Inside Kendrick Perkins’ Million Dollar French Business

Kendrick Perkins, former NBA champion and star ESPN analyst, may very well make more money from his French business than from broadcasting in the next five-plus years.

About four years ago, his brother-in-law Thomas Alpo approached Perkins with a short business phrase: “Man, we’ve got to get into this dog breeding business.”

Perkins had always been a fan of dogs and had them as pets, but he didn’t know what Alpow was talking about.

“What kind of dog breeding business?” he asked.

“French,” replied Alpo. “I’m telling you, man, this is the best thing that’s come along.”

Perkins dismissed the idea at the time, but his interest was piqued when Alpo acquired a male and a female on his own, raised them, and had a litter of puppies.

“I need you to post this on your Instagram. Let’s launch it. I don’t need money from you. And we’re going to sell them,” Alpo told Perkins.

The six puppies ranged in price from $8,000 to $20,000 each and sold out in three days for a total of nearly $60,000.

ESPN star NBA analyst Kendrick Perkins has expanded his French cat breeding business.
Instagram / The Big League of Exotics

Alpo bought another female dog and another litter of seven puppies appeared, which again sold out immediately.

“I thought, ‘Okay, you’re really getting paid right now,'” Perkins said. “Now he’s got my attention and I’m in.”

The brothers-in-law formalized a partnership in a company called Big League Exotics (BLE), created a kennel, social media pages and began reinvesting the proceeds from the litters into purchasing more adult Frenchies for breeding.

BLE is a four-person company: Perkins, Alpow, Dung Nguyen—a serial entrepreneur who works with Alpow on other ventures, including real estate—and John Shenkir, another businessman who befriends Alpow after the two meet at the vet.

BLE now has 42 dogs, and Perkins estimates their sale value to be around $4-5 million cumulatively. The dogs are scattered between their own compound and other families and kennels that could be potential business partners. Considerable emphasis is placed on the welfare and quality of life of the dogs.

There are cutting-edge deployment strategies — it’s not as simple as making two dogs fornicate and grabbing the profits. There is a constant need to be ahead of the curve when it comes to genetics, which means anticipating future breeds that will be in demand even if they don’t yet exist.

“Frenchmen. I’m telling you, man, it’s the best thing that’s come along.”

“Originally the French started and there were black and white French. Then all of a sudden they started coming out with lilac French shoes that were blue and white with polka dots and things like that,” Perkins said. “Then you have the Merles [which resemble Dalmations’ patterns]. But now you have fluffy Frenchies that are expensive. Fluffy French women have fur, different colors, it’s the new wave. These dogs start at $100K-$150K.

“We started to develop a relationship. I started learning more about DNA, color, structure – the things people want. And now we’re to the point where we actually have dogs that are in our kennel that are worth $250K, $500K — and we even have one that’s worth $1 million.

And that brings us to Jay Z, a pink fluffy husky purchased by a UK-based breeder named Diego Sanchez, whom Perkins calls “The Godfather of Frenchies.” Sanchez works with his life and business partner, Susan Bello, running a company called Deziner Bullz.

Jay-Z has pink fur and spots like a panda bear and is pioneering his bloodline, which has never been seen before in the United States. His purchase price? As Dr. Evil once said, a million dollars.

Merle Frenchy of Big League Exotics.
Merle Frenchy of Big League Exotics.
Instagram / The Big League of Exotics
Big League Exotics purchased Jay-Z, a pink fluffy Frenchie, from UK-based Deziner Bullz for $1 million.
Big League Exotics purchased Jay-Z, a pink fluffy Frenchie, from UK-based Deziner Bullz for $1 million.
Instagram / The Big League of Exotics

It was originally posted on Instagram as not for sale; that was until BLE blew Deziner away with the biggest offer they had ever received.

“It was hard because they didn’t want to give up on Jay-Z at all. They knew he was one of them,” Perkins said.

There is, Perkins explained, a misconception that people think female dogs that carry babies are more valuable than males. However, if you think of them as, say, a horse that wins the Kentucky Derby, a male can breed multiple times, while females can only carry one litter at a time.

“You make money selling their semen,” Perkins, who played 14 years in the NBA, said matter-of-factly. “You have your fees, and with Jay-Z, the sperm starts at $100K.”

The breeding process is complicated.

“There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes, like making sure your dogs’ progesterone levels are tested, making sure it’s the optimal breeding time for the female’s fertility levels. If you’re sending the sperm, you need to know that it’s only good for a certain amount of time and meets the customer’s expectations,” Shenkir said.

