Pioneers in the Pet Industry since 1937

Glenands, A 3rd Generation Family Enterprise – what started as an innovative, exclusive dog biscuit manufacturing unit in the year 1937 is today a name to reckon in the Indian Pet Industry. Creature Companion team got an opportunity to interact with Mr. Prithvi Jayakaran, CEO of the Glenand Group, where he dwelled upon his vision for the company, the growth and challenges of the Indian Pet Industry, and his valuable learning.

Glenand group is serving pets since 1937. Tell us the story behind its inception. How does it feel to be one of the torch bearers in pet treats business operating since pre-independence days.

It all starts in the year 1937, with the British Raj still in India. Animal lovers everywhere! The need for pet products was then a luxury. India was importing most of its pet products from U.K.

The late Mr. C.T.S. David, my grandfather, came up with a unique and novel idea of manufacturing biscuits exclusively for dogs and having a section in the Supermarket owned by him, completely devoted to pets. With this in mind, he started Glenand Products, a manufacturing facility for an Indian brand of dog biscuits. It was definitely a daring move, especially, at that time with no knowledge of prior reviews or study on the pet industry in India. To his luck, this Indian brand of dog biscuits soon became very acceptable and sought after by all pet-owning households.

It was then, that a small section of this local supermarket retailed these dog biscuits, along with some other essential pet products.

Like every family business, the mantle of an establishment was carried down from father to son. The Late Mr. E.V. Jayakaran, my father, was quick to realize that there was a rising need for people to want more and more quality products for their pets. Being a businessman that he was, he took advantage of the situation and started an exclusive Pet Store.  In 1982, the birth of India’s first exclusive Pet Store – Glenands PetStore took form. It was situated in the posh area of Church Street in Bangalore and is definitely considered a milestone in the Indian pet industry. Many products, which were meant exclusively for pets, were imported and sold here.

Today, I am the third generation scion to this enterprise.  A title very few can boast of. Taking this forward and being the torchbearer in this industry was not forced upon me. It was my passion to work in this industry, to bring progress and vision and to lay the foundation stone to many pet-lovers’ dreams. 

 Whether it is manufacturing, imports or retail, I feel responsible that I need to set the right example for people to follow.

Great! What is it that kept you going all this while? How has your strategy changed over time considering the place that pets hold in society?

With the exposure to the other countries where pets take both preference and precedence, I realized that I needed to make a model with different subdivisions and yet they must complement one another.

And this led to the birth of The Glenand Group, comprising of GLENAND PRODUCTS – Manufacturers of premium pet biscuits and treats, GLENANDD INDIA – the Import and Distribution business, and GLENANDS – A chain of premium pet stores.

Pets are an integral part in society now. Our continued research and development at every stage helps us understand what we need to do next. We innovate. We incorporate. We are committed to a fantastic seller–consumer relationship. This is the key to today’s success in the pet industry.

What kind of product range and variety Glenand has, to offer to its customers? How do you think your products make you stand out in today’s competitive market?

As a leader in the pet industry for over 80 years, I don’t personally think Glenands needs to worry about competition. Our pet stores are not just about offering the most number of products, but the highest quality of products. Being pet lovers first, being pet ownersourselves, and being the first in the industry, we want to bring the safest products to pets and pet parents.

From collars, leashes, toys, health & wellness supplements, beauty aids, kennels, cat furniture, grooming and training aid, food, treats, beds and beddings, feeding bowls, litter, accessories, pet fashion, fish aquariums, small pet habitats, books and accessories, we have products for the entire life cycle of every family pet.

How many SKUs do you have? What is your plan for the launch of new products?

At Glenands, we retail over 6000 SKUs. However, on our own we manufacture and import close to 1000 SKUs that include our dog biscuits and treats, health and wellness products, accessories, hygiene products, and grooming tools under our home brands, Glenands, Glenand, Pet Heal, Petz,  Petzorama, Ultra, Ayurveda for Animals and Active. As you might imagine, creating a new product is extremely broad. Knowing my customers and my competitors encourages me to develop or introduce new products to our already existing range. However, we believe in evaluating the effectiveness of the new launch before actually putting it into the market.  We have a full-fledged R&D division that is constantly and continuously reviewing new products to introduce to our range and to pet lovers.

