Happy Tails!

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They say that love is four paws, a wet nose and a wagging tail. It is this love that drove the visionary female entrepreneurs Zilia Monteiro and Carolina Jimenez Woolrich to establish Bahrain’s first pet barkery – Bubbles & Miche W.L.L. They share their story with Farah Baig.

The home-grown brand, Bubbles & Miche W.L.L, can be defined as a true labour of love. The business started with a chance encounter and a shared passion of two devoted pet parents.

“Our paths crossed in Bahrain, when we were walking our dogs on the beach. Bonding over our love for our pets led us to discover a huge gap in this market for healthy, more natural food choices for them. We quickly realised a shared vision for making a positive impact in the pet food industry through the establishment of Bubbles & Miche WLL.,” says Carolina.

The business started as a home-grown brand operating from Carolina’s home kitchen in 2020. “We would make treats for our dogs, Bubbles and Miche, then our friends’ dogs and very soon we realised we were receiving orders! Being restricted during COVID gave us the opportunity to really work on our idea and how we wanted to set this up as a more structured business, which eventually happened in 2021,” says Zilia.

Countless days were spent working out the first product line, the recipes, branding, budgets, infrastructural set up and more, to take it from being ‘home-made’ to a ‘legit brand’ that would gain market trust. “We really took the plunge here within a short-span of six months and opened up our first ‘pet barkery’ in Budaiya by January 2022,” she says.

“Our dogs inspired us to create some of our best-sellers; Bubbles Crunchy Chicken, Miche’s Crispy Beef, Patitas which are basically chicken feet and Crack-a-lickin’ liver which comes in two flavours. But recently we have seen a greater interest in our veterinary-formulated meals,” adds Carolina.

Bahrain’s market consists of mostly imported pet food with home-grown businesses such as Bubbles & Miche making up the smallest percent – that in itself is the biggest difference.

“By keeping it locally-made we are able to keep it fresh and healthy, cost-effective and really achieve transparency on our ingredients. Having the more ‘natural food approach, customers are able to relate to and understand the ingredients we use with more clarity than a regular bag of dry food that often comes with vague descriptions,” explains Zilia.

Having participated at outdoor markets, we have received feedback from several humans. “But a few times the doggies themselves have launched up on our table to try grab some treats because the smells drive them crazy! One particular instance was when the dog just kept persisting to try and steal our cake and eventually managed to get away with more than half of it!” she laughs.

In response to the positive reaction from pups-tomers, Zilia and Carolina are now developing a line for cats. “Product development has been an ongoing process and we have needed to do this constantly in the first year to achieve more consistency in the recipe,” says Carolina.

Bubbles & Miche products are available online at bubblesmiche.com and at some local veterinary clinics, pet shops and pet parks. Moving forward, they aim to establish a greater presence in the manufacturing of pet food business with the goal of being a ‘Made in Bahrain’ product exporting to the surrounding GCC, a vision that is not without challenges.

A verified review:
“I have a complaint about the liver and berries treats. My little Daisy is now an addict. This is very serious. I am considering TA (Treats Anonymous). She loves them and it’s so hard to find nice treats here. I just wanted to say keep up the good work.”

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