Some say entrepreneurs are born while some are of the thought process that the entrepreneurial spirit is in everyone and nurtured via chance or dedication. Entrepreneurship means different things to any entrepreneur. For some it’s a Silicon Valley start-up, for some it may be just a small shop on a Main road. Entrepreneurship is much broader than the creation of a new business venture. At its core, it is a mind-set - a way of thinking and acting. It is about imagining new ways to solve problems and create value.
On our journey to find some entrepreneurs with a different approach and mindset, we happened to meet Mr Sameer Gudhate. An entrepreneur, with proven abilities. In his venture he has put in the whole lot of his corporate experience. For him, an entrepreneur is someone who can take any idea, whether it be a product and/or service, and have the skill set, will and courage to take extreme risk to do whatever it takes to turn that concept into reality and not only bring it to market, but make it a viable product and/or service that people want or need.
Today we are in conversation with Sameer, founder of FINS N FEATHERS and talk about how he is creating difference in this circle of activity.
Tell us something about yourself
An Out-of-the-Box thinker is what people call me. Since my childhood I was always fascinated by the idea of not doing something which every individual around me was doing. Fortunately, my parents encouraged for the same. I remember in my school day I had decided that I won’t become a Doctor or an Engineer. These are the hot careers everyone wanted to opt for. My father, an ex – serviceman, was always supportive in any of my decisions to swim against the flow. Still his support continues. He is the one who induced into me the entrepreneurship. It’s only because of my parents I started earning at a school level itself. They were the one who told me no job is a cheap job and I over a period also felt the same way.
Post my graduation; I started working full time as against part time during my college days. Eventually in my career span of 14 years, I rose to a position of General Manager –Brand & Marketing. In those 14 years, I worked with many National and International brands in their Marketing division. Feel very proud to see those brands doing really well in their respective areas.
Then after 14 long years, I took a decision to get into the entrepreneurship mode on a full time basis. Yes, I was always an entrepreneur in those 14 years, but on a low note.
With my passion for pets, the best option was to get into the pet industry and do something out of the box as per my instincts. I started with Fins n Feathers. Fins n Feathers was launched on my wife’s birthday in the year 2013.
What is Fins n Feathers?
Fins n Feathers, what you see today is completely different that what it was when it started. Fins n Feathers was a retail outlet in the suburbs of Mumbai. Fins n Feathers was an endeavour which dealt in setting up and maintenance of show aquariums and Bird cages for corporate as well as domestic use. The services included Installation and maintenance, Transformation and enhancement, sourcing of best quality products and Consultation. The prime reason to start Fins n Feathers was the low quality of awareness, products and services around me. I personally wanted to change that. I took the onus on me and started offering guidance and services to all interested in this hobby.
With the heavy competition coming in from all the sides, the only option was to cut on the pricing to sustain in the market. I was personally against cutting on the costs as it directly cuts on the profit and affects the market in a long run. I was of the opinion with my 14 long years of experience in Profit & Loss Management, Market Analysis, Corporate Communication, Customer Satisfaction and Brand Management that I should not be responsible for making the market go on a lower side and also affecting the overall profitability of the industry. Hence, in just 24 months of its inception I decided to pursue the alternative routes without compromising on my goal.
I immediately started with something which is the need of the hour. I gave an overall revamp to FINS N FEATHERS and converted it into a platform providing Indian centric comprehensive content and information on how to manage a pet companion lifestyle and keep them as much as happy and healthy.
What is the intention to start Fins n Feathers?
A pet in any family is like a family member. Every pet parent across the whole of the globe wants the best for his or her pet. I personally do share the same goal. This website is dedicated to helping hobbyists make the most of their hobby. On my website you would find a library of exclusive articles written by experts. The website has articles from care to upbringing and diet to maintenance. The sole reason to start FINS N FEATHERS is to provide most informative and useful pet advice and pet care articles and information which is India Centric on all types of pets, from fishes to birds, from dogs and cats to rabbits and from reptiles to amphibians to terrapins. The ultimate goal is to advocate effective and responsible pet keeping.
How do you use technology to reach pet parents?
The platform on which finsnfeathers.co.in is running is a technology platform. There is a growing prevalence of online and social media networks used to find pets and pet products, with websites, product review sites and Facebook pages leading the charge. Pet owners are passionate about their pets and think of them as family members. They love sharing photos about them on social media. Shaping social media excellence, influence and education amazing pet parents is all possible only because of technology. Social media is where brands connect with pet parents and pet parents with each other, 24/7/365. It’s surprising how many animal accounts can be found on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and even Twitter.