How has marketing and communication changed over time? 

The marketing world has changed dramatically over the last ten–fifteen years. Today, marketing involves giving information about a certain product or service. Communication is the advertisement.

Technology has changed the way we connect and communicate. From Verbal to Visual, today social media is part of the whole. Planned, scheduled media events to instantaneous communication between persons and organizations have enabled us to progress in a very rapid way.

All this creates awareness deep in public and suddenly consumers, who now have more information than ever before, begin to demand specialized products. This encourages our industry to evolve and be on par with any other industry in the world.

As of current scenario, do you feel Indian pet food brands are able to give a potential competition to international brands in the market? What impact do you feel the initiatives such as ‘Vocal for Local’ and ‘Make in India’ have had on the Indian pet industry? 

According to Euromonitor International, the pet food category is worth Rs 2,284 crore; industry watchers say dog food accounts for nearly 85% of this market. Industry estimates show that the pet food market is growing at about 13–15% annually, with only 10–12% household penetration.

The locally manufactured pet food market here is still looking for growth. Pet owners in India still underestimate the quality of raw material used, the confinement to high standards of manufacturing, the actual nutritional value in the final product and similar such concerns. While some of the finest ingredients are actually available in India, the consumer fails to recognize this.

There are instances where I have had new and upcoming young entrepreneurs come and give me samples of food they have produced. I have been surprised with the quality of the finished product and of course the well-researched ingredients that have been used. It is certain that Indian brands can give competition to international brands.

Pet food and Pet Treats in India contribute a small but significant amount in Indian economy’s growth rate. The industry itself has created many jobs, thanks to the opportunity of ‘Vocal for Local’ and ‘Make in India’.

However with us, I believe in more and more locally sourced and finished products to introduce to the world.

What lessons have you learnt along your entrepreneurial journey?

I have learnt a lot of lessons along my entrepreneurial journey. One of them being that everyone must have a mentor. Luckily for me, my father was my role model, my mentor, and the person who taught me my most important lessons and values of life.

  • As an entrepreneur, it is important to not make immediate decisions. If you are not careful, you can make decisions that will have a negative impact on your business.
  • Fear and Failure are common inhibitions. Do not give up! Turn it into a motivation to succeed.
  • Never undersell yourself. You are running a business and not a hobby.
  • An idea will remain an idea unless you execute it. The strategy must be ethical.
  • You must maintain your work-life balance.

Where do you see the Indian pet industry five years from now? 

According to research, the global pet service market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 5.2% during the forecast period (2020–2025).

The U.S. and U.K. have always been the leaders of the world pet market. Russia, has witnessed dramatic growth in the pet industry. There are growing opportunities with the rise of pet ownerships in India. Taking on responsibility of being a pet-parent raises a concern for their wellbeing. The Millennials and the Gen-Z have shown a significant amount of innovation in the pet space and are creating entirely new pet product categories. High end products for pets are going main-stream.

All this put together will have a positive impact on the country’s pet industry and will contribute to its growth significantly over the forecast period. We project our business to grow three fold in the next five years.

What according to you is the key to be consistent and successful? 

Being consistent and successful is hand-in-glove. Consistency is the key to success. Consistency is that what keeps you focused on your priorities and goals. Having belief in whatever you do with patience and perseverance is the key to ‘being consistent’. And patience over time is what translates this into success.

Message you wish to convey to the budding entrepreneurs in the Indian pet market.

 If you want to get into this industry, it is very imperative to be a pet owner first to understand its needs and experience its unconditional love. Observe, read, and research before taking off. If you want to stay, you must be open to feedback and suggestions. You need to continue learning. Create something of value. Do not give up at any point. Success does not come overnight. Be ethical at every stage. Keep your confidence level high always. And as my father always told me, struggle is very important for growth. No pain… No gain!

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