Today, lets meet Elan and Lisa who created Long Paws. If you are searching for pawsome, innovative products for your dogs, look no further!
Can you tell me a little about you?
I'm Elan Mansur the director of Long Paws. I grew up in South Africa and has always been a lover of dogs and other animals. I'm married to Lisa, herself a big fan of dogs, but also a real cat lover!
Before creating Long Paws, what were you doing?
My background is somewhat different – I come from the worlds of management consulting and banking. I've always wanted to build a business from scratch, and when I started looking into the different options out there, I kept coming back to my roots. My wife and I are both South African and we both grew up with pets all our lives. As a child, my family always had dogs, budgies and cockatiels at home. I can't say I've looked back at all. It amazes me just how friendly and how much fun the pet industry can be.
Why did you decide to create your company?
Lisa and I kept finding that everything you see for your pet looks the same as the last time you looked. As a result, in 2011, they launched Long Paws. “We decided that we would find and develop products for your dogs that weren't run-of-the-mill. There was no point trying to do what everyone else does. We focus our time on finding and coming up with new ideas that make a difference to you and your pets. The type of things you see and think, ‘I haven't seen that before - I need one of those’ ".
Was creating your own business difficult?
Yes, but if we can make a success of the business in the current climate, then we know we have a successful business model. Unfortunately too often people end up with the reverse. Everyone can make money in the good times, but when the tide goes out, a lot of people get caught swimming without their trunks. Business is tough these days, but if you run a business honestly and ethically, your clients will stand by you and will help you grow over time. Even in this climate, we've expanded into 18 countries across Europe, and have also started exporting to the middle east.
What are your plans for the future?
At the moment, we're very focused on making sure we get our products into the right places. We're working with a number of distributors across Europe who are helping get our products further afield, and we're hoping to keep growing the distribution base. Within the UK, we would like to expand our foothold in the garden sectors, veterinary market and gifts market, while continuing to expand with the pet retailers. We are also starting to work with some agents to help spread our products further.
I have no doubt, that no matter how much we plan, Long Paws seems to have its own destiny, and we may just be along for the ride. Our plan is to enjoy it wherever it takes us.
What was your first pet product?
The Pet Water Bottle is the first product in the Long Paws range and is exactly what we were looking for. There are water bottles out there - loads of them, but none like this. Ours is a dog water bottle that allows your dog to drink straight from the bottle (without the choking). You don't need the bowl. There are no attachments, and there's far less waste. Best of all the bottles don't leak and they look fantastic. As your dog licks, the bottle releases a flow of water. The bottles are made of stainless steel and the caps are made with non-harmful plastics.