At the SuperZoo pet industry trade show in Las Vegas this week, pet product manufacturer Up Country announced the appointment of Cynthia Barlow to chief executive officer, effective September 1, 2021. Barlow will be tasked with driving growth of the company, streamlining operations, and expanding Up Country’s brand presence and product offerings online and in stores.
She previously worked with Up Country for six years, via her public relations and social media agency, NOBL Communications. She then joined the company in-house as vice president of marketing communications. She was responsible for the creation and launch of a new website for Up Country, expansion of its social media presence, and development of its products and brand.
Also through NOBL, Barlow holds experience with companies in the toy, juvenile, and pet spaces, including Build-A-Bear Workshop, Stride Rite, Britax, Summer Infant, Cra-Z-Art, The Mensch on a Bench, and UNFI. Before NOBL, she also worked at Hasbro, RE:PLAY! (Playmates Toys), The First Years, Dorel Juvenile Group, and Summer Infant. At Summer Infant, she was a member of the investor relations team that brought the company public in 2007 and was involved in its subsequent growth from $52.2 million to $238.2 million.
“I am thrilled to have someone of Cynthia’s stature and experience in so many areas taking the helm at Up Country,” said owner Alice Nichols. “She is a remarkable person with a wide range of skills in marketing, product development, branding and operations. I am excited to watch her take Up Country to the next level.”
Barlow is taking over for Nichols who is set to retire. Nichols originated the company’s ribbon collar in 1984 for her own dog, and has since built UpCountry into a manufacturer of high-end pet accessories including collars, leads, and apparel.
“It will be exceptionally difficult to fill Alice’s shoes,” said Barlow. “She is an amazing businessperson who has created a strong company both financially and via Up Country’s extensive portfolio of product offerings. I’m honored and up for the challenge to see her company through its next phase of growth. My background, coupled with having three dogs and a never-ending passion for animals, makes it a perfect fit all around.”