The road to Damascus, a biblical reference often used when a person reaches a sudden turning point in their life, is quite literally where our story began. An invitation for an adventure that would be the start of something really incredible.
In April of 2019, Kevin's family invited Kevin and Darin to a 3 day, 25 mile hike on the Appalachian trail. Like the crazy people they are, they decided not only to participate, but to take all of their dogs with them as well. At the time, that included: Jessie James - a 6 year old Black Lab rescue, Kyra Grace - a 4 year old Siberian Husky, and two of Kyra's 9 month old puppies - Kali Rae and Kona Jade. As it so happened, the part of the Appalachian Trail that they would travel would be from White Top, VA to Damascus, VA. A literal road to Damascus. Whether it was the cold nights, the strenuous hike, the exhaustion, or the pouring rain, by the time they reached the last four mile stretch, Kevin shouted out "A PET STORE! AND WE WILL CALL IT NATURE TAILS!". With that one profound/delirious statement, the Pediatric Nurse and IT Specialist suddenly found themselves building a pet brand.
From there, they needed to decide how to go about building a business around the concept of affordable, quality products for pets. Dog treats seemed like a natural start, but what would make them different from other treats out there? Enter in their friendship with Julie and Steve Bernard of Bernard Farms in Orlinda, TN. One of the first treat flavors that Kevin and Darin developed was the Summer Lovin' seasonal treats. Wanting to include bacon in the recipe, Kevin reached out to Julie Bernard and started a partnership using the bacon from Bernard Farms' hogs. The relationship with this one small farm in the middle of nowhere Tennessee fostered a desire for Nature Tails to not only use the best ingredients in their products, but to close the gap between what consumers buy and the farms they come from.
Expanding their network of small family farms, Nature Tails currently can trace 95% of the ingredients used in making our treats and chews. Every major ingredient used can be traced back to small family farms located in the US and efforts are underway to be able to trace the few remaining minor ingredients.
In keeping with the same bold concept, Kevin and Darin wanted to build up the brand to include other items for pet lovers. They reached out to Gehman Pottery, a well know and very talented potter in Adams, TN. Cultivating a friendship with Brooke and Dana, they worked together to design pet food and water bowls. The idea was to create hand thrown, beautiful bowls that pet owners wouldn't want to hide when they had company over.
During the 2019-2020 winter months, Kevin and Darin came up with another idea to grow the company. As most dog owners know, finding a quality shampoo that leaves your dog clean and smelling good is hard to find. So for this one, they called in a friend of theirs, Dee Beck, owner of Cave Spring Farms Soapery. Partnering with Dee and her expert knowledge of soap making, they developed an all natural dog shampoo line that leaves your pup clean and smelling amazing.
Each year, Nature Tails adds new farms and artisans to its line up to bring our customers exactly what Kevin and Darin set out to do from the beginning; quality products for your pets at an affordable price. As we grow, so do the small farms and artisans that we partner with and depend on. Our hope is that you and your pet not only love our products, but that you can have the peace of mind knowing exactly where they came from.