Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in pet care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Brett Gill, co-owner of Precious Pawz By KOBBS Supplies, located in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We’re a lower mainland-based small business called Precious Pawz. Our goal is to produce sustainable, quality, and unique pet products.
During product development, we do our research to ensure sustainability and avoid greenwashing. For instance, when producing our 3-pack infused herb cat balls, we considered:
Design: The balls are entirely compostable, made with wool from local, ethical hobby farmers. They are an alternative to plastic, disposable cat toys.
Features: Not all cats respond to catnip, so we include five locally sourced herbs to ensure all cats enjoy them.
Packaging: Entirely compostable and hand-stamped with homemade ink to cut printing production impacts.
Longevity: We include instructions and herbs to re-infuse your toys with herbs. We also include instructions on how to repair them to extend their use.
We put care and research into every step of production to minimize our footprint as much as possible. All our handmade products use local, ethical, and organic supplies whenever possible. Additionally, all our packaging is compostable (even the tape!). Ultimately, we wanted ourselves and our customers to feel good about our products!
Tell us about yourself
We run Precious Pawz as a couple; our names are Brett and Kristina. We started the business for many reasons, but running it together was also a plus! Firstly, we were both in recent, life-changing accidents. We both needed supplementary income, something we could work on with our changed lives and disabilities. The ability to make have flexible hours is critical to our new lifestyles. During our recoveries, we also started to value the quality of life and family time more so than before. We have five pets that have loved having us work from home. Our three dogs are seniors, and it's been wonderful being able to spend extra time with them. They also enjoy being product testers, of course.
Secondly, we saw a need for sustainable pet products. We have a sustainable lifestyle but found ourselves struggling to find sustainable options for our pets. Pet toys and accessories actually create a lot of waste! We really wanted to feel good about our business and know we were making a difference. We're both lucky to be hereafter our accidents and want to make a positive impact on the planet. We also wanted pet parents to have the option, to make more eco-conscious purchases.
Lastly, we wanted to promote pet rescue. Kristina ran a rescue previously, and it's something we are passionate about. Our three dogs (Bella, Sandy, & Oliver) and two cats (Zara & Pascal) are all rescued from bad situations. Dog overpopulation is a serious crisis, and most people aren't aware of this. We wanted to be able to advocate and share information on the importance of rescuing our followers and customers.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
There have been many, but finishing our website was a big deal for us! This was a moment when it all came together. Seeing tangible results motivated us to continue doing all the hard work behind the scenes.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
In running our business, consistency & time has been the most challenging aspect. As we both deal with disabilities, our functional time to work is often limited. So much goes into small businesses behind the scenes - from designing products, sourcing supplies, social media, accounting - it's never-ending! Its been very hard to be consistent when there is so much to do. We've also had to learn quite a bit, including web design, marketing, and social media management.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Be prepared to learn from them. We’ve made many, and often you have to learn as you go!
- For most of us, success isn’t going to happen overnight. Be patient, put in the work, and celebrate the little victories along the way.
- Try to create a plan for every aspect of a small business beforehand. It is critical to have a plan for accounting, branding, and social media beforehand so you aren’t having to backtrack when you’re up and running! It’s also important to document these steps, like how to make your products and run your business, for when your business grows.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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