Often, the biggest challenge for pet owners is the absence of care at home when they travel outside the country. The brains behind Pet People tell us about their plans in Bahrain.
May Mahmoud is a serial entrepreneur. The 30-year-old pastry graduate from Le Cordon Bleu Paris has launched a pet services venture along with her partner Safiya Khunji. Pet People will officially launch in early 2014, but so confident is the business angel Tenmou about its feasibility that they’ve invested BD20,000 for a stake in the company. Cofounder May outlines her plans.
Woman This Month (WTM): Tell us about the beginning of your venture.
May Mahmoud (MM): As a pet owner, the challenge was to find the right pet food and accessories in Bahrain. My partner Safiya has dogs and birds. She always complained that the products here are not of the best quality. That gave us an idea about the gap in the market catering to dogs, cats, rabbits and birds; we decided to fill this space.
WTM: What’s the biggest concern for a pet owner? What are you doing about it?
MM: That would be the hours the owner is outside the house, leaving the pet alone. A lot of pet owners in Bahrain, both expatriates and locals, have to travel outside. It can be harrowing to leave the pet at a shelter where anything might happen. We offer pet grooming, dog walking and petsitting services in the owner’s absence. We can also take the dog to the vet if the owner cannot make it.
WTM: How do you keep in touch with the pet owner’s community?
MM: We hold regular food tasting events for dogs and cats and also cater food and cake for dog birthday parties. Our pepperoni pizza, cheesy chicken scones and peanut butter cookies have been very popular with pets. On our Facebook page, we provide regular updates about our latest products, including pet clothing, accessories, dog houses and snacks.
WTM: Which are the growth areas in this kind of business?
MM: Right now the business of custom-built dog houses is doing very well. We build depending on the breed and size of the dog and the space available. Obstacle courses and playrooms for pet exercise are growing areas.
WTM: How do you intend to use the Tenmou investment?
MM: We’re excited about this investment as it’ll fuel our expansion. We’ve plans to build a pet hotel, complete with a swimming pool, play arena, exercise area and pet grooming services. We’ll also invest in a pet kitchen catering fresh food by order and we’re tying up with UK-based Dog Café to import dog snacks for supply at Bahrain’s supermarkets.