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In 2010, veterinarian Paula Short embarked on a road trip in America with husband Chris. The couple were on holiday - but they couldn’t help doing a little animal-related espionage along the way.

At the time, they owned two vet clinics in the Nelson region. And what interested them most about the US pet stores was the food they were selling.

“What we found was a wealth of all-natural, high-protein pet food using a wide range of nutritious ingredients.” says Paula. “It became very clear that New Zealand was behind in this market. As a vet, I saw the opportunity to create higher quality dog food – nutritious, ethical and sustainable. And delicious for our fur friends, of course!”

Once the recipe was on track, Paula began hunting for a Nelson-based creative agency to help build the brand, in particular the logo and the ultimate packaging design.

I knew we would be up against established multinational companies with deep pockets for design,” says Paula. “I wanted to work with someone local, in person, and having known Tama (UpShift’s founder) for some years, I knew he was really experienced in the industry and had built a strong team around him that are similarly talented and passionate.”
Paula Short / Genius Pet Food

This led to Paula meeting Matt Robinson, UpShift’s Creative Director and lead designer. The two hit it off and threw themselves into the world of Genius together.

“As a newbie to all of this, I had loads of ideas for what I wanted my brand and packaging to look and feel like, but no real idea how to develop the thoughts into a finished product,” says Paula. “Again, it’s a competitive industry. I needed something very specific and professional - but also unique. It needed to communicate trustworthiness and honesty.

“Matt was amazing to work with. No question was too stupid! The logo was bang-on straight away. We worked on some iterations of the packaging, and what we finally landed on is just awesome.”

“It was slightly more complex than it might appear,” says Matt. “With a regulated industry like pet food, we had to ensure that we fit all the required and relevant information onto the packaging without flooding it. So it was a case of weaving Paula’s vision for a compelling, stand-out brand with those requirements.”

“And we did it!” says Paula. “My logo and my packaging look professional and polished, while we also have a unique and gorgeous design that stands out in a sea of fairly generic stuff.

“Several years down the track, I still love it and wouldn’t change a thing. We have just worked together again to develop a smaller bag size, and all we had to do is some minor adjustments for new dimensions. The design is really standing the test of time, plus it is easy to adapt to new products such as dog treats, and still have a consistent look and feel.

Paula says the experience with UpShift has been ‘top notch.’ 

“I definitely recommend UpShift. They make the process easy, deliver a really high standard of work on time, and I feel like they are really personally invested in the outcome and your business success. 

“I’m sure I’ll be back.”


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