white boxer, Austin.
"For a single girl in New York, sometimes your dog is the only consistent thing in your life," says the cosmetics industry veteran, who started business development firm Ryan Basics
But Austin balks at going to the groomer.
search for products to use at home, Ms. Ryan
discovered an overlooked niche.
Though brands like Hermes and Gucci
had introduced pet accessories, nobody sold shampoo or scent for pooches.
In May 2006, Ms. Ryan launched Sexy Beast, hiring a former Kiehl's chemist to work with a Swiss perfumer to develop a 100% vegan line of dog-grooming products.
The web site (sexybeaststyle.com) accounts for 30% of sales, and Ms. Ryan
is eyeing expansion to upscale pet boutiques and luxury hotel chains.
Initial marketing, which took the approach of using Sexy Beast between visits to the groomer, "was just too complicated," Ms. Ryan says.
also "wasted" more than $100,000 on three different "very large, very well-known" public relations firms, she