So, naturally social media is the technology used to reach pet parents. Once an informative article is posted, the same is shared on the facebook page and my personal profile. I personally have close to 4000 friends on facebook and around 400 likes on facebook page of fins n feathers. Majority of them are pet parents. Once they get intimation that an article is uploaded, they visit the website to read the article in detail. Also the article is shared in various groups and forums where pet parents meet and interact. Also many pet parents have started believing in sharing is caring. So the next best thing they do is to share the article in their circle of influence.
It was a great feeling for me when on February 10, 2016; the website got more than 10000 unique visitors. A website which is catering to a very niche audience getting more than 10000 hits in just a span of 100 days is quite a lot of achievement. And this was told to me by fellow bloggers who I am in contact with for my professional reasons. The hits on the website are continuously on a rise. The main reason behind that is that there is no website delivering the kind of information on pets as finsnfeathers.co.in do on a regular basis and that too which is India centric.
Also we have created an open, engaging and truly remarkable community space for pet parents to share everything they love about your fishy, furry and feathery friends in form of articles, interviews, travelogues etc. The only criterion to be a community member is that you should be a pet lover. The community at the present stage is in a offline stage but pet owners are getting connected with other pet owners who love their pets almost as much as they love their!
What is your revenue model?
The revenue model right now is very limited, evolving with the maturity of the business and the expansion of business activities. Broadly we can classify revenue sources as follows: 1. Sale of pet products, 2 Events, 3. Advertising
We have some products for sale which is again in continuity with our policy of advocating effective and responsible pet keeping. The products available for sale are such that they are relatively hard to find in pet shops. But, the usage and affectivity is on a higher side. Just to give you an example, we have an Automatic pet fountain. It helps the furry friends to get fresh filtered water even when the pet parent is away. The fountain removes all kind of issues that is faced with stagnant and stale water. The filter in the fountains helps you absorb all kind of debris and adds additional oxygen to the water to ensure healthier and tastier water for the pet.
Our wooden ladders have proven to be a popular product for use with cage birds ranging from budgies to parrots, cockatoos and macaws. The concrete steps are designed to help keep the bird's beak and claws trimmed. Also our wild birdhouse can magically illuminate any backyard /garden and attract more birds for you to enjoy their melodious love songs. Our Unique Handmade Birdhouses is the perfect focal point for any garden. Bird houses are the only embellishment which can bring you closer to nature, which can also serve as a showpiece and is 100% useful to the birds. Our bird houses are designed for both predator-protection and weather resistance to protect even your youngest tenants.
There are so many cool events happening these days for pets and pet parents to head to and meet others who love their pets. www.finsnfeathers.co.in acts as their outreach partner. As an outreach partner, we see to it that the event is spread across the domain and the event is reaching to its target audience which is ample on our website. www.finsnfeathers.co.in was acting as an outreach partner for the Pet-together, Season 3 held in Nasik in December 2015. Pet-together is one and only Pet Show of its kind in Maharashtra where one can view all possible pets under one roof, that too in large numbers.
What are your future plans?
It's never too early to start thinking about your future and what you want to do!
We plan to add many more products to our kitty. More and more article from experts will be always coming in. We will be personally connecting with our readers and would ask about the problems they face while petting. The same would be addressed in the form of articles or interview with industry experts. We plan to have an exhaustive database of the veterinary doctors practising in India. Also if possible we would be giving pet parents basic online consultation absolutely free of cost by a panel of doctors from our website. We are in talks with the industry leaders from India and abroad. We are planning for something where in these leaders can directly connect with the pet parents in India, via video chat or skype.
Apart from being an informative website we plan to have a bit of social networking on our website. Our social network would have forums, resources, and expert help, also provide pet parents with the ability to showcase their pets by developing pet profiles, creating groups, exchanging photos and videos. Furthermore, we are planning to introduce gaming to increase the interaction, fun and benefits.
Adapting to new and emerging technologies is a constant plan for us. With the technology changing every day, we here plan to go with the latest technologies.
Also soon we would be coming up with various advertising programs to deliver a message to an active, qualified audience of individuals and families looking for pet and pet supplies.
To conclude, whatever we do, we are going to stick to our objective of serving to the community of pet parents through increasing the knowledge and visibility of Pet care.