Cat-tering To The Pet Set

FELINE LOVE

Cat-tering To The Pet Set

For the love of pets, I-Vet Petcare goes beyond providing medical service and creates niche pet health products and plans to go global. We speak to Ahmad Azid Tahar Ahmad Latiffi, Chief Operating Officer for I-Vetworks Sdn Bhd.

Tucked in between two auto salons on a busy street at Seksyen 23, Shah Alam, iVET Petcare is abuzz with activity. On a daily basis, some 30 to 40 furry patients are brought in by their owners to undergo health check-ups, immunisations and surgery.

"We felt there was a calling for us to establish animal clinics, and create awareness to help pet owners,”

For the lucky ones, they are brought here just for grooming.

Greeting customers right at the door are three cats; six-month-old long hair ‘Orchid’ on the counter, 4-year old black Persian ‘Dumbo’ under the chair and young, patchy ‘Kucing Malaysia’, aptly named ‘Handsome’ loitering around the pet clinic.

“They are our resident cats!” says Ahmad Azid Tahar Ahmad Latiffi, Chief Operating Officer for I-Vetworks Sdn Bhd.

“They used to be stray cats but our staff are animal lovers. So, they have adopted the cats. They are here permanently now,” he says with a chuckle.

iVet Aims to Increase Petcare Awareness Among Malaysians

It is a love for animals that spurred Ahmad Azid and wife, Dr Natrah Abdul Razak to get into the pet care business seven years ago.

“My wife is a veterinarian who used to work with the National Zoo of Malaysia. She used to come back and tell me how so many people have no knowledge about pet care.”

“This is how the idea to start our own business came about seven years ago. We felt there was a calling for us to establish animal clinics, and create awareness to help pet owners,” says Ahmad Azid, who handles the business operations while wife, surgeries and medicine.

The pair currently run five pet clinics; two in Shah Alam, Keramat, Kuala Lumpur, Puchong and Petaling Jaya. It is staffed by 24 employees, comprising six veterinarians and pet caretakers.

“We receive all types of pets - mostly cats, but we also are getting dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs. We have customers bringing in their exotic pets too, such as pythons, tarantulas, and monkeys.”

“We provide various medical treatment and consultation; from emergency cases, surgeries, dental to grooming. We also provide burial services - yes, there is a pet cemetery! Just like the ‘Pet Sematary’ movie- if you have watched it,” he jokes.

What makes iVet Petcare unique is, apart from running veterinary and grooming services, the entrepreneurial pair has also ventured into product manufacturing when they realised there was a lack of quality but affordable pet health products in the market.

“We started by producing medicated shampoo. Later, we produced the iVet essential series called The Omega to improve pets hair and skin; Immunoboost to improve immunity and ProDigest to help with digestions and intestinal issues among pets.”

“Our products are made in Malaysia, and we use only natural ingredients.”

iVET Formulates Own Pet Health Products

“Our target is to produce 50,000 bottles per month until the end of this year,"

There seems to be good demand for its products; Ahmad Azid says recently, some 1,500 bottles of supplements were sold out within a month on the shelf -  giving the husband and wife confidence to export the products overseas. “I consider it a huge success,” he says excitedly.

The pair plans to start exporting in July into markets like China, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia as a start. “Our target is to produce 50,000 bottles per month until the end of this year, in preparation for export and to meet local demands.”

“We are confident because we have done our study and we found that the number of producers selling pet health products is small.”

“Besides, our products are made from vets to pets - it is made based on our experience and understanding pets throughout the years.”

Aside from doing manufacturing and servicing businesses, I-Vetworks also wants to continue to advocate