In today's fast-paced lifestyle, having one less thing to worry about can make all the difference in the quality time that we have with our friends, families and pets, and that is where the idea behind Zuki, an online pet care portal, started.
We chat to Nick de Wit, co-founder of Zuki, to find out more about the platform that provides pet information directly from the expertise of a vet and by simplifying vet recommended pet food purchases all in one place.
Nick de Wit, co-founder of Zuki
Can you tell us a bit about Zuki?
Zuki.co.za is an online store that retails premium pet food and pet products. We are focused on the health and wellbeing of our customers’ pets by only supplying premium pet products and delivering the best vet advice through our blog. Zuki covers many pet-related topics and addresses common behavioural and medical issues that our customers could face with their pets.
When, how and why did you get started?
The idea for Zuki was first explored in 2015. Being pet owners and busy professionals ourselves, we were constantly needing to make alternative plans for our pets’ food after coming home from work and finding the bag was empty. We thought that if we were suffering from that problem, many other people could potentially be facing the same and we wanted to fix that. That is how Zuki’s auto-delivery idea was born. We conducted a lot of research and put a lot of effort and dedication into our website and systems, and mid-2016 we made our first sale.
What is the core function of Zuki?
Zuki’s core function is to provide pet parents with a one-stop information portal and online store with the best possible experience, price and service.
What are some of the obstacles you've had to overcome since starting out?
Online technology was one of the biggest hurdles we had to overcome in South Africa. We found that tech tools available in the US and Europe were more advanced, and some of these payment systems were not supported locally in South Africa. But, we are constantly pioneering our way and feel closer to new breakthroughs.
What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurship can be tough and I would advise aspiring entrepreneurs to find opportunities in fields they love, because when times get tough, and they will, your passion will have to pull you through.
What has been your proudest achievement thus far?
We have had a lot of good moments on our journey and will have a lot more, but our proudest moment was shipping out our first order and seeing our dream become a reality.
What does the future of entrepreneurship look like to you?
I think the future of entrepreneurship is in the digital space. There are so many amazing things happening in this space and I think a big portion of the jobs we will see in 20 years have not even been thought of yet. Really exciting times!
What would you like to see changed in the South African startup landscape?
I would love to see better support for startups in South Africa. So many businesses fail in the first couple of years and I think a lot of the ideas have potential but could not take flight due to funding or lack of support.
What do you believe are the traits an entrepreneur needs in order to succeed?
Passion, drive and creativity.
Tell us about your biggest struggles as an entrepreneur, as well as some major highlights.
The biggest struggle as an entrepreneur is to keep pushing on when the times are tough. You will at times feel like you are making huge ground and then something will come out of the blue that could set you back a few steps. It is important to stand up, regroup and keep driving the business forward.
Would you encourage someone to become an entrepreneur? Why?
I strongly believe that entrepreneurship is not for everyone. It can really be tough, but if you have a clear vision, the passion to keep you going, then entrepreneurship can be such a rewarding opportunity.
Where would you like to see Zuki in the next five years?
We at Zuki have come a long way, but I feel that we are just starting too. In five years we will have an amazing business servicing and helping pet-owners take the best care of their pets around the whole country.
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