Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in pet care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nana Pfeifer, Co-Founder of Homescape Pets, located in Austin, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is Homescape Pets. We create natural pet supplements and treats that address the 4 most common health issues your dog or cat will face in their lifetime: anxiety, inflammation, mobility, and dental disease. Our products are unique in that they have 3 ingredients or less. Easily recognized ingredients that you can pronounce. No mystery B.S. here! Our customers are pet moms and dads who truly make their pets part of their family. They host birthday parties for them, celebrate holidays with them, and, most of all - they are incredibly passionate about the health and well-being of their dogs and cats. I'm a perfect example of my customer, the so-called "crazy dog mom." Our customers not only care but are knowledgeable about the ingredients they feed their pets, and they value providing the best for them.
Tell us about yourself
I grew up around dogs, but they weren't 'pets'; they were working dogs. Not family members. So when I adopted my first pup, Beau, I wanted her to be part of my family. In fact, when I was single, if she didn't like the guy I was dating, then he and I couldn't continue. I valued her and her opinion! She was very opinionated. So when I met my now husband, Marcus, she LOVED him. That's how I knew he was a keeper. When Beau was diagnosed with terminal cancer, we knew that we couldn't save her life, but we could give her a better quality of life for the time she had remaining. No more chemicals or heavy drugs that made her feel crappy. Just better, fresher food, more time outside, and some natural supplements and CBD to keep her energetic and pain-free. When we couldn't find the clean supplements we were looking for, we created them. That's what led us to start Homescape. Beau is the legacy of our brand. In fact, she's the dog in our logo. Her memory motivates us. No dog or cat should experience stress, painful joints, body aches, or rotting teeth. Not if we can help them easily, naturally, and inexpensively.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
The Homescape Pets team is me and my husband, Marcus. That's it. So we're a team of two, married, producing our products in-house, only selling online, experiencing advertising limitations due to CBD, and doing all of this during a pandemic. EVERYTHING has been an accomplishment! Amidst all of that, our products have been included in a number of popular "Best Of" lists, recommended by well-known veterinarians. Most importantly, we've received hundreds and hundreds of reviews from happy pet parents who let us know how our products have improved their pets' lives. That's what makes us proudest.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Staying true to your values when faced with resistance. We've been told to change our formulations and add ingredients to make our products easier to mass produce. We've been told to cut our product line to make it more palatable for advertisers. We've been told to make dog food instead of supplements and treats because food is easier for pet parents to understand. But we've stayed focused on creating the products that are best for pets, even if that means we grow a little slower and have to give pet parents more education. It's worth it.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- DO IT SCARED - JUST DO IT. You're going to feel uncertainty and fear about so many areas of your business but do it anyway. The world needs what you're creating. You'll regret not doing it.
- CELEBRATE YOURSELF. No one else will be as passionate about your brand as you are. Celebrate everything you can. Finished writing an email to your customers? Celebrate it! Spoke in public for the first time? Celebrate it! Locked in a new supplier? Celebrate! There will be a lot of things that bring you down, so celebrate those wins.
- IT'S OK TO SAY NO. Not everything offered to you is necessary for you. There are a lot of 'shiny objects out there that will take up your time, money, and energy. Say no when something doesn't serve you or your goal. And don't feel bad about it.
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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