Being a pet parent isn’t easy in this country. There is no shortage of dodgy brands out to make a quick buck selling sub-par products. People often struggle with accessing quality healthcare services for their pets and understanding what’s best for them. This was what led Anushka Iyer to start Wiggles-a holistic pet-care brand to address all your pet-care needs. Developed in collaboration with pet parents, animal lovers, experts, and government bodies, Wiggles is on a mission to improve the quality of life of our beloved pets and (just as importantly) community animals.
Wiggles is one of the many women-led businesses in the pet care industry, which largely remains a male-dominated industry. But that does not deter Anushka, who says her experience as a woman entrepreneur has been in equal parts ‘challenging and rewarding.’ She lets her work do the talking, and the many women in leadership roles at Wiggles are a testimony to the brand’s commitment to women empowerment. From sales and product strategy to customer excellence and partnerships—Wiggles’ growth is in large part attributable to the women occupying leadership positions across functions. “Entrepreneur is a genderless word,” Anushka says, “Let’s keep it that way.”
Carving a niche
“The pet care industry in India is highly fragmented and B2B focussed,” says Anushka. The scattered nature of the industry is what prompted her to start Wiggles to provide comprehensive pet care. “Over the years, we have listened deeply to our customers and the community, and that has allowed us to fix the gaps. Our end goal is to deliver value to pets & their people, and enable them to live more fulfilling lives together.”
A glance at the brand’s offerings shows how it differs from others in the sector. Wiggles pioneered India’s first epilepsy medication for dogs (Wigepsy). The brand has also developed easy-to-consume prebiotic strips for cats and dogs, as well as cannabis-based therapeutics like Hemp seed oil. They have also ventured into the homecare category with a pets & kids safe floor cleaner.
And they’re just getting started. Wiggles seeks to create a 360-degree ecosystem for pets, delivering holistic well-being that integrates physical, emotional, and social aspects of pet care. The brand is also foraying into uncharted territory, exploring areas such as wearable diagnostics, genetic testing, stem cell therapy, and other forward-looking technologies. On the services front, the brand is looking to expand its offline footprint (pawprint?): introducing customized treatments for common conditions in pets like obesity, skin diseases, behavior issues & more.
But at the heart of it all is one core, guiding principle, Anushka remarks “empathy for pets and their people. We believe that is our secret sauce.”
Empowering female entrepreneurs
Wiggles is one of the many brands supported by Anthill’s Athena Ventures- a program exclusively crafted to empower female entrepreneurs. “Anthill has been one of our biggest and strongest supporters,” says Anushka. “Their mentorship in various aspects of business, right from team building & leadership to marketing and customer excellence has been a big growth driver for us. What’s unique about Anthill is their hands-on approach, where they give regular inputs, but trust us to make decisions that are best for the business.”
Lessons along the way
One of the pivotal moments in Anushka’s entrepreneurship journey was the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns. It proved to be a formidable challenge working around the clock to ensure that their products and services reached pets and their parents in time. “Sailing through this challenge has taught us many invaluable lessons,” Anushka remarks, “and most importantly helped us gain the trust of pet parents and animal lovers. We were not just fair weather friends, we’re here for the good times and bad.”
And now she’s eager to share some lessons with other budding entrepreneurs. “The first thing I can say is, just go for it. There will be challenges along the way, voices questioning you, and circumstances you can’t control, but be willing to pivot and forge ahead.” Anushka also stresses the importance of finding a gap in the market: “trends come and go, but if you can find a problem for a set of people and solve it, you’ve got a great foundation.”
But perhaps the most valuable advice she has for aspiring entrepreneurs is to be receptive to consumers: “listen, listen, and then listen some more, to your customers. Be hungry for feedback. They’ll tell you everything right or wrong about your business.”
A brand driven by passion and empathy with an incredible woman at the helm, we are sure that Wiggles will scale greater heights in the future.