Papa Pawsome, a brand offering natural grooming products for our pooches.

Ms. Nishita Agarwal, Co-Founder of Papa Pawsome recently had a conversation with Ms. Priyanka Kaushal, Editor of Creature Companion Magazine in which she shared her insights on how they are strategizing to make Papa Pawsome, an innovative brand, mainly striving to solve the unmet needs of pets and pet parents in the most natural way possible. Following are a few snippets from their conversation…

Tell us the story behind inception of your venture ‘Papa Pawsome’. You always mention about your golden retriever, Aurum. What role did he play in formation of ‘Papa Pawsome’?

It all started in 2017 because of Aurum. He developed a kidney issue and we had to take his utmost care. So we were looking for a natural and effective paw cream as he was having cracked paws. There were no paw creams available in the market at that point of time. As our primary business is of pharmaceutical machinery manufacturing, so we decided to formulate our own Pawcream. Once we were able to do that, we shared it with our friends and relatives; it turned out to be really good.

So this way, we embarked upon journey of indentifying more such gaps in the Indian pet market. We took a couple of months to do more research on that and then introduced as range of 9 products like a serum and a healing cream for tangling issues and small scratches, respectively.

Finally, the proper functioning of our venture started in 2019, before that it was more of formulation and development of products.

How did you come up with this name for your venture?

We wanted Aurum to be its core as it was because of him that we started with this venture. In India, pet parenting has become more like human parenting, but unfortunately, enough knowledge is not available. There are a lot of things that pet parents need to understand. We wanted to make Papa Pawsome to be a brand that would help pets and pet parents to connect well.

Considering this, we thought of making Aurum, the ‘Papa’, a fatherly figure, who gives good advice. Since he was awesome, so does the namestands, ‘Papa Pawsome’! We wanted Papa to be cool, so logo of our venture depicts a golden retriever as Aurum with his glares on.

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

Right now, idea is not to compete or stand out, but we strive at solving problems and needs of pets and pet parents and this garners our complete focus.

Currently, we are having:

Silicon free Serum

Ayurvedic certified Healing cream

Shampoo, which is Sulphate andParaben free

Pawcream, which was the first product formulated by us.

Recently, we have also introduced a range of aromatherapy massage oils. We want to emphasize on benefits of massage and how it improves the coat and entire behaviour of pets.

Introduce us to the philanthropic side of Papa Pawsome. It has partnered with Donatekart. What is the motive and vision behind this step?

This initiative is for our stray buddies. We all know how the condition of our streeties has deteriorated during this pandemic. So we decided to do our bit! We partnered with Donatekart and formed small kits. Each kit contains hygiene products, a shampoo, food bag, and rice. It comes for a minimal price of Rs. 650 and can suffice a dog for almost a week.

We have partnered with various NGOs across the country. People can visit our website (https://papa-pawsome.donatekart.com/) and click on the link.  It’ll rout them to a webpage where they can select number of kits they want to donate. Our target is to reach a number of 1000 and we have already crossed 500 since we started this campaign. Once we gather a particular number of kits, we will distribute them to different NGOs according to their requirements. All the photos and live feedback from NGOs will be shared with the donors as a token of thanks. We want to maintain complete transparency.

Papa Pawsome was established in 2017. You have completed 3 years in this business. How do you think the place of grooming products has evolved in the Indian pet industry over this period?

This industry, on a whole, is becoming very dynamic. The kind of growth that we would see in any conventional industry within 5-7 years plan, we are noticing it in our Indian pet industry almost within a year or two.

As for grooming category is concerned, there has been a lot of awareness amongst customers. They have come a long way from using ordinary/basic shampoo, which they weren’t even aware was good or bad for their dogs, to now demanding for natural products for their pooches. So, definitely, customer preferences have evolved over this period.

In terms of products, new categories are being introduced in the market. Earlier in the name of grooming, only shampoos were available, but now we can also see products for Dental Hygiene, for cleaning and enhancing shine of their coats etc.

So, the grooming category is growing at a faster pace than expected.

How do you retail your products? What challenges did you face while moving ahead in this journey?

Right now we have presence in 10 cities across 150 retail stores. Our idea is not just to be a digital brand but also to be available to the retailers. This is because in the pet market, a veterinarian and pet store owner are the two ‘easy to go’ people for pet parents to get knowledge about the products. So it is imperative to have products available in retail stores.

Challenges: Indian pet market is evolving and we do not have clear regulations in place. For example, we do not have a certifying body specifically formed for authorizing pet products. We feel there is a need to have a separate regulatory and certifying body for pet products as well.

Second challenge to talk about is faith of customers on imported products. Perception of people is such that if a product is imported, it’ll be good. We feel that even if we produce better quality products, still due to this perception of people we have to face bias at every step.

Indian pet market is evolving and lately we have seen a change in customer preferences as well, but still there is a long way to go!

Do you have any plans to launch breed specific products?

Right now, we are working more on coat specific rather than breed specific products. We have pets with different types of coats, such as long, short, wired, drop coat etc. So we formulate products as per the coat type of pets.

Which mobile application do you use the most?

WhatsApp – It is very handy mobile application for communication, data transfer etc. So it makes things easier for us.

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