Well, a week after my last post I can say that I'm really happy with the way things are going for the shop. Fan has been fine-tuning the product layout, getting exclusive training on a few of the foods, and he's had quite a lot of walk-in sales. The traffic and sales are not huge, but they are considerable considering we didn't do any advertising. At. All. He's had some really great tourists go bananas taking photos of the store (BECAUSE IT'S THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PET STORE IN THE WORLD) and they are throwing everything on IG which is so great, and it feels so nice that people react so positively to it.
Last night we actually ran our first Facebook ads. We are A/B testing the ad designs on the same audience to see what stuff gets more attention.
I'm very excited about our big opening party on May 9th. From that point on I hope to have our webshop up and running and really start doing real ads when the tests are completed. I know we can get tons of traffic eventually to our site, but I don't want to do that yet until you can order our products online. That makes sense, right?
I'm doing about 60 hours a week right now between my job and the store stuff. It sounds like the stuff of crazy, but so far I feel like I have more free time now than I ever did when I worked corporate. Weird EH?
Happy King's Night and Day to all my Dutchies and if you are still able to walk tomorrow, stop by the shop. We will have the dogs dressed up as the Royals and handing out dog cookies. Come take a photo with us and throw us on your Insta with our #wearepets tag because, free marketing! YAAAAAAAS!
Today marks a pretty important moment in our lives. My husband, Fan, and I decided about a year ago to start our own business. He has been working retail his entire working career and he's really an expert on how off-line shopping works. I've been doing marketing communications my entire career and I have a pretty good handle on how online communications and digital marketing works. He wanted to quit his job so badly, and not because it was a bad job, in fact, it was a great job. He wanted independence. I actually wanted adventure. I don't believe we are meant to do one thing for our entire time on earth, but that's just me. But to be clear, I wasn't going to quit working for someone else. This all started last year with the decision to start saving as much as we could. Five months ago he quit his job (and took a much needed vacation). Four months ago he started writing an insanely detailed business plan. Three months ago we started up our company social media. Two months ago we registered the company. Two weeks ago he got the keys to a store location. And one week ago, after leaving my corporate job, I started working in a tech start-up*.
Why on earth do you want to open a pet store?
Fan conceived of the product delivery and style after months and months of research. Also, he's got really nice taste. Everything chosen from the furniture to the products were picked based on several factors. 1. Offer toys, accessories and must-haves for dogs and cats that are not already offered in the Netherlands. 2. Make it green by only choosing products that are shipped from inside Europe, and not from China or North America. 3. Only offer the best organic foods made by small business owners. And there are quite a few! 4. Make the shop feel like you are shopping for an expensive gift for your best friend, but then for your dog or cat. Why? because THEY ARE your best friends and why should you be forced into a cramped, smelly, dusty pet store full of live rodents and dated products. It's your BEST friend we are talking about. The shopping experience should be AMAZING.
Yesterday after 3 weeks of pretty much non-stop construction, We Are Pets opened. We did all the work ourselves with the help of about 14 really awesome friends. Everyone pitched in their own talent, whether that was carpentry, or making sandwiches for the workers. I'm so humbled and grateful for our friends' input and help. Check out our Instagram for all the pretty store pictures!
I've taken the role in this business as the online manager. Fan will manage the shop. It took me a couple of months to build the website, but that's also because I was still working my corporate day job throughout this process. I'm hoping to get the web-shop up and running in the next few weeks. I see so much potential for online sales, especially now that I have seen all the wonderful products Fan has filled the shop with.
In case you are wondering how I'm doing starting a new business and a new job at the same time, I can tell you that being this busy and working 60-70 hours per week gives me more energy. I'm doing the stuff I want to be doing and it's so much more fun than wearing a monkey suit and droning on about corporate stuff. I certainly enjoyed my previous job, but working in a start up environment will feed all kinds of creativity into our own start-up. Plus I'm wearing fucking pink pants and my dogs were in the office with me. Top that!
Day one of We Are Pets being open wasn't super smooth. Fan spent most of the day screaming at his computer and customer service for our online cash register system not working. He managed to be open for about 1.5 hours, but hey, he made two sales! So why is today more important than yesterday? Because today all the equipment and other shit is working and he has the store fully up and running. So let's call today the 'real' first day. We realize that so many other things will go wrong but fixing your own business problems is so much more enjoyable than fixing someone else's. Let's take a deep breath and siiiiiigh.
*I have now become one of those blogging jerks who left his corporate job to chase his dream and is oooooh so coool waaaaaaaaaaaah. You're flipping me off in your head right now. It's ok. I'm in my 40s, wear Vans and drive a VW camper. I'm 'that' guy now.
I am a communications professional who loves my dogs very much. I also love drag queens, muscle bears, drinking lots of wine, boating on the Amsterdam canals and my husband. None of that in that order.
World Citizen: born in Argentina; raised in a French household, studied in Spain, worked and skied in France and married in Amsterdam.