As far as she remembers, she had always had pets around her when she was growing up. Perhaps that was also because she lived with her uncle – a veterinary doctor.
“I grew up in Pune with 3 adorable dogs who shared my bed, my life, my dreams and as years passed by, they became the most integral part of my life and I made up my mind then – if ever I did something on my own, it had to be for these four legged companions,” says the founder of Peppy Paws, Priya Poduval. Peppy Paws is a premier resort for dogs started in Mundhwa, on the outskirts of Pune in 2010.
Another reason why Priya decided to set up Peppy Paws was her first pet, Tyson. He was the one who inspired her to start a facility where she could provide the best experience to pets. At that point in time, there was no facility for pets except the traditional backyard kennels and Priya wanted to do something very different. Peppy Paws provides boarding, daycare, training, grooming facilities for the pet along with a pet café and a swimming pool for all pampered pooches.
In short, it is essentially a place where pets can roam about freely, socialize with other friendly pets and enjoy their vacation.
A very lucrative industry
The pet industry has seen a boom of late and Priya says she has been lucky to capitalize on that. Dogs are being treated as family and are easily the most popular pets.
“Pet owners do not mind spending hefty amounts on their pets if they get high quality service in return. We look at providing the best of facilities to the pet parents,” says Priya adding that their business module works on the basis of emotions and trust. To match up to each pet parent’s expectation is however the biggest challenge.
Priya says she is living a dream everyday as this easily is the best venture she could invest in.
She and her husband Roshan Poduval came together due to their shared affinity for dogs and did not think twice before quitting jobs and starting this enterprise together. While he looks after the training bit, Priya engages in grooming them.
In the beginning, Priya’s family were unable to comprehend the reason behind her quitting a well-paid job to start a ‘dog business, but soon she was able to convince them. They started very small without much financial backing and funds. Priya started pet-sitting from a tiny one bedroom flat at home. The response was good and she moved to a bigger place. At one point, she was taking care of 15 dogs at home.
Taking care of them, feeding them on time, grooming them, keeping the place clean at all times and showering them with love, care and attention, Priya did it all by herself and managed to do a good job of it. “The only thing that kept me going was my passion and will to succeed, I knew I wanted to set up a beautiful resort for pets, complete with a garden, play area, swimming pool, spa, pet friendly café and much more,” says this entrepreneur.
Priya admits that she has always been a risk taker and luckily has found support in her husband, who left a career in finance to join her in the business full time. The husband-wife duo plan to set up Peppy Paws branches in all the metros by 2017.
What keeps her going
“It is easily the wet nose kisses, wagging tails to greet us, happy licks and unconditional love we get in return from the furry babies which motivates us to do better each day,” says Priya. Being an entrepreneur is a tough job which requires Priya to be on her toes 24*7 but she is happy as she and her husband get to take their 6 month old son wherever they go.
“Very recently, someone told me that my son is the luckiest as he is growing up with so many dogs,” smiles Priya.