Let’s hear from Ashita what made her quit a successful corporate career, how difficult it was to follow her heart to start a new business and how is she coping with the highs and lows of her business venture.
When did you start your venture and what made you start it? I have been an animal lover since as far as I can remember. As a child I preferred being in the kennels than play with children my age. I had worked for 5 years in the corporate industry, but soon realized that animals were primary to me, and everything else, secondary. Hence, I decided to quit my job and start something to do with animals.And since I enjoyed cleaning the dogs,removing ticks, cutting their hair etc the most, I took a grooming course for 4 months before I started my venture- Wags & Wiggles Pet Salon & Spa on November 28th 2011. Describe your venture, Wags & Wiggles At Wags & Wiggles, it is understood that pets are more than just animals; they are cherished companions who truly deserve the very best! We offer a state-of-the-art pet spa and grooming salon, where we only use the best of equipments and pet products available. The fundamental goal at Wags & Wiggles is to ensure that every pet has a positive grooming experience. At the end of each visit we make sure that the pet goes home looking magnificent and feeling relaxed, refreshed, and revitalized. What has been the key to your business’s success? The key to the business’s success is “Always send the dog looking and smelling much better than it came”. Other things that worked for us are: • Good Customer Relationship: Our customers are more like family now • Value for money: We have fixed rates and we don’t charge extra for additional services and for tougher dogs • Good marketing: On both traditional and social media • Offering Freebies: We offer a lot of gifts to the clients (car stickers) as well as the dogs (treat bags, collar tags, accessories like bandanas, bows, clips etc) when they visit us Has your business reached break-even? Yes, by the 10th month we had reached break-even.
What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them? Some major challenges in this business and which I face are: • Earlier, dogs were always given last priority in families. Gradually, people have started accepting them as family members and do not mind spending money on their four legged companions. Since this is a new concept sometimes it becomes a challenge to explain to them the benefits of bringing their dog for grooming regularly. • Most of the products & equipments for grooming are not available in India. So we need to import them or depend on people travelling abroad to pick up stuff for us. Do you have a mentor who guides/ advices you on matters of the business? I come from a family of professionals. I am the first person and the first girl in my entire family to start my own venture.My biggest mentor and strength to start Wags & Wiggles is my husband, Joji Xavier who is an interior designer. Every time I have a business-related query he is the first person I run to for advice. Have you benefitted from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations? Social media especially having a Facebook page has definitely helped us reach out to our target customers. We use special software for booking appointments and sending out confirmation and reminder SMS. It helps us a lot in our daily operations. We also use this software for customer database and for expenses and sales reports. Are you working towards expanding your business? We are on the lookout for like-minded animal lovers to start our franchise stores so that more people around Bangalore can have easier access to our salons. We are also in talks to get into designing and manufacturing of fashion products for dogs with a couple of people. What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? • Passion for the work and excelling in it • Commitment towards the work • Good managerial skills to run the business profitably and to keep both the clients and the employees happy If you have a pet at home, now you know where to take him for a good grooming session. Wags & Wiggles Pet Salon & Spa, located at 5th Block, Koramangala, Bangalore. Contact no. +91 98454 40541 You can also follow them at www.facebook.com/wagsandwigglespetsalon