Buddy Belts: How a Beloved Pet Accessory Brand Harnessed the Power of PayPal Complete Payments to Unleash Global Success

When husband and wife duo Roxanne Pettipas and John Haslam founded Buddy Belts, they didn't just create a pet accessory company; they embarked on a journey that would take them across the globe and establish their brand as a beloved name in the pet industry.


Inspired by their dearly departed dog, Buddy, the couple's venture into creating stylish and functional dog harnesses has grown from a basement DIY project into a thriving international business, with demand coming from all corners of the globe, including emerging markets across Asia, Europe and the Middle East. 

“It’s the luxury brand of the pet world,” Pettipas says with a laugh. “Once you put a Buddy Belt on a dog, it practically sells itself.”

Launched in 2001 after Pettipas noticed her miniature Dachshund would gag and cough with a neck collar every time they would go for a walk, Buddy Belts quickly grew into a full-time gig, run out of a factory in Toronto’s west end.

By the 2020s, Buddy Belts was already a Canadian success story. But the company’s growth really began to skyrocket internationally throughout the pandemic, as pet ownership surged both domestically and abroad. While welcome, the spike in interest led the Buddy Belt duo to conclude their current online offering wasn’t up to snuff.

“We knew we would increase our sales just by allowing people to order online," Pettipas explains. And Pettipas isn’t alone. According to PayPal’s 2024 Business of Change Report, 63 per cent of Canadian small-to-medium enterprises also believe that giving shoppers more choice in how they can pay is important in helping them turn prospects into customers and grow sales.1

With interest in Buddy Belts driving both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) international sales, Pettipas and Haslam also faced the challenge of maintaining production and managing inventory amid unpredictable demand. "We'd launch [a new product line], and the whole thing will sell out in like three days," Haslam notes.

As they looked to expand their base with limited time, it became obvious that they needed a strategic payments partner that would not only help them with payments across channels from global customers, but also one that would provide the real-time data they needed to assess and respond to market trends quickly.  

Paw-sitive Growth

To wrap their arms around these issues, Pettipas and Haslam looked to PayPal Complete Payments to securely accept a range of payments from around the world through one account, helping build customer trust and repeat buyers.

“We wanted to remove ourselves from our in-house server,” Haslam recalls. “PayPal seemed like the obvious solution because it’s globally recognized and it's really easy for people to complete transactions.”

Almost overnight, this shift to a single, comprehensive solution that helps foster growth, provides fraud protection and streamlines cross-border payments transformed their operations, making it easier to handle both retail and wholesale transactions.

“The ability to convert international currencies is great,” Pettipas enthuses. “It's certainly streamlined our ability to complete transactions with our end users and also our wholesalers."

Barking Up the Right Tree

Beyond streamlined payment options for customers, PayPal Complete Payment’s fraud protection offers businesses seller, fraud and chargeback protection, which helped Buddy Belts protect their business and customers, as well as reduce time spent on managing disputes. "It's very important for us to have systems in place that allow our customers to feel safe and secure," Haslam emphasizes, noting that this capability has been especially important as Buddy Belts expanded into markets like Southeast Asia, where the brand's presence was initially limited.

In addition to simplifying the day-to-day demands of running a small business, PayPal Complete Payments has provided access to technical experts and reporting infrastructure that have helped Buddy Belts optimize the financial health of their business. "Reconciling is very easy. I can just click, and it's done," Buddy Belt’s bookkeeper, Michelle, explains. This streamlined approach has allowed the company to work smarter, not harder by eliminating time spent on managing cashflow or inputting orders manually so they can focus on the future.

As Buddy Belts continues to grow, its co-founders remain committed to their vision of providing high-quality pet accessories while navigating the complexities of international expansion. Their journey, supported by strategic partnerships and a focus on innovation, has positioned them for continued success.

Fur-ward Thinking

With PayPal Complete Payments providing one platform to manage the many responsibilities of a small business, Buddy Belts has not only managed to keep up with the demands of a growing global customer base but has also felt empowered to set the stage for further expansion and innovation in the pet accessory industry. We're pushing into new markets and continuing to produce new collections and products for the brand," Pettipas states. "And, in PayPal, we found a partner that understands our needs and supports our growth."

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