On the Money

Pets are the new social media influencer, and this Harvard Law grad represents many of them

Key Points
  • Loni Edwards, the founder of The Dog Agency, manages cute pets with large social media followings.
  • The Harvard Law grad explains pets tend to perform better on social media, and they make users happy.

The Kardashians aren't the only ones able to make a career from posting on social media. A new wave of dogs, cats, monkeys — and even a possum — are fetching big bucks and wide followings as influencers on social media.

Star pet talent agent Loni Edwards has a roster of unique clients include @realdiddykong, 2 monkeys with over a million Instagram followers; @hamlet_the_piggy, with over 300,000; and @itsmesesame, the rescue opossum with over 62,000; and @lionelthehog, who boasts over 130,000 followers.

The pet influencer business has become so huge that some of these furry faced stars, who have more followers than a lot of humans, need representation to handle it all.

"Influencer marketing has become a big thing - now pet influencer marketing is the biggest thing because pets tend to perform better on social media," Edwards, founder of The Dog Agency, told CNBC's "On the Money" in an interview.

"Everyone loves them, they make people happy, so then people like the brands as well because the content is making them happy," she added.


Edwards started her agency in 2015, and her clients currently range from a Corgi with 53,000 Instagram fans to Crusoe the Dachshund, who has an impressive 2.5 million followers on Facebook.

Edwards said it's not just pet related companies that are working with these animals. "The brands are all across the board, we started mainly with pet brands, but now we work with brands in every vertical from hotel companies to cleaning products to movie studios,: she added.

So how much are these animals fetching from sponsorships?

"Influencers on the larger scale with millions of followers are getting around $15,000 per sponsored post. So a lot of money can be made if you have a large following," Edwards told CNBC.

Edwards didn't always envision herself running a pet management company. In fact, the 33 year-old Harvard Law grad started out at a large firm in LA. However, Edwards said she soon found herself wanting to do something more entrepreneurial.

"I started emPOWERED a tech enabled fashion company that received a utility patent on adding phone charging capabilities to handbags and luggage," she told CNBC.


While running the company, Edwards got a dog Chloe and started an Instagram account mainly to share photos with friends and family. To Edwards' surprise, the account kept growing.

"She quickly amassed a large following. Pet brands began reaching out to work with her and my legal background made dealing with the associated contracts and deal points easy to manage," she added.

As she started working with brands, other pet parents found out she was a lawyer and began asking her legal advice.

Edwards saw an opportunity for someone with her law background that also understood the pet social media industry to help bridge the gap between pet influencers and brands.

"The timing and industry fit couldn't have been more perfect," she said. "I had just sold emPOWERED and had all the right connections and experience to be the one to fill this void in the market."

If you think your pet has what it takes to be the next social media star, Edwards has some advice to help you and your furry baby get there.

"Create engaging content, develop a brand around the pet, and make sure it's fun," Edwards told CNBC. "At the end of the day the pet has to love getting dressed up and posing for photos."

On the Money airs on CNBC Saturdays at 5:30 am ET, or check listings for air times in local markets.