Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in pet care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Chani Ronez, founder of Merci Collective, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
At Merci Collective, we take pride in reinventing the way people shop for their dogs. In our office, we are designing elevated dogs accessories made with novel materials such as vegan cactus leather. We add a healing element with healing crystals. Merci Collective curates the right crystals to help you heal and restore balance -in style. Your love is healing. Our accessories are appeasing.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Chani Ronez, and I am the founder of Merci Collective. I am originally from Paris, France, with a passion for helping pets live their fullest lives. Benzo, my dog and best friend was suffering from extreme anxiety. He has always been the most loving and kind companion, but I started to notice that he was not equipped to handle us being apart; he had the worst separation anxiety.
As soon as I would start getting ready to leave the house, he would start jumping on me in panic, crying and barking hysterically. It was heartbreaking to watch him suffer like that, so I reached out for professional help. After being recommended to give him all sorts of pills, including Xanax (which was not an option for me), I endlessly searched for natural solutions that could help Benzo relax as I did not want him to be medicated on a daily basis, pets just deserve better.
One day, as I was at a flea market shopping for healing crystals, which is one of my favorite things to do, I suddenly thought to myself, "Hmm… If crystals have the power to lighten up my day and help create so much balance in my life, why wouldn't they have the same effect on my little Benzo?"
That day at the flea sparked the concept of integrating crystals into everyday pet accessories and spearheaded Benzo and me into this amazing journey we are on with Merci Collective. For me, going to work is always a pleasure because I get to solve problems, think and design new products with my all-time muse and best friend, Benzo.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I would say, getting the first collection out there, manufacturing in the middle of the pandemic, was a true challenge with a lot of moving pieces. We had to think and reinvent every single aspect of our products to make sure it was perfect and beautiful.
Owning a business is really challenging; adding the stress of making your own products just adds a layer to that, but I am so proud of how far we've gone in so little time; it's really empowering.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I would say time management and product-based business require a lot of different components to be successful, and days feel short when you are a small business. It is super important for me to have an overview of what needs to be done in order to tackle each and every task efficiently and eliminate any room for error.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
I think there are a million tips that should be given, but what I wish I was told would be:
- Be true with your budget and the estimate of how much you need; I'd say from this number, double it; there are so many little expenses that end up adding so much, it is really important to have enough cash flow to start, it allows you to make better decisions and feel more comfortable. I am saying that because I really underestimated the expenses of my company. Luckily I was able to get a business loan to cover them.
- The second tip would be time management; never underestimate how much time some things take; it is really disappointing going home to an unfinished to-do list. Things aren't going to be done by anyone but you if you are a solopreneur, so make sure your goals are realistic and that you are giving yourself enough time to achieve them. Rushing is never a good idea and will eventually lead to mistakes or, even better, being disappointed in yourself. Business is all about embracing every new thing you create and being proud of yourself for doing it.
- My last tip, and probably the most important one: DELEGATE!
There are so many things that need to be done in a business, from setting up email campaigns, maintaining social media, accounting, etc. There is just too many core skill required for a single person to nail it all. Delegating to contractors or online services is really important; you will generate more time for yourself to focus on running your business.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Believe in yourself; if you think your product, idea, or service is worth creating a business for, put your head down and start developing it. Entrepreneurship is the hardest thing but also the most rewarding thing that can happen to you if you put in the effort.
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 email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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