Poochles by Sundeep Mithran- A pet lovers’ venture

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A lot of fresh waste adds to tonnes of waste every single day. By fresh waste we mean the small pieces or chunks that are left after making something, for example, small pieces of clothes that are left after making of a dress in a boutique or factory. Similarly, toy making led to thousands of small pieces of plastic, cotton, cloths into the dump. This dump adversely adds to the quantity of waste across the world. The alluring offers from brands like Amazon and Flipkart online have worsened the situation.

The problem of dumping waste is already a worldwide issue; this fresh waste makes the situation worse.

Although many ideas like creating plastic tiles, paper, etc have been found to use the waste there is a person in the crowd having a completely different and unique way of using the fresh waste material.

Poochles pronounced as “pooch chills” a brand owned by Sundeep Mithran – a pet lover has come up with the concept of ‘Repurposing’ which means using excess fresh A-grade material from the factories that produce human products and creating them into beautiful pet products. The idea is not doubted unique and useful. And pet lovers are surely going to love this.

Based in Chennai, India, and globally headquartered in Michigan, USA, Poochles, has everything from a variety of pets food to their toys and grooming stuff. There is also a section ‘Parents Hub’ which teaches you about pet parenting, breeds of dogs and cats and much more. The poochles + section have various offers for the customers like a free photoshoot, welcome goodie free specialists support and discounts. They also provide toys to pet parents of indie dogs.

There is a lot more interesting to know about this interesting and unique brand. Let us chat with the founder – Sundeep Mithran to know the story behind this interesting start-up.

Inventiva: What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason for this name?
Poochles is pronounced “pooch chills” and is a fun and quirky brand where animals of all types chill out. Pooch means dog in English but it also means cat in Hindi. We like to think of ourselves as being in the business of spreading a philosophy, not making money. And that philosphy is to amplify the KIND in animalkind. While we are fun and quirky we are very serious when it comes to our philosophy. That’s why we focus heavily on repurposing. Repurposing is to leverage all the excess fresh A grade materials from factories that create products for humans, and to repurpose into beautiful pet products.

Inventiva: Who is your target Audience/clients?
Well, all of humanity basically. As humans we like to think that we have six senses and are the smartest of all animal types. But, in reality, we have so much to learn from animals. They just seek happiness, and focus on simple things like loyalty and love. Unlike humans, pets have no affliction for money, material things, cars the next iphone etc. Yet, they offer so much love to humans without any conditions. Our target audience is anyone who realizes that pets can bring so much more to their lives than just being a fashion statement.

Inventiva: Where is your venture based (city, state, country) & What are your geographical target areas?
We are based in Chennai in India. Our global headquarters is in Michigan USA.

Inventiva: What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?
In todays amazon and flipkart driven world, every year, our greed for material things causes us to dump 1T tons of factory waste into the earth. 1Trillion tons!! We aim to reduce that waste by repurposing excess material like fresh cloth pieces, rope bits etc into adorable toys for pets. We even give away a lot of toys for pet parents who have adopted indie dogs.

Inventiva: Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it come to existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?
I derive a lot of happiness from my dog at home, Mylo. We adopted him from a shelter and has been a family member ever since. I learn a lot from him: peace, focus on simple things, unconditional love, etc. He has been a backbone of the household. I see a lot of differences between how pets are treated in the US and back home in India. I would love to open up the joy of pet parenthood to more households in India. Did you know homes with pets were 37% more happy than homes without? That was my motivation. The most effective way to spread happiness. And sustain myself on the side.


Inventiva: Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
We strongly believe that “alone we can run faster, but together we can walk farther”. We dont see competition as a threat but as a cumilative force for change. Sure, they may make more money than us, but as long as together we can keep making a positive impact, thats bigger reward for us.

Inventiva: How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us some thing about your co-founder/s
Our team is small and every one is a founding member. We have all gotten together with a similar passion, and feel good about what we do.

Inventiva: How did you hired your first team members? What skills do you want in your employees/team?
We try to hire the best skills, backed by a deep intrinsic passion. We dont want people who are great at something, instead we want people who are willing to learn, try and fail. The most important thing is that you pick yourself up and keep moving on. Nobody is perfect, but that will to think fast on your feet is absolutely critical.

Inventiva: What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
We want to be the number 3 pet retailer in India by 2021. Then we’ll expand our impact into other countries.

Inventiva: Where do you want to see yourself in next 10 years?
I live by the day. Noone can predict 6 months into the future. Leave alone 10 years. If someone says he can say what he would like to do in 10 years, hes bullshitting you. He also is smart though, cos he knows he wont ever see you in 10 years.

Inventiva: What are your immediate goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?
We want to partner with as many brands with like minded philosophy and try to amplify our impact.

Inventiva: Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
We have started with a small seed fund. We are hoping that the business top line funnels us forward.

Inventiva: What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
We are still in that startup phase. People in India dont yet realize the value of pets. Unlike in western countries pets are still not easily accessible to everyone, simply given space and cost constraints. Right now we are hoping to build that awareness amongst people that a couple of restaurant dinners per month might cost INR2000, but that happiness is fleeting. For that same monthly outlay, a pet could bring genuine happiness and peace in the house.

Inventiva: What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
Quitting my full time job from the best company in the world. I worked at Google for 12 years before doing this. So going from earning a lot, to earning nothing has been quite the dramatic change. From eating in the best restaurants, to being very frugal every meal is definitely a task, however, I derive happiness from following my passion.

Inventiva: What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
I like to design new pet products that can be repurposed from factory excess. I also like to spend time thinking about philosophical mysteries, like the purpose of life.

Inventiva: Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
The Buddha. Not as a religious icon, but I really cherish his resolve to go after happiness, rather than material attractions. It takes something special to relinquish earthly materialistic riches and just pursue happiness.

Inventiva: What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
The bottom line is we all work. The grass is always greener on the other side. When I worked in corporate, I envied people who were their own bosses. Now on this side of the fence, I envy people who get to relax during weekends. Once we realize we all just work for money, one way or the other, the differences start to fade away. Then we can shift our focus on meaningful things like happiness, spreading positivity etc.

Inventiva: If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I think I grew up in the era when schooling and college India was geared to either be A) A doctor, or B) an engineer. So I followed the path that was shown to me. If I were to do anything to be anyone, I had to study well. I’d rethink that.

Inventiva: How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
Dramatically. I have to rethink everything. My time priorities have changed. My friends circle has dwindled.

Inventiva: Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
Look entrepreneurship isnt easy. In fact, it is the opposite. Its very very hard. Stupidly hard. If you think entrepreneurship is a get rich quick scheme, think again. There is a 95% certainty that you will almost certainly have a mental breakdown somewhere through the process. That said, I think you should pivot away from getting into entrepreneurship from the ideology of making quick money and fame. Instead focus on impact. Money will follow. Even if it doesn’t, at the very least your emotional bank balance will fill up.

Inventiva: Tell us something about your education & family background.
I grew up in Chennai and studied engineering from Anna university. Middle class family. Then some twist of fate got into Google. Moved to the US. Now I live with my family in the US.

Inventiva: What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains.
We focus on repurposing. Our prices are affordable. We want to help more people welcome pets into their lives, and make pets easily accessible and affordable.

Inventiva: What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
The big guns no doubt. You have to be nimble and keep changing your business model otherwise the people with the big marketing budgets will eat you up. 10 years ago, one company would only focus on one thing. Now companies focus on everything. Amazon that is a retail company got into banking. Facebook which is a social software company got into hardware. No business today is untouchable.

Inventiva: Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
Nope I don’t consider myself successful. The moment you use the word successful, you imply a comparison with some industry standard or societal expectation. I dont like that. I just go with the flow. Since, you know, YOLO. 🙂

Inventiva: Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person
Poochles India
www.poochles.in
[email protected]

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