Mary Young is the founder of Doggykingdom an online dog accessories shop. The online shop is an extension of Mary’s love for dogs that started at a very tender age. As a young girl, Mary would find ways to treat her dog right, and would even sacrifice some of her little savings just to get it something special. As an adult, this passion got even stronger, as she would spare some time to make fancy things for her dog. It didn’t take long for friends to notice her dog products and they started placing orders. Over time, the number of orders grew exponentially and that is how Doggykingdom was born. Since its launch, the company has grown its clientele to over 150,000 customers from all across the world. Mary has grown the business to where it is today by investing heavily in product quality and customer service. She never sells a product that she would be uncomfortable using on her dog. In terms of customer satisfaction, Mary has built internal systems that ensure clients always receive their products on time. Whenever clients purchase a product on Doggykingdom, they are guaranteed of receiving it within 72 hours, and in a maximum of 14 days internationally. The company also has a money-back guarantee service and a lifetime warranty for all products. Besides selling dog products, Mary also donates to Dog charities through Doggykingdom. It is her way of helping dogs that are not fortunate enough to have a comfortable home.
Where did the idea for Doggykingdom come from?
In 2018 I had the idea of an online shop with products that Odin would offer other dogs if he would be able to. So doggykingdom was born. I have always had this love for dogs from a tender age, so this idea was more out of passion than a business. Having identified the big gap in this market while sourcing dog apparel for my canines, I decided to make other dog owners’ life easy through this business. So far, I’ve been able to assist a considerable number all over the world.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
After I get up in the morning, I check all emails first. The most important emails are answered immediately and then I have my breakfast. After I have filled up my energy, I drive to the office and there I dedicate myself to the daily business. Everybody at Doggykingdom has his own area of responsibility. As the founder and managing director, it is very important to me that I am informed about all sorts of things in the company. Our to-do lists are processed daily. While at work, I have to ensure that orders from clients are met for each particular day to avoid piling up work. In the evening when I return home, I take some time to check on my dogs then take the evening to rest.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Every new idea will be discussed with the team. After listening to the opinions of others, we improve on it, then bring it to life. For instance, through consultation, I have expanded on our product offering. There are a lot of areas not covered in the dog apparel industry, and I have capitalized on that through consultation. I also bring ideas to life by keeping up with the latest trends. I usually check out dog shows on television a lot and also attend dog fairs. Interaction with dog owners around my neighborhood and on social media is another way of getting new ideas. We often have company meetings with my staff where we present these ideas and deliberate upon them, then discuss the best ways possible to bring them to reality.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Analyzing all possible innovations on the market and to integrate them into our company in an improved way to better our services excites me a lot. I love everything that concerns dogs. It is for this reason that I follow the most popular doggy pages on social to see the latest developments. I love to see the dynamism presented by different people around the world.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Probably always being up to date. To be that, I do research on new products and analyze the competition almost every day. I have to keep myself updated on what is happening in the dog industry. The advantage is that I do this out of passion, rather than responsibility. It is this zeal to assist dog owners and a desire to see dogs in the world comfortable that sets me apart from the rest.
What advice would you give your younger self?
It is important to learn as much as possible and to be open to new ideas. I was rather guarded as a young person and had a narrow perspective of life. After venturing into business and especially into this industry, I realized that I was missing a lot. I have had experiences and interactions with people from different parts of the world, thus developing this new perspective towards life.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
You cannot rely on someone 100%, it must always be checked. Most people say that it is hard to convince me without logical reasons or concrete backing. Well, that is just me. I do not rely on people 100% since people have their weaknesses and may fail you when you need them the most. I do cooperate with people to achieve my goals, but I have to ensure that I put in the most effort.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I need to keep educating myself. Education is key to advancing yourself in any career. One mistake that would be successful entrepreneurs forget is that there is no end to education. Every experience is a learning one. That is why I make a deliberate effort to keep myself informed in my industry, other related industries, and about life in general. This knowledge keeps me widening my opportunities as an entrepreneur and as a person.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Giving customer satisfaction and product quality top priority. The adage that the customer is the boss holds true in my business. I ensure that I give the utmost best to all my clients. There might be hitches here and there, but I try my best to minimize them and make sure my clients are always happy. This strategy has been effective ever since I ventured into this business.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I once got into a partnership with another individual that was not dedicated to the business. After a few months in business, I realized it was the wrong move since we began incurring losses. While I was working extra hard to keep the business afloat, the other party was not putting in the required effort, so I had to terminate that relationship. That was the best decision since soon after ending the partnership, my business began to pick again and has been growing ever since.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
In the field of product personalization. This is starting with personalized clothes up to personalized mobile phone covers. If you want to sell dog apparel, create social media pages for these products, preferably an Instagram page, then post these products on that page with their prices. Ensure you have a stock of these products to start with, and once the business grows, you can then start ordering and shipping the products directly to your clients without having to bring them to your warehouse. Warehousing is a bit expensive, so that will come much later when you have grown your business into an established company. You will be doing most of your sales online.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Both personally and professionally, for a few new books. The selected books have helped me to progress both personally and professionally. I always buy books from people who have achieved that in life, where I still want to go. As I mentioned earlier, education is very important, and so I keep myself informed through reading. Books contain a lot of knowledge not available anywhere else.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Shopify. Our entire online shop runs on this software. It is super easy to use.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
12 Rules for Life from Jordan B. Peterson
What is your favorite quote?
Don’t dream your life, live your dreams.
- Surround yourself with good people and quality talent.
- Passion for what you do is number 1