Ike’s care. It was at this point that I became increasingly aware of the chemicals and toxins that were in Ike’s ” top of the line” food and even his pet products. I researched everything I could about Dog Foods and pet products. I was shocked to find so many pet food companies with recalls on pet food. I was even more surprised to see so many chemicals in pet products that were labeled as “All-Natural,” “Non-Toxic,” and ” Safe” for dogs. Which in reality were far from being all natural, non toxic and safe for Dogs.
Ike’s death had a huge impact on my life. After his death, I began researching more alternative healthcare options for pets, which included animal aromatherapy, the use of essential oils, and canine massage. I knew the best way to honor Ike was to share my knowledge with other pet parents and The Peaceful Paw was born.
I decided that after working in the healthcare field for almost 30 years it was time for a career change, a life change. I became certified in Animal Aromatherapy through Ashi Holistic Center in Banner Elk, NC, and trained at the Pet massage Training and Research Institute in Toledo, OH where I became certified as a Pet massage Practitioner.
I wanted to create a truly all-natural line of pet grooming products, that were nontoxic, and contained 100% safe ingredients for dogs, with no harsh preservatives, chemicals or dangerous essential oils that are NOT meant for animals. My training and certification in Animal Aromatherapy led me to create the Peaceful Paw product line. This came to fruition in 2016.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
I would not say smooth. I would say it has been a learning experience for sure. I made recipes and trashed recipes, time and time again until I perfected one product.
I have 5 products in my line so it took me almost 2 years, to finally curate my recipes and get approval for my ingredients. The next step was to develop my logo and my labels, and promote my brand. If anyone tells you it is easy owning your own business, don’t believe it! It is very time consuming and as a small business owner, you are responsible for everything. It’s very difficult when you go from having a steady income to not having a steady income. I had to succeed, but that was the easy part. I knew I was creating quality, safe, natural products for dogs. I handcraft every product. Nothing is mass-produced. I follow the NAHA ( National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy) guidelines for the safe use for animals. This is my passion. This is Ike’s legacy.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
As I stated earlier, I was a registered nurse in pediatrics for almost 30 years. I am a nurturer by nature and nursing was the perfect career for me. I can’t say it was always pleasant, but at the end of the day, I knew I was helping and bringing love and care to a child’s life, and a family’s life. No matter the outcome of the circumstance.
Whether it was a terminal situation or not, I loved being part of the care and treatment. That is why developing this product line for Dogs, was so important to me. Educating the public on safe practices and dog-safe ingredients and exposing the bad ingredients that are in so many of our pet products. This is what I am most proud of. I think what sets me apart from other companies that manufacture pet products is that I am certified and educated on what is and is not safe. I care about the safety and efficacy, not just the bottom line profit margin, and sadly, for big-box companies and mass-produced products, that is what you get “Show me the money” I say “Show me the ingredients. Show me the safe use guidelines”.
What makes you happy?
That is a broad question. My dogs make me happy. My husband makes me happy. My stepchildren make me happy( most of the time) My entire family makes me happy. My business makes me happy. Sunsets, rain, thunder and the beach make me happy.
Why do these things make me happy? Because to me, these are things I LOVE and LOVE makes me happy
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