Floof, a startup that sells animal merchandise.
Kapil Patwardhan from Pune launched Floof, a startup that sells animal merchandise. Here’s how he ends up supporting animal welfare organizations too.
Kapil and his parents work frequently to rescue dogs and cats and find them shelters or a new home. Around 2013, his father, a captain in the Merchant Navy, came across a startup in Sri Lanka that sold merchandise and spent the profits on the welfare of animals.
“We liked the concept, but did not have any expertise or experience in business,” Kapil says.
Regardless, Kapil took the plunge and launched Floof in August 2018. To kickstart the business, he purchased cloth and other required material but later outsourced the work. “It helped maintain the quality of products and we could pay more attention to rescuing animals,” he says.
Kapil says the merchandise has helped fund about 50 local volunteers and 10 NGOs, as well as free-range animals. “The aim was to build a community that would come together and works for animal welfare,” he says.
Initially, Kapil worked on social media presence and created an Instagram community. “The first six months were terrible, as I lost a lot of money building the website and creating products. However, in 2019, I decided to participate in a pet festival held in Mumbai to spread the word about the brand,” he says, adding that it turned out to be a game-changer.
“I was not competing with big brands that focussed on pet products that addressed the animals’ diet, health and other needs. My products were aimed at the pet owner, who would wear merchandise to express their love for their furry friends,” he explains.
With new-found confidence, Kapil started attending more events. “Young people appreciated the products as they felt it supported the cause of animal welfare and raising awareness,” he says.
He began selling customized t-shirts and displaying prints at vet clinics. From fetching about seven orders a month, the sales grew to 40 over the next few months.
Today, Floof earns him Rs 7 lakh a year, of which 90 per cent of the profits are spent on rescuing and adopting dogs and cats, he says. The remaining amount is invested into scaling up the business by aiding volunteers.