If it moves, it dies.
CATS wearing fanciful hats and Harry Potter inspired scarves turned a recent Sunday gathering of cat lovers at the Ayala Triangle Garden into something like a dress rehearsal for Halloween.
The hats and scarves are creations of Nina Sharlene Briones who expertly crochets these novelty pieces for a living.
Photos above by Allyza Tolentino
Two years ago, Nina took a crochet hook and yarn to create glass coasters, dog hats and pet carriers. It was only fairly recently when she made her first cat hat for a cousin joining a pet fair. Little did she know that more people would want the same for their cats until the orders start coming in.
Nina tapped a friend to help her fulfill the orders she's been getting for customized pet hats. She said they could each finish three simple hats a day or two if the design is a little complicated. With an eye for creating original designs, Nina decided to call her home-based business Just One Of A Kind Handcrafted Products.
“I work hard and devote my craft into these creations. I cannot please everybody but the customers I have encountered so far are wonderful to work with. Their sample photos are challenging but these help us to improve our craft. Our products are sold online and we get orders through recommendations from previous clients,” said Nina.
Nina only charges P175 for every cat hat she crochets (plus shipping cost). She expects to get more orders for pet hats and other wearable pieces as Halloween approaches. In the near future, she said she would like to extend her product line to include pet sling carrier, pet diaper cover, pet dresses, fun character costumes, coasters in animal themes and more.
To order a crochet piece for your cat and other small pets, visit Just One Of A Kind Handcrafted Products (JOOAK) in Facebook. -- METROPETS©
WHAT can happen in one month? For start-up Your Price Online Pet Shop, their first 30 days was like a crash course in online selling to a market just waking up to the possibilities of buying pet products online.
Based in Malolos, Bulacan, Your Price Online Pet Shop, which started operations only last March 11, caters primarily to customers from this province. They are still beefing up their product lines, but already carries brands like Optima, Breeder's Pack and Vitality, among others.
Running it is a husband and wife team that makes it a point to start the name of any business they go into with “Your Price” for “it's catchy customer-centric message”, said owner Paula Bianca Z. Roque-Solomon.
A home-based mother of three girls, Paula manages the online pet shop while her husband, Marco, acquires the items from suppliers and handles deliveries to customers. Their virtual store has proper government-issued papers, she said, to prove to pet suppliers that they are legitimate and serious about the business.
Orders are trickling in and Paula is hopeful sales will pick up as they expand their coverage areas and product lines. Majority of their repeat customers are women—stay-at-home moms, students, or those with day jobs.
Confirmed orders, booked on or before 5:00 p.m. on weekdays are delivered within the next three hours of the same day. If not, Your Price Online Pet Shop will deliver the pet food the next business day from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., said Paula.
Your Price Online Pet Shop conducts advertising and selling primarily on their Facebook page and over at OLX.ph. They only do cash-on-delivery and charges P10 only for orders that weigh four kilos and below.
“A full-fledged online store with shopping cart as well as eBay PH, Twitter, and Instagram channels are in the pipeline,” she added.
To ensure customer satisfaction, Paula said they manage product expectations before they finalize orders to make sure customers know exactly what they are buying. She added that they are open to product exchanges or complete refund in case customers find issues with their products.
“We've been carefully choosing the products we carry to ensure customer satisfaction and continuous patronage. Our own pets use the products we are selling so that we can answer any potential concerns from customers. We also do further research online and inquire with trusted pet breeders what products they prefer,” Paula said.
Eventually, Your Price Online Pet Shop wants to tap the mid-range and premium markets. But in the meantime, Paula said they are concentrating on providing pet owners “a great alternative to conventional pet food stores by offering a friendly and personalized pet supply delivery service” which is unheard of within their locality. -- Alma J. Buelva
* Meow Project makes cat cartoons that will stick with you