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Why Is the Pet Product Market in India So Different Than in the U.S.
Photo: Karen

From fashionable accessories to personalized collars, leashes and clothing, pet parents love to spoil their dogs. Over the last decade or so, customizable dog products have taken over the market here in the U.S., but in India it’s a different story. One New Yorker found this out the hard way, but it ended up turning into an exciting business opportunity.

Heads Up For Tails is a pet product retailer and manufacturer that markets a line of utility-based, high-end products for pets. Their line includes apparel, collars, dog beds, accessories, toys , treats, grooming products and products for pet lovers. Heads Up For Tails strongly focusses on design, personalization and customization.

Why Is the Pet Product Market in India So Different Than in the U.S.
Photo: Heads Up For Tails

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The company was started back in 2007 by Rashi Narang after she moved to India from New York. Moving to a new country can definitely feel lonely at first, but Narang had her best friend Sara, a Labrador retriever, by her side to keep her company. Narang was used to shopping for her beloved canine in specialty pet boutiques in the U.S., but she quickly realized that would no longer be possible.

She was highly disappointed with the quality of products available in the Indian market. The disappointment turned into a blessing in disguise when Narang decided to create her own line of exclusive dog products. She says that in 2007 nothing like Heads Up For Tails existed in the Indian market and she knew her line would fill a niche.

As you can imagine, jumping into the Indian pet industry was a challenge. The market was unorganized and since nothing like this existed yet, it was hard to get people to see what they were missing. She approached all of the upscale pet stores in Delhi, but soon found that shop owners were clueless about merchandising, quality and design.

Narang decided to start by selling her products online, and then a few months later she branched out to a kiosk at Delhi’s premier Select Citywalk. In the beginning, she did everything herself – like most small business owners. She went to tailors, designers, manufacturers and raw material vendors.

Just one year after starting the company, Narang’s husband was posted to Singapore. Most entrepreneurs would have given up, followed their family and tried to restart the business when they got settled at their new home. Narang couldn’t let her business go.

Why Is the Pet Product Market in India So Different Than in the U.S.
Photo: Heads Up For Tails

She traveled back and forth every couple of months to heep Heads Up For Tails on track. Although she was approached by several investors, she had to turn them down as she wasn’t sure of the returns on their investments. Given her new physical situation, she and her husband continued to plug away and bootstrapped the business for 8 years.

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This year Narang was able to move back to India to focus on the business, which she says now serves more than 1,000 customers each month online and in retail stores. She says that the company’s biggest claim to fame is their ability to customize products for any dog’s specific needs.

From orthopedic dog beds to formal tuxedos, Heads Up For Tails will do their best to customize any product that you’re looking. They even offer a monthly subscription box, known as Wag Box, that is full of handpicked accessories and products that will fit your pet’s style.

Heads Up For Tails launched in the United States last month and they’re planning to launch in Singapore later this year.