Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in pet care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Anja Skodda, Founder and CEO of HAPPYBOND, located in Venice, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
HAPPYBOND is a pet care company that delivers a 360 degrees approach to keeping your best friend healthy by providing science-based, human-grade nutrition with transparent, clean, innovative, and sustainably sourced ingredients. Our Customers are responsible pet owners.
Tell us about yourself
My background is in Biotech Science; at the time my bulldog got arthritis in his shoulder, I worked in cartilage tissue engineering, building in vitro models to screen rheumatoid arthritis drugs. I could not find anything to help my dog skateboard again, which made me formulate our now patented collagen + supplements for him. Tony was back on his skateboard in a week! Today we could help thousands of dogs become more mobile again and prevent younger ones from experiencing joint pain. We extended the brand into a suite of nutrition products to cover all needs from digestion to skin and coat, with our hero product, fresh, shelf-stable human-grade dog food, in sustainable packaging. I love animals, probably more than people, and being able to help them live a better life through science-backed, transparent and clean products gives me such joy and happiness that I am able to prevail through the entrepreneurial journey. It is a business you are running in the end, with all the ups and downs, but getting calls or emails from pet parents thanking us for making their dogs live better, and telling heartbreaking stories, is worth every hurdle through the path. I believe passion is one of the key drivers to be motivated every single day to do what you do.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
From idea to shelf, we launched 15 products to date, two have been granted patents, and one is patent pending. My biggest accomplishment was to help my dog Tony Skate again, Junior, Cesar Millan's dog, run again, and to bring our unique dog food go live after two years of R&D and successfully launch it into retail.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Raising capital and keep following your mission. It is a full-time job to raise capital and, to date, the hardest for me. With this comes a lot of noise from the media and a lot of advice from investors, friends, advisors, etc. for me, it was sometimes difficult to stay my course and not divert from my mission. You can diversify and adapt your business as it grows, but if you have a core mission and vision, this should align with everything you do.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Build your support and cheering army around you! People you can trust and that will be there for you, even in bad times, as there will be many challenging times.
- Start your business out of pure passion, not for money or fame; there are easier ways to make money; starting your own business is a very lonely and difficult journey. But if you follow your passion, it can be extremely rewarding.
- Trust your intuition and practice self-care! You need to be in balance and stay healthy to perform; make this a daily task to do something for your body, soul, and mind.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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