Brutus Strength

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Brutus Broth is a bone soup for dogs. Co-founder Kim Hehir launched the business with her father, Tom Moffitt, and sister Sue Delegan

Resilient—There’s no other word that could sum up Kim Hehir more effectively. Like most career women who are mothers, the 46-year-old is an expert juggler. The difference is Hehir won’t blink if you set the pins on fire—she’ll just up her game.

Case in point: On a recent Friday, Hehir nails a magazine interview and a photo shoot with a dog that must be plied with treats to look at the camera. She’s also taking care of a sick child and making arrangements to take temporary ownership of his class’ pet lizard. Then, she gets stuck heading west in rush hour to pick up her other child from school.

A lesser woman would have buckled. But not Hehir, who is the co-founder and president of a startup business Brutus Broth (brutusbroth.com)—it’s a bone soup for dogs. She launched the business with her father, Tom Moffitt, and sister Sue Delegan.

She gracefully weaves in an out of company responsibilities to be a supportive wife to Sean Hehir, whose job as president and CEO of Trinity Investments LLC, has him traveling around the world throughout the year.

It’s clear her two sons, 12-year-old Michael and 11-year-old Andrew, and Shumba, a three-and-a-half-year-old Golden Retriever, also are at the top of her priorities.

Then there’s her newest baby, Brutus Broth, a company, whose story closely mirrors Hehir’s own tale about how adversity generates strength.

Longtime family friend Peter Ho, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bank of Hawaii, describes Hehir as someone who is “always on the go and always moving. She’ll have some illness and she’s still a whirling dervish. She’s always game for anything that you ask of her. You wonder how she can get it all done.”

Ho says its obvious that Hehir is “very talented” and her latest endeavor is a natural fit for her business skills and her love of animals.

“I always knew it would be a successful, but it’s really taken off in a very impressive way,” he says.

Hehir says that’s because the concept is rooted in love. Brutus, a large-breed stray dog that Delegan rescued from a Virginia kill shelter, was the inspiration for the company.

“Brutus was really sick. He didn’t have any hair. He had worms, mange, everything. My sister decided to adopt him because no one wanted him,” Hehir says.

“She cared for him by adding bone broth, a soup that my mother Sue Moffitt always made, to his food.

He became a healthy, beautiful dog. People started asking my sister where they could buy bone broth.”

The family finally decided to capitalize on the broth’s potential following a Thanksgiving conversation in 2016.

They felt that they had hit upon a niche pet food with the nutrient dense Brutus Broth, a bone soup that can be served to a dog as a snack or added to a dog’s food to improve its energy, coat-health or joints. It is made in a human-grade facility using animal bones, water, and vegetables and is fortified with chondroitin and glucosamine. And, best of all, the timing was right for the family to go into business together.

Tom Moffitt, Hehir’s father and a former small business owner, was getting antsy in retirement. Brutus’ mom Delegan believed in the product and as co-founder and president of Ilios Dairy Brands LLC, had found a specialty food hit before in Ilios’ Greek Yogurt Butter.

Hehir, who left the New York fast track eight years ago when her family moved to Hawai‘i, also was ready to take on more than consulting and nonprofit work.

“Above all, I admire my sister’s drive. When she sets her mind to it, she doesn’t let anything stop her from doing it,” Delegan says.

A graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, Hehir spent decades honing skills in strategy, marketing, finance and nonprofits.

Previously, she served as the Vice President of Strategic Planning for The Leading Hotels of the World. During her seven years there, she delivered over a 400-percent increase in shareholder value.

More recently, she’s been such a valuable board member of the Honolulu Zoo Society, that co-president Mary Benson says the nonprofit is amending its bylaws to ensure that Hehir may stay past the term limits.

“Kim is an absolute dynamo. Exclamation point. Exclamation point,” Benson says. “She really has a passion for the zoo and she’s used that as a catalyst to get the job done. She’s definitely a doer and her can-do attitude is infectious.”

Benson said many nonprofits are driven by hopes and dreams, but the zoo board has benefited from Hehir’s business acumen as well as her talent for networking and bringing in outside support.

Now, Hehir is putting that same focus on Brutus Broth. For starters, the product aced its beta-test period, which began at Wegmans grocery stores in May of 2018.

“Wegmans says, ‘This is a new prod- uct category. We don’t know what to do with it, but we like your product. If you sell 400 a week, we’d be ecstatic,’” Hehir says. “We’re almost at 700.”

Hehir says Brutus Broth has built on that success. The product launched at Amazon in November 2018. It became available to Hawai‘i consumers in late February at Calvin & Susie, which specializes in premium pet foods.

Other stores and other products and partnerships are in the works, Hehir says.

“All my years in business have taught me that you have to be nimble and adapt. You have to keep your goals in mind,” Hehir says. “This has been an amazing experience.”

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