Mumbai based Urban Brat is an e-commerce website that offers pet products for dogs across India. This platform helps pet-parents to compare and choose among a huge collection of products from pet food, treats, grooming products, toys and pet accessories such as charms, collars, leashes, harnesses, clothes to dining bowls. Their range of grooming products includes a variety of brands and prices to choose from, therefore catering to all income groups.Operational since December 2011, they have catered to over 100 pet parents already and are now expanding the product range. They work on margins between 20-50% depending on the product and brand. Their revenue model is based on the sales and advertising space on the website.
Urban Brat’s clientele consists of pet parents who treat their pets as family members. They spend on their pets as they would on their child. They have a high disposable income and are ready to pamper their pets as much as it takes. They are concerned about pet nutrition and the kind of products they use. Therefore, their target customer is someone who has good knowledge about pets and treats them like a family member.
In India, there is a total pet population count of more than 3 to 4 million. The rate at which pet ownership is increasing is very high. India is a booming pet market which majorly constitutes ‘mom and pop’ shops in major cities that have sprung up in the last two years. Thus, Urban Brat believes, this is a wide open industry, with an annual growth rate of 10-15% that is just waiting to be tapped. The pet owners in six major cities namely Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai and Pune make up 3.6 million people and houses that have at least one pet (Euromonitor International study) and this figure is growing at a very rapid pace. Though the size of the market is not as big as in the USA, it’s a growing market and should reach that level within a period of ten years. In the USA, the pet retail industry is the 7th largest in the retail sector.
Urban Brat has tied up with suppliers and distributors of pet products in Mumbai. “There is a similar player and they are Delhi based. Our USP is that we offer a variety of brands which no one else offers online at the moment. We also offer loyalty points on our website for our regular customers,” says Founder, Apeksha Harihar.
Apeksha is the sole founder of Urban Brat. A journalist by qualification, she has been running a pet lifestyle magazine called ‘Where’s my Bone’ for the past one year. After entering the pet industry, she realized the potential of retail in this space. She believes it is developing and very close to being a developed industry.
“E-commerce always fascinated me since I am a net freak. After noticing and studying a lot of e commerce websites that run for human consumption, I thought there was a need for an online pet store that could offer pet products at the click of a mouse!” she tells YourStory.
Apeksha, who is planning to build a team soon, has invested about 5 lakhs seed fund on Urban Brat through micro and small enterprise credit facilities available with the banks.
Offering free shipping with thin margins is their biggest challenge. On dog food bags as heavy as 3 and 4 kgs, it becomes very difficult for them to cope with free shipping.
“We want to expand UrbanBrat’s product diversity and want to build warehouses in various cities to cut down our shipping costs in future. However, we plan to do this 3 years down the line when the business has really picked up enough to have this facility,” Apeksha concludes.