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All pet lovers are consistently trying to take care of their pets without amiss. Since these people love their pets, they pamper them by buying utility products for them. There are several business ideas which serve the purpose of customers but there were very few concepts for taking care of pets. In the year 2008, Rashi Narang redefined business trends by addressing the needs of pets. She has come up with an innovative concept of lending a pet solution to the customers. Heads Up For Tails is a brainchild of Rashi where people can buy merchandise for pets. Entrepreneur thought about probing in the concept, innovation and the whole idea about the founding of Heads Up For Tails. LHere’s how she conceptualized the startup:
What has been your work experience and the role of educational background in supporting it?
I graduated from London School of Economics in 2005 in Human Resource Management. Post that, I joined Citigroup, London in HR. However, a few months into my job I realised that this was not something that I was enjoying, and felt the need to do something of my own.
How did you come across that the path to be an entrepreneur?
I've grown up in an entrepreneurial family so being an entrepreneur was always on the charts.
I would love to know the story behind the conceptualization of your startup brand
In 2006, I got a furball of love in to my life- a beautiful Labrador named Sara. In my quest to get my newest family member toys, treats and accessories, I was dismayed by the awful merchandise even the best pet stores in the city were carrying. That’s when I decided to start an exclusive line of pet merchandise for other pet parents to be able to indulge with their pets and raise better pets.
I started with dog beds and apparel- about 50 SKU's. We've now developed more than 5000 products across 10 categories such as dog treats, toys, grooming products, collars, accessories, apparel, bedding and more.
How did the name of your startup strike your mind? Please share the story behind it.
It took us ages to come up with the name. We wanted to go into for a .com name and everything we thought of was taken. I spent 6 months brain storming with all my friends and family, listing many names. Finally, a friend suggested Heads Up For Tails, and we loved it that moment!
What has been your major business model?
We believe in a hybrid model of online and offline. We have 4 stores (another 2 coming soon), and also sell online. We are a small team and all work very hard to producing the best designs and developing the best products.
What was the response received by your product/service? Any particular moment or memories you remember?
We were nervous when we started out. No one had done this before. There was not a single premium store or brand in the country in the pet space. We started by exhibiting our products at life style exhibitions. The response was over whelming. People were delighted to see our designs and our collections. Encouraged, we took up a kiosk at Delhi's Select City Walk in Saket, and there's been no looking back after that.
Everyone who crosses the kiosk- smiles! And that is truly a great feeling. Customers come and share feedback, exchange stories and share photos of their pets. Once we were asked to design an entire 600 sq foot bedroom for a dog! We went over the top with a gorgeous 4 poster bed, a wardrobe with bone shaped handles and the works! Another customer asked us to design a sherwani and a tuxedo for her dogs, and that still remains a very popular product in the wedding season!
Is there any source of inspiration which boosted your work spirit?
My dog- Sara is a constant source of inspiration for me. She inspires me to remain persistent and to do my best. She's been my best teacher so far- teaching me life's important lessons!
Please give some tips to the newbie individuals who intend to enter Indian startup ecosystem?
The Indian start up eco system is a tough place to survive. If you're in there to make a quick buck and exit, don't bother. In today's super competitive environment, there's one thing that pays off- persistence! And to be persistent, you have to be very passionate, really believe in what you're doing and give it your best.
What is the role of your family in being a source of success? What kind of guidance and support was offered to you by your family?
I could not have done this without my family being supportive. A start up needs a 100% of you. It needs long hours, enormous determination and hard work. My family, especially my husband has always encouraged me and supported me in more ways than I can count! My mom helped me develop my first few products, my mom in law helped spread the word. Both mothers have done tons of baby-sitting. My husband and my father helped with accounts and operations as the business grew. For this, and so many
Has there been any biggest hurdle while running your business? How did you overcome it?
Part of running a start up is to face constant challenges every day. For me, the biggest challenge was managing this business remotely for 6 long years! Just a year after I started, my husband was transferred overseas with his job. And hence we moved. It was awfully difficult to remotely manage a small business with limited resources by being away. It took away from our growth story as my only objective for 6 years was to keep the business running.
The only way to overcome the challenge was to handle one day at a time. I didn't have enough resources to get management on the ground that could take care of operations so I did whatever I could on my own sitting away. I learnt design, marketing, social media, content marketing and a zillion other things that make an online business successful. I worked around the clock to reach more people and build a brand. Delighted to say that we've grown a lot- slowly but surely and have built a strong profitable business that I am proud of!
We give a solid ten paws to pet care!