Tiny Krew is a retailer and distributor of eco-friendly pet product brands, such as Jax and Bones, Waggo Home and Growler Goods.
Co-founders Charmaine Ng and April Zara Chua are pet lovers who, during their travels, always find themselves buying a slew of pet toys and accessories that were not available back home.
“As pet parents, the top concerns we always had when buying pet products were, ‘Is it safe? Is it non-toxic?’, and there weren’t a lot of eco-friendly options available in Singapore,” says April.
Thinking that they couldn’t be the only ones, they decided to leave their desk-bound jobs for good, and team up to make products that are safe for pets and the environment more accessible to pet parents in Asia.
In this new column, we’ve managed to catch these two passionate ladies and asked them three questions about their entrepreneurial journey.
1. What’s the most challenging part of your Tiny Krew journey and what’s your greatest learning so far?
We’re a startup without the luxury of having a full team, so we had to learn how to work smart and split our time efficiently. There’s so much to be done, especially at the beginning when we were setting up the company, and always too little time – it was an extremely steep learning curve for us.
We only gave ourselves three months to launch – this involved setting up and registering the business, finalising the brands, ordering and receiving the stocks, approaching retailers, and setting up our online store. We were also doing the company design and branding, and the stock deliveries ourselves. There were a lot of crossover of roles and we had to do everything concurrently.
We’re very thankful for the help and encouragement that we received from family and friends. Their advice and support really helped us persevere.
As a team, we’ve learned how to make more responsible business decisions, which can be anything from small things like office stationery – do we really need so many pens? (hahaha), to bigger things like purchasing and sponsorships.
We may not have bosses to answer to nowadays but the risks are a lot higher now that we are the business owners.
2. Tell us about any rejection and disappointment that you’ve faced as business owners.
At times, it’s hard to work with bigger, more established companies because they have reservations about whether we would be able to deliver – we’re such a small team with limited resources (we didn’t have our own fleet of delivery vans etc.).
We just had to show them that we may be small but we are efficient, and that our brands and products speak for themselves.
We also had to break some misconceptions about the pet industry to the lifestyle retail industry in general. For instance, when we first started approaching department stores, they were hesitant about opening up a corner for us – they didn’t think that there was a market for pet products in a human lifestyle store.
All it took was for one to believe in us and our products, and we received more opportunities after that.
3. What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs who are thinking of doing a similar business?
Have discipline and determination, and be willing to learn new skills. We had to take on a lot of roles that we never did before, such as accounting, design, and logistics.
We see that as a good thing. As business owners, you have to know your business inside out, from the ground up. It helps you make better decisions for the company.
Most important of all – don’t give up!
And that’s all from the duo this time. If you have any questions for them, feel free to comment below.
Tiny Krew‘s products are primarily sold online but will be available in more lifestyle stores islandwide next month. We are also anticipating their own line of products hopefully very soon!