There are big costs associated with the business, and progesterone testing isn’t cheap, Nguyen said.

“We really care about the dogs. We feed them premium food and take care of their health,” he said.

Perkins said they received a multi-million dollar offer for Jay-Z, meaning his value would have tripled in no time. However, this offer was rejected.

Jay Z as a puppy.
Jay Z as a puppy.
Instagram / Deziner Pedz

“We know how much money it can make in the long run,” Perkins said. “We just did his first official insemination two weeks ago because he just turned 11 months.”

Perkins also showed a video of his co-stars walking down Boston’s Newbury Street with Jay-Z and the French Who.

A group contacted them, knowing they would only be in town for a short time, found out where they were, and approached them on four wheels – and gave Alpo $10,000 in cash as a down payment, a 10 percent “early lock- in” on Jay Z’s cum.

“That was great,” laughed Shenkir.

Kendrick Perkins plays for the Cavaliers in 2015.
Kendrick Perkins plays for the Cavaliers in 2015.
Getty Images

Bello and Sanchez, the Deziner team, have been breeding dogs for about 20 years. They have become some of the best breeders of French breeds in the world and are constantly trying to mix DNA to create breeds with new textures and colors – Husky French, Koi French, Pink French, Fluffy French, etc.

“To create all these special high-end dogs, we need to know everything about DNA; we need to know the right types of dogs to run the program. It takes five to seven years to create [a new breed]Bello said. “It’s not a quick process to finally get the finished article. There is a lot of work that has gone into creating this dog.

To create a dog with a shade of pink like Jay-Z, it’s a mix of generations of dominant and recessive genes — where dogs can carry, say, a lilac gene, but don’t necessarily show it.

“You have to match a boy and a girl with the right DNA to make sure they have the opportunity to make the dog you’re looking for. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t,” Bello said. “You can get seven, eight puppies and only one of the litter will turn out to be what you’re looking for. It’s a mixture of luck, education and understanding.”

After Jay-Z’s purchase, BLE and Deziner Bullz formed a partnership where the UK group sent cutting-edge puppies to Perkins’ group, which sold the dogs and/or breeding opportunities in the United States. Then the profits are split.

“They sent us three pregnant dogs expecting exotic huskies that look like Jay-Z but in their natural color and look like panda bears,” Perkins, 37, said of one of their first partnership ventures.

Koi Frenchie from Big League Exotics
Koi Frenchie from Big League Exotics
Instagram / Kendrick Perkins

Both BLE and Deziner have high standards. Companies must reconcile their desire to maximize revenue with caution against flooding the market and keeping their creations scarce. Both businesses wanted to emphasize that they are licensed businesses that treat their dogs with care.

The highest price BLE has ever received for a dog came when they sold a pink Frenchie husky for $250K. Farthest they sold a dog? Australia. They made the sale a few weeks ago and are in the process of making sure the puppy meets all vaccination requirements.

Another element of BLE’s business is helping other breeders sell their Frenchies. Thanks to Perkins’ social media skills — he has over 370,000 Instagram followers, and the Exotics account has an additional 31,000 — they can move dogs much faster than a standard mom-and-pop shop.

Of course, there are many buyers who can’t afford a six-figure BLE Frenchie for breeding, but want to purchase a $5,000-$10,000 Frenchie as a pet. A Frenchie can be sold from a small kennel for months with no buyers and find a buyer within hours if Perkins and the team get involved.

Fluffy husky puppies from Deziner Pedz.
Fluffy husky puppies from Deziner Pedz.
Instagram / Deziner Pedz

“We just play middleman and charge the breeder a brokerage fee,” Perkins said; their markdown could be something like $1,500 on a $6,500 sale.

With so much money at stake, extreme precautions must be taken. The only people who know where the BLE French are stationed, in an undisclosed location in rural Texas, are the four people who work together. The house sits on about 100 acres of land, with a 10-acre yard that is fenced, with surveillance cameras throughout and four Cane Corso dogs on patrol. When taking dogs to shows, they must hire security.

When a large sale goes down, one of the four from BLE must make the delivery.

“When you’re dealing with a transaction this big, you can’t trust anyone but someone in your inner circle to deliver that dog,” Perkins said. “Because you can drop a guy off at the airport with the dog, and that guy might make a detour and not even get on the plane, and change his phone number, and now all of a sudden he walks away with a $100K dog and everybody loses.”

French Bulldogs are the most stolen dogs in the United States, Nguyen notes.

“Even in Houston, it was on the news to be careful if you own one because people are losing their lives or getting robbed because it’s so hot,” Perkins said. “The French are hotter than real estate.”

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