Creature Companion Magazine had an interaction with Nishma Singhal, Co-Founder Zoivane Pets. With the fresh funding she is looking to increase her product portfolio, be more visibility and hire professionals. 

1. How did you start this company and why did you choose pet products?

I have done masters in cosmetics and perfumery and I love developing new products, and doing R&D. A few years back my niece adopted a Shitzo named Oreo. We wanted to welcome the new pet and went crazy looking for suitable products. I realized that there might be market gap but in order to validate my gut feeling, I personally went to around interacting with a lot of retailers, pet parents and groomers. This exercise gave us an insight for product developments. We came up with the first batch of shampoos for dogs then cats. 

2. When did you start the venture and how has been the journey?

We stared officially in September 2020.

It’s been quiet interesting and customers are welcoming. Near and dear ones were sceptical about the venture due to the pandemic but we took the plunge. We were able to grab the attention of retailers and pet groomers as they had time. They were forthcoming to try the product and gave is honest feed backs. This initial success was motivating to say the least.

So far we have not done any paid marketing. It is a word of mouth promotion. I believe it is the quality that speaks at the end and we are very sure of that.

3. So, your educational background was useful for understanding and developing products.

Yes! It did help.  I had to study more to understand what can be and can not be done when it comes to pets such as use of fragrances, ph level, density among other things. I went back to school, studied and I spoke with vets so there has been plenty of learning and we continue to grow.

4. Are you planning to expand your product range apart from grooming products? While selling are you going via distributors or supplying directly from the company toilers?

This year we want to focus entirely on the grooming range. Afterwards we will expand further.

We sell offline as well as online, fast growing is definitely online again because of the pandemic and the virus is spreading again. There is a little bit of fear in retailers’ mind and a particular barrier comes that people are not visiting their shops. As a start up we have decent offline sales. We sell pan India. We have penetrated more than 56 cities and more than 28 states. Initially in order to just understand the market we fixed a target of 200 retailers;  will later increase gradually. 

Customers are digital savvy so they prefer to buy online. Our online sales are gradually increasing. There are transportation challenges but we are finding our way.

5. Being a Made in India grooming brand where the market is dominated by foreign brands, did you face questions on product quality from pet parents and retailers? Do you have different packaging for groomers and pet parents?

We wanted to our products to be such that we give international quality at a pocket friendly price. We have a certified European perfumer on board with us, who specializes in fragrances. The ingredients are imported.  Imported brands are expensive, selling at Rs 700+ whereas, Indian brands are selling at Rs 240/210. We wanted products to be affordable;  it can be diluted up to 10 times. The fragrances are long lasting and remain on the pet’s body for a long time. We have got very good feedbacks from groomers. We have 5 Liter packaging for groomers which is reasonable for them.

6. Recently you have received funding, how is the money going to be used? What is your take on the change in the outlook of the pet parents as they are more updated than before?

We have not burnt any money on marketing yet. We want to test a little bit on marketing and promoting our website; making our website better; getting reviews adds on to it and spending on Amazon.

 We are planning to hire professionals who can take the brand to the next level and of course spend on R&D. 

My observation about grooming products is that people are more aware and they want to try something new.  Pet parents want to know about the products and check reviews before buying them. We want our furry friends to smell better than pet parents. We are proud of our fragrances that stay on the pet for long.

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