Tell us a bit about yourself...
My name is Bonnie, and I’m the Director of Pets Palace. I wanted to do something every day that I loved, so I created Pets Palace with the help of my partner by joining two of our passions: pets and shopping.
Has Pets Palace always been an online business, or did the idea originally begin as more of an in-store project?
Actually, things happened for us the other way round: we began with an online store, and opened a retail store a few years later. We started with a little online store and an even smaller warehouse. We didn't have much stock, but nevertheless we would enjoy waiting for an order to come in and pick and pack it with such enthusiasm. The good news is that hasn't changed - even though we are a much bigger business now than when we first started!
As the online business grew, we decided to open a retail store at Shop 28 on King Street in Newtown, Sydney. It was December of 2010 when we opened our doors, and it was immediately a huge success. Having the store really helped us engage with our customers, and let us pat a lot of dogs too! Now some four or more years later we still love the whole experience. Dealing with people who love their pets on a daily basis is fantastic and we love it. We pride ourselves in doing what’s best for your pet and also you, the owner, because really we are all consumers. We like to treat people how we would like to be treated: with respect and honesty.
'I know that starting online was the right thing for us'
It seems quite an unusual step for a Pet Store to choose to sell online first. Do you feel that you benefitted from starting your business like this?
I think starting online just seemed like an easier way to enter the market for us. Now that we also have a bricks and mortar store, I know that starting online was the right thing for us. It’s a lot easier and you can afford to make more mistakes while you are learning - if things didn’t work out, it wasn’t as big a loss. I like to shop from online stores that have a shop front as well now as I know they know what they are doing.
I see that you’re now also running a blog along with the store! How are you using this online space, and what are your plans with it?
Well, we just launched our new website in December, so we’re excited to be able to keep our blogging activity going on there too. We’re using it to provide helpful information about pet care and sharing exciting news about the store. We hope it becomes a place for pet lovers to take some helpful tips home, and also hear about how we’re doing our best for pets near and far.
'Our vision is to keep growing as a store that actively gives back to its community'
I also hear you’re involved with some of the local animal charities in and around Sydney. Can you tell us a bit more about this?
For over a year now we’ve partnered with Sydney Dogs and Cats Home to re-home kittens. All our kittens are Vet checked, de-sexed, vaccinated, wormed and given flea medicine - so they are 100% ready to go home with some lucky person.
The idea behind it was to give people - who perhaps were open to adding a kitten to their lives but didn’t want to go to a shelter or hadn’t found the time to do anything about it - the opportunity to come into our store and meet a kitten over a period of a few days to see if they’re the one for them. We successfully rehomed 36 kittens last year, and have rehomed 8 this year already.
So, if you do pop into the store you’re welcome to have a cuddle and even adopt one if they capture your heart. In addition to that, we also support other various animal friendly organisations such as Monika’s Doggie Rescue, Give a Dog a Bone, and Keep Kitty Happy Appeal - just to name a few!
Finally - what is your vision for the future of Pets Palace? Anything exciting in the pipeline that you’d be happy to share with us?
Our vision is to keep growing as a store that actively gives back to its community. As mentioned before, we launched our new website in December, so we’re looking to increase the products and brands we offer to make sure our customers know that we go out of our way to find the perfect products for their pet.