Lisbet Firman, ’21, Partners with Pet Ambassadors for Simple Food Project and Herbsmith
By Eva Richards

lisbet-firman-imageLisbet Firman, '21, with her dog Blue.

Pet food is big business, and no one understands it more than Lisbet Firman, ’21.

Fresh out of NIU, she serves as a writing and marketing associate for The Simple Food Project and Herbsmith—two growing pet food companies that tout the use of “small batches of whole foods and USA-sourced ingredients.”

After earning her degree in English, Firman moved to the suburbs of Milwaukee with her fiancé Jason and their cattle dog, Blue. She started working as a part-time freelance writer for The Simple Food Project and its sister company Herbsmith in August 2021 and quickly moved into a full-time position.

“The Simple Food Project crafts freeze-dried raw recipes and treats for both dogs and cats. Each recipe contains only 16 real, whole ingredients, like chicken, beef, trout, apples, blueberries, and green beans in species-appropriate proportions. There are no synthetics, artificial preservatives, or by-products,” she said. “Herbsmith focuses on ‘curating’ every pet’s bowl to fit their specific health needs, whether it be from targeted nutraceuticals, herbs or antioxidants. Our products range from supplements for joint support, digestive health, dental care and more—all created with only natural ingredients!”

While the pets themselves cannot see the commercials or read the ads, their owners are receiving the message about the companies’ quality ingredients. And once the pets taste the difference of fresh foods, they buy in quickly.

“I honestly cannot even describe the difference I have seen in my own dog since beginning to feed her Simple Food Project recipes and Herbsmith supplements,” Firman said. “She is so much healthier and happier, which really makes me feel fulfilled that I am working for a company that changes the lives of pets for the better.”

According to a recent report by Grand View Research, the global pet food market size was valued at $94.76 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach nearly $100 billion later this year. Firman’s messaging helps grow her companies through innovative means.

“I help with projects ranging from email marketing campaigns and social media to market research and writing product descriptions for our website and Amazon,” Firman said. “It’s a very fast-paced, creative and collaborative working environment, which I have always thrived in. I love that I get to do extensive research, whether it be about other products on the market or different health conditions in pets, and then put that research into writing and branding.”

Firman’s most recent project is leading the companies’ new, revamped Brand Ambassador Program. For this program, she focuses on networking with pet influencers on social media platforms to create partnerships between The Simple Food Project and Herbsmith and their adorable dogs and cats. 

“I recently reached out to Mission II on Instagram because I loved ‘Mission Mondays’ so much when I was a student at NIU,” Firman said. “I was so happy to be able to send him some of our Simple Food Project freeze-dried treats to taste test!”

Mission’s trainer Lisa Boland confirms that Mission gobbles up his Simple Food Project meals, preferring them it to everything else! 

Besides the satisfaction of knowing she is helping pets and their families, Firman notes there are other benefits to her role. For instance, there are five dogs, or “co-woofers,” running around her office each day.

“Our company is made up of a very tight-knit group of employees who share a passion for marketing, writing and, of course, our pets!” Firman said. “It truly feels like a family.”

Growing up in the small town of Ingleside, Illinois, Firman was always attracted to power of the written word. 

“As a child, I had a huge imagination and used to love creating and writing my own stories,” she said. “My mom has worked at our local library since I was five years old, so I was always reading and around books. As I grew older, I began writing a lot, especially poetry. In high school, English became one of my favorite classes because I loved the analytical yet creative freedom that it allowed me to have.”

Firman’s parents had met while studying at NIU in 1980, and they had brought her to campus a few times when she was a child.

“I fell in love with the beautiful campus. It’s the only college that I applied for because I was so certain that I wanted to be a Huskie!” she said.

When she started at NIU in 2017, Firman was unsure about her future career. Always enjoying school, she found it difficult to narrow her interests down to any specific major. 

“I took many fascinating courses at NIU, trying to find what spoke to me, but after my first two semesters of introductory English classes, I knew that it was something that I wanted to pursue,” she said. “Within those two semesters, I was encouraged by my professors to put my critical thinking and imagination to the test, which really encompassed what I had been passionate about while growing up.”

Once Firman decided to pursue English with an emphasis in writing, she really found her true self at NIU. 

“I was always a bit reserved growing up, but my professors and fellow students really pushed me out of my comfort zone to gain my voice and build my confidence, whether it be through group projects, public speaking, or reading my writing to other members of the Creative Writing Club,” she said. “Every professor at NIU was approachable and always willing to help me edit and improve my writing.”

The COVID-19 pandemic changed her in-person college experience in the spring of her junior year. While it was difficult, Firman notes that online classes prepared her for her future career.

“It helped me by instilling the importance of time management, hard work ethic, and responsibility,” she said. “All the professors at NIU were amazing during the times of uncertainty and always did their best to lend a hand during stressful times.”

After graduation, Firman had faith that she would find her place as a writer, but she was unsure what her first job would be.

“When I saw the job posting for Herbsmith and The Simple Food Project, I knew that it was the perfect match for me. The pets that I had growing up and that I have now mean the absolute world to me, so I knew that I would truly be passionate about what I would be doing every day,” she said. “It’s honestly such an amazing company that exceeds the standards of optimal health and wellness for pets. I love hearing praise from customers because I know how much care goes into crafting each product. Knowing that I contribute to something that is life-changing for animals makes me extremely proud.”