Kim Stout, President
At Coastal Pet, we believe one of the things that sets us apart after fifty years is that we are still a family owned, American manufacturer. The Stout family started and continues to run the company, so we took a moment to sit down with our President, Kim Stout, to find out what working in the family business is like and where she wants to see it go in the future.
What do you remember about the start of the company and the early years of Coastal Pet Products?
Kim: The company was started the year before I was born, so it was always part of our lives. I remember playing in the warehouse with my sister and brother making cardboard wings to see who could go the furthest jumping off of boxes.
Our family had fun winter weekends with the Siberian Huskies, as we not only trained and raced sled dogs but also raised puppies. I think my fondest memory was dad making a leather bag for me to hold all the arrow heads and Indian things we found playing in the fields around our home.
I distinctly remember the way he designed the closure, using a T-shaped piece of leather, as it wouldn’t have been authentic to have a metal buckle. I loved that bag and had many adventures with it. Dad has always been very creative and good at making a whole host of things.
When and how did you get started within the company?
Kim: I worked in marketing for Coastal when I was in high school. Then I went off to college and taught public school outside of Washington DC, but I returned to Coastal in 2000, as a regional sales manager in the mid-Atlantic area. I’ve been working for Coastal ever since.
What are the advantages and challenges of being a family running a company together?
Kim: You truly have work life balance because it is all one!
What has been your favorite product or product line Coastal has worked on in the last 50 years?
Kim: It’s hard to pick a favorite product! Li’l Pals kitten is one of my favorites, as it gives cat lovers an innovative solution to get their kitten used to wearing a collar and especially designed for kittens’ small size. Having identification on cats is very important if they get out of the house.
The Circle-T rolled leather dog collars are another favorite. They are truly hand crafted with more than 16 steps in the process; from beveling and dressing the edges to rounding the collar to fit perfectly. But what is coming next is always the most exciting for me. I love to see new hardware designs and manufacturing processes applied to creating products that give dog and cat owners well designed and functional products they can trust.
What would your dream be for Coastal in the next 50 years?
Kim: To continue to grow as a brand dog and cat lovers value for quality, design and safety! By staying true to our midwestern values of working hard and having fun doing what we love, I’m very proud of our associates and their dedication to our customers and each other.