LeeBob Willingham, the founder of Bullibone shares his story of how the small mid-west American business got started. The American dream is still alive today and Bullibone is proof. With some smart innovation, a little elbow grease and the help of one of American’s greatest companies, Wal-Mart, Bullibone is becoming a leading dog chew toy.
I’m Lee Bob Willingham, this is my wife Leah Willingham, and I’m the founder of Bullibone. We bought an English bulldog, Boogey, absolute chewer. I mean, he would chew the legs off your chairs, chew your shoes up.
So I went to the vet, I said, “Hey, my wife’s gonna kick me out if this dog keeps chewing up everything in the house. What can I do?” My vet told me to go buy him a nylon bone. I went and bought a $10 nylon bone, gave it to my dog, and he wouldn’t chew on it. It had like a spray on flavoring. So I just had an idea, that if there was a way I can build a mold and flavor the nylon throughout, that it could be really cool, it could keep the dogs attracted, the more they chew more flavor they get.
On my spare time, in my garage, I started building a mold. We sampled a bunch different flavoring and it worked great. The dogs all loved it, and everybody raved about it. But I did notice, as dogs were chewing on it, they were struggling to hold the bone while they chew. So, I went back, changed the mold, and put what we call “paw pads” on it. So a dog can actually hold on to the bone and it makes it so much easier to chew.
So, we learned how to do the packaging ourselves, but then, when we saw how well they were selling, we knew we had something. So, we went to Wal Mart, they instantly loved the product. Wal Mart believed in a small mid-west guy who had a good product. So, they’ve taken us to another level. It’s great to see that companies like Wal Mart still believe in the American dream, helping a small mid-west company grow to be a nationwide brand name. It’s been a great read and there’s a lot more to come.
– Leebob Willingham