Starting a new business in 2020 was going to be challenging for anybody but turning a negative into a positive turns out to be what Andy and Nicky do best!
When Andy and Nicky found themselves launching OSCAR Pet Foods Torbay at the height of the coronavirus friends and family were a little concerned!
“It’s just the way the timing happened”, explains Andy. No-one could have predicted what was coming down the track, but we were so thrilled to be making a decision about taking our future into our own hands that nothing was going to perturb us!
Leaving behind a successful B&B business in the heart of the English Riviera, Nicky and Andy were ready for a change of pace and work-life balance that didn’t tie them to the seasonal trends of tourism. Their love of animals and the heart-breaking loss of their cat called ‘Cfor’ made them realise that their passion for caring for animals and their owners might just be matched with a pet care franchise. Choosing OSCAR was down to plenty of careful research, and the company’s nutritional reputation and exceptional head office support stood out.
“There’s no way around the fact that it’s been difficult with Covid. Unable to attend shows, set up trade stands or enter people’s homes for taste trials means marketing opportunities have been restricted. We’re definitely having to ‘think outside the box’ – but for us that challenge is part of the enjoyment. So, instead, we ‘re focusing on leaflet drops and lots of conversations. The van is undoubtably a talking point and wherever we’re parked passers-by are always interested to find out about what we do.
“We’ve found that what matters most is that you need the ability to open up a conversation with a potential customer (be that instigated by the van or a chance meeting). Once that door of conversation opens … your opportunity for a sale is there!
“You must also believe in the product you are selling! Nutritional evidence is key to a confident sale and the premium quality of OSCAR Pet Foods goes a long way to reassuring customers of the benefits to be gained. Some of the best times we have enjoyed so far are when slightly sceptical customers see the proof of the product for themselves and are genuinely delighted.
“There is no doubt that giving quality pet food offers pets the best chance of a happy, healthy life. Not to mention what OSCAR does when it comes to transforming the less glamorous job of picking up dog mess (yet another example of how to turn a negative into a positive)!
“We’ve got lots more ‘up our sleeves’ and are currently exploring the possibility of offering socially distanced ‘drop in’ taste trials. Positivity is something we live by and as long as you have excellent communication skills you can build valuable relationships with potential customers from the start.”