PetSmart donates $25,000 and all puppy essentials to America’s VetDogs to support NBC’s TODAY “Puppy with a Purpose”

PHOENIX and NEW YORK CITY, 2016-Aug-24 — /EPR Retail News/ —North America’s leading pet specialty retailer, PetSmart, and America’s beloved national morning show, NBC’s TODAY, has announced their collaboration on “Puppy with a Purpose,” TODAY’s 16-month series where a puppy is raised and trained to serve those in need and his progress is featured as part of the daily show.

The pet-centric content series on TODAY was launched last year with “Wrangler,” who went on to be a guide dog. This year, the “Puppy with a Purpose” is a two-month-old male black lab who will be trained by America’s VetDogs to serve as a service animal for a disabled military veteran. Yesterday, the puppy’s name was chosen through national online voting and revealed this morning. Charlie is the winner!

As part of the collaboration, PetSmart has donated $25,000 to America’s VetDogs, TODAY’s partner that provides custom-trained service dogs to veterans and first responders with disabilities. PetSmart has also outfitted the puppy’s in-studio home on TODAY and delivered all the puppy essentials Olivia Poff, the dog’s raiser, will need for the puppy’s first life stage. PetSmart will continue to provide pet supplies as Charlie matures, and will also support the “Puppy with a Purpose” series with expert resources including tips on puppy care, safety, grooming and ways to include pets in celebrations.

“Last year, we watched Wrangler every step of the way as he flourished into an amazing guide dog and we just knew we wanted to join in and support this important work on TODAY,” said Eran Cohen, chief customer experience officer, PetSmart. “We love pets and we know they make us better people, and the value of a service dog to a person in need is even more crucial to that person’s quality of life. We are proud to support this program and look forward to watching Charlie develop into a loyal and caring companion to a chosen military veteran in about 16 months.”

Aligned with the American theme for a dog serving a military vet, PetSmart chose several puppy essentials for Charlie and his trainer, Poff, including a comfy cuddler bed, sized perfectly for the new puppy stage; a monogrammed cozy fleece blanket; feeding bowls; red and blue collars, comfort harnesses and leashes; crate set-up including mattress insert; a range of puppy toys across the chew, active, cuddle and puzzle categories; at-home grooming supplies from iconic human brands, Burt’s Bees and CHI, which is exclusively available at PetSmart; and puppy solutions like flea & tick treatments and multi-vitamins.

Tune in to TODAY’s “Puppy with a Purpose” every weekday and watch as PetSmart continues to support Charlie. Check out our puppy product collection at www.petsmart.com/todaypuppy.

About PetSmart
PetSmart, Inc. is the largest specialty pet retailer of services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets. At PetSmart, we love pets, and we believe pets make us better people. Every day with every connection, PetSmart’s passionate associates help bring pet parents closer to their pets so they can live more fulfilled lives. This vision impacts everything we do for our customers, the way we support our associates and how we give back to our communities. We employ approximately 53,000 associates, operate 1,466 pet stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico and 203 in-storePetSmart® PetsHotel® dog and cat boarding facilities. PetSmart provides a broad range of competitively priced pet food and pet products and offers dog training, pet grooming, pet boarding, PetSmart Doggie Day Camp day care services and pet adoption services in-store. Our portfolio of digital resources for pet parents – including PetSmart.com, PetFoodDirect.com, Pet360.comand petMD.com – offers the most comprehensive online pet supplies and pet care information in the U.S. Through our in-store pet adoption partnership with independent nonprofit organizations, PetSmart Charities® and PetSmart Charities™ of Canada, PetSmart helps to save the lives of more than 500,000 homeless pets each year.

Follow PetSmart on Twitter: @PetSmart
Find PetSmart on Facebook: www.facebook.com/PetSmart
See PetSmart on YouTube: www.YouTube.com/PetSmart

ABOUT America’s VetDogs
Since 2003, America’s VetDogs (www.VetDogs.org) has trained and placed guide and service dogs to provide independence, enhanced mobility, and companionship to veterans with disabilities from all eras. In 2015, VetDogs opened its programs to first responders, including fire, police, and emergency medical personnel.  America’s VetDogs is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded by the Guide Dog Foundation. VetDogs relies on contributions from generous individuals, corporations, service clubs, and foundations to fund its mission to help those who have served our country live with dignity and independence. It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog, but America’s VetDogs provides its services completely free of charge to the individual.

Contacts:
Golin for PetSmart Inc.:
Danielle Bickelmann
dbickelmann@golin.com
469-680-2503

PetSmart Media Line: 623-587-2177

Source: PetSmart Inc.

QVC, NBC’s TODAY in the 2nd year for a country-wide search for “Mompreneurs”

WEST CHESTER, Pa., 2016-Apr-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Calling all moms with a money-making invention! For the second year, QVC is collaborating with NBC’s TODAY to discover the next big product to be sold by the world’s leading video and ecommerce retailer. Nine budding mom entrepreneurs, or “mompreneurs,” will take center stage next week to showcase their creative inventions during TODAY’s Next Big Thing 2, a week-long competition where promising mom inventors and entrepreneurs have the opportunity to pitch their breakthrough ideas each day to NBC’s TODAY‘s panel of experts.

The country-wide search began in February as inventors were asked to submit their inventions. From those submissions, nine finalists were chosen across three different categories including: “gadgets for mom’s purse,” “mom on the go” and “mom gets organized.” All of the products are created by moms, for moms. During the week of April 18, the products in each category will be pitched live on NBC’s TODAY to a panel of judges that includes Doug Howe, QVC’s Executive Vice President of Merchandising, Jill Martin, NBC’s TODAY contributor and Creative Director of QVC’s contemporary fashion and accessories line, G.I.L.I. got it love it® and Savannah Guthrie, NBC’s TODAY anchor.

Beginning Tuesday, April 19, viewers can vote for their favorite product each day by visiting TODAY.com. On Friday, April 22, the inventors of the product receiving the most votes in each category will have one last chance to win over the judges and explain why their product deserves to join the ranks of QVC’s best-selling items. The overall winner selected by the judges will sell their product live on QVC Saturday, April 23 at 10AM (ET).

“Joining together with TODAY once again provides us with the opportunity to highlight budding entrepreneurs and inventors across the country,” said Howe. “The joy of discovery and the power of storytelling is a big part of what we do at QVC. Through TODAY’s Next Big Thing, we’re able to discover promising mom entrepreneurs and provide them with national distribution and a powerful platform to showcase the story and inspiration behind their products.”

Last September, QVC and TODAY launched TODAY’s Next Big Thing. Leslie Pierson, the inventor of GoodHangups, a reusable magnetic display systems for posters, art, photographs and more, was named the winner. The product achieved immediate success on QVC selling out during Pierson’s first appearance on air and it continues to be a popular item.  The experience has given Pierson the opportunity to expand and further develop her business.

“Presenting my product on TODAY and then QVC was such an amazing opportunity to tell my story and demonstrate my product to millions of people and get instant feedback,” said Pierson. “So often in retail, your product is standing on its own either online or on a retail shelf with little or no opportunity to tell the story of how you came up with it or showcase how it works. With QVC, you’re talking directly to your customer and have the opportunity to explain your inspiration and demonstrate how it works in a way that’s usually not possible.”

Over the past 29 years, QVC has launched and fostered the growth of some of today’s most successful brands.TODAY’s Next Big Thing 2 aligns with QVC’s commitment to bring their customers an ever-changing mix of new and innovative products from inventors and entrepreneurs as well as national and boutique brands.  It also supports QVC Sprouts®, the ongoing, crowd-sourced product search that seeks the best up-and-coming products from inventors and entrepreneurs, where those with a retail-ready item have the opportunity to sell on QVC.com and the chance to grow their businesses through a scalable and nurturing process.

Tune in to Saturday Morning Q® on QVC Saturday, April 23 at 10AM (ET) for a firsthand look as the TODAY’S Next Big Thing winning invention is showcased. Visit QVC.com to purchase the winning product, plus the products of all nine finalists. To learn more about QVC Sprouts, visit http://www.qvc.com/qvcsprouts.

About QVC
QVC, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Interactive Corporation (NASDAQ: QVCA, QVCB), is the world’s leading video and ecommerce retailer. QVC is committed to providing its customers with thousands of the most innovative and contemporary beauty, fashion, jewelry and home products. Its programming is distributed to approximately 340 million homes worldwide through operations in the U.S., Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, France and a joint venture inChina. Based in West Chester, Pa. and founded in 1986, QVC has evolved from a TV shopping company to a leading ecommerce and mobile commerce retailer. The company’s website, QVC.com, is ranked among the top general merchant Internet sites. QVC, Q, and the Q Ribbon Logo are registered service marks of ER Marks, Inc.

Xcel Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ:XELB) is a brand development and media company engaged in the design, production, licensing, marketing and direct-to-consumer sales of branded apparel, footwear, accessories, jewelry, home goods, and other consumer products, and the acquisition of dynamic consumer lifestyle brands. Xcel was founded by Robert W. D’Loren in 2011 with a vision to reimagine shopping, entertainment and social as one. Xcel owns and manages the Isaac Mizrahi, Judith Ripka, H Halston, and C. Wonder brands, pioneering an omnichannel sales strategy which includes the promotion and sale of products under its brands through direct-response television, internet, brick and mortar retail, and e-commerce channels. Headquartered in New York City, Xcel Brands is led by an executive team with significant retailing, licensing, design, and marketing experience, and a proven track record of success in elevating branded consumer products companies.  With a team of over 70 designers and social media focused marketing executives, Xcel maintains control of product quality and promotion across all of its product categories and distribution channels.  Xcel differentiates by design.  www.xcelbrands.com

Media Inquiries:
484.701.1647
media.relations@qvc.com