Cuddling with her Shih Tzu at her house who she calls Bro, Rashee Kuchroo opens up to us about her love for dogs, her entrepreneurial skills as a woman and the challenges she faced at DoggieDabbas, a venture she setup. DoggieDabbas.com is her special service for all food for dogs. She cooks nutritional and healthy food for dogs because she believes pet nutrition is important and packaged food may not be healthy. Her business has grown popular among dog owners and now the demand sometimes is so high that she has to decline orders at times. She speaks to Poorvi Gupta.
What is DoggieDabbas all about?
It’s a one-stop shop for all things related to nutrition for your dog. Just as we humans have different health problems, similarly, our dogs are different beings and they have individual problems, so their food requirement is also unique. Customising food according to a dog’s requirement is what DoggieDabbas is all about.
What inspired you to start DoggieDabbas?
I was studying abroad and when I came back, I saw that my Labrador had put on a lot of weight. At that time, he was eating packaged food, so I decided to put him on a diet. However, I did not want to put him on a diet without knowing what he will require. I started researching about dog food and realised that there is actually a lot of information on dog nutrition. This inspired me to do a course on dog and cat nutrition. With the help of the course, I came up with a diet plan for my dog and I didn’t have a plan to start a business at that time. Then when the guests, who came to our house and saw the dog’s transformed health, they appreciated me quite a lot and suggested me to promote it and that’s when I thought that maybe I should give it a shot.
How is DoggieDabbas different from other packaged food companies?
We tend to ignore the fact that for our own convenience, we give our dogs the packaged food that has a high chemical content. Imagine opening a packet of biscuits and leaving it for a month and then eating from it? That’s exactly what people are doing with their dogs. The food that doesn’t even last for a week, considering the weather and other such constraints, people use that same food for over a month. The food at DoggieDabbas doesn’t have any preservatives, so it has to be frozen. Commercially, there is about 25% carbs while our food only has 5% of it.
What helps you to lead your team in DoggieDabbas?
I let people do what they want instead of going after them and pushing them off the edge. I tell my team how things are done and I want them to do it in that way, but if they want to make some changes without hampering the end result then that’s all fine too. I happily take suggestions from all my employees and they come up with amazing ideas. They know that I have the expertise, but I also know that they work on a daily basis.
I happily take suggestions from all my employees and they come up with amazing ideas.
Do you also feed stray dogs and do some charity work for them?
Yes, I feed all the stray dogs in my area. I don’t like to promote it too much because that’s something very personal. I love dogs, so it is bound to happen. I have rescued puppies many times and these are the things that I have been doing since childhood. It is not because I have DoggieDabbas now and that is why I started doing all this. Now everybody at my home knows that if there is a dog at our door then he/she has to be fed and given clean water to drink.
How does it feel being a woman entrepreneur?
Actually, I am very lucky that I am in an industry where there are already so many women entrepreneurs. There are many grooming companies for dogs and most of them are run by women, so I didn’t have to struggle much on that front. However, what I struggled with was the fact that I was a young woman. If you’re older in the industry, you are still sort of accepted, but with a young age and being a girl was what wasn’t taken seriously by people.
what I struggled with was the fact that I was a young woman.
What advice would you give to other women who want to be entrepreneurs like you?
Just go for it! I know it’s very hard, especially in India, where we also have to manage our houses and a lot of expectations are there on women today. I am working from home and catering to three cities and over 300 hundred dogs. If you want to do it, it’s very much possible. However small or big your idea is, don’t be afraid and think that only a man can do it. Running a house is a difficult task in itself, but it’s all the more reason for you to do something different to break that monotony of doing one thing over and over again.
However small or big your idea is, don’t be afraid and think that only a man can do it.
How is digital India as a concept helping women?
I have a website- DoggieDabbas.com I think everything is online these days and that’s a major thing. Now you don’t have to have an office and work. You can work from home, you just need to open a website. This digital age is going to promote women all the more because we have the option of sitting at home and working at the same time.
How do you deal with the difficulties you face as an entrepreneur?
My only mantra is being calm. I am very calm and practical in any kind of problematic situations. I kind off can see the whole picture. When I was much younger, I would panic and clamp up but not anymore. But now I think one needs to take a step back from the situation and see the whole picture as only then will one be able to make the right call. We deal with machinery which conks off and the fresh food gets spoilt sometimes if one doesn’t have the ability to deal with such situations then what is the point.
I think one needs to take a step back from the situation and see the whole picture as only then will one be able to make the right call.
What are your other interests apart from DoggieDabbas?
Nothing, I am just too interested in dogs and everything related to them all the time. My husband says that you are just too focused into DoggieDabbas. Even when I go to some party, people only talk to me about dogs. But, on a serious note, I like reading and listening to Bollywood music.
Cover Picture Credit– Timecrest