Program: New York
Intake: March 2011
Current Role: Franchisee, Just Dogs
Sahana is a franchisee of justdogs.in, India’s largest specialty retailer of services and solutions for pets. Sahana recently launched a store in JP Nagar, Bengaluru, India, and being the owner of 3 “model” pets herself, she is an example of where “passion meets performance.”
Describe your business and your role within it
“Just Dogs” (justdogs.in) is India’s largest specialty retailer of services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets. We oﬀer a broad range of pet products as well as pet SPA, pet grooming, pet training and boarding services. Products include pet food, pet hygiene, puppy needs, pet accessories and toys. “Just Dogs” was founded by Mr. Ashish Anthony, a K9 Specialist from Police Dogs Centre, Holland. It has about 20+ stores across India and is headquartered in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
I am one of the franchisees of “Just Dogs” and recently launched our store in JP Nagar, Bengaluru. Our customers are called pet parents and the best part is when they get their pets (kids) to our store for shopping. Lucky us to have happy customers and excited consumers together ?.
How did you get into this line of business?
I have always been a pet parent and huge fan of animals. As I grew, my passion, love and care towards them became greater and greater. So, what else could be better than being in the pet industry? It’s like when passion meets performance.
Living in New York whilst on the Mountbatten Program played a key role in fulfilling my dream of being an Entrepreneur in pet industry. I used to visit pet stores and places offering pet services in New York and New Jersey to understand products, services, pet adoption, grooming, animal behaviour, animal rescue and many more. In addition to this, the Post Graduate program in International Business helped me research, learn, and gain experience in market analysis, retail business, capital markets etc. Another contributory factor has been the experience gained from my consultancy role in Quality with companies like Deutsche Bank, Microland and currently with EY.
Not to forget, my biggest inspiration are my three dogs named Pearl, Pari and Cherry.
How did you go about setting it up and getting established?
Setting it up was the most difficult part where thoughts and ideas were turning into actions. The primary need was to look for a location which was customer centric and had easy access to pets and pet parents. The second and the biggest part was the financial and commercial side, knowing it was a huge risk to take.
All requirements and research were in my mind until I visited “Just Dogs” in Koramangala to buy a luxurious bed for Cherry. That was it!! I decided that this was what I wanted to do! I then researched and sought extensively for a location, product education, capital investment. My husband and business partner contributed to the crucial part to help set up my first dream business and my family and team’s support was truly overwhelming.
What else is in the pipeline?
We have Pet Spa and Grooming section launching in few months. Our entire team is driven to expand the store in multiple locations and reach-out to many more pets and pet parents. Proud to join hands with “Just Dogs” vision of reaching about 100 stores in few years from now.
What has been the proudest moment in your working life thus far?
The first proudest moment was when I received the “Board of Director” award for exceptional performance at work from Mountbatten!
The second proudest moment in my new venture is featuring my 3 pets as store ambassadors.
What has been your biggest mistake/learning experience?
My biggest mistake was assuming Entrepreneurship is easy and glorious. It’s actually not easy, it comes with immense risk and demands equivalent efforts to execute, establish and more importantly, to sustain, and you learn along the way.
Any words of advice/wisdom would you impart to others thinking of setting up their own business?
Spread your wings, be an entrepreneur in your passion area and ignore all the odds. It may be difficult and involves risk, but with good planning and execution, you will learn, grow, and sustain!!!! Wish you all luck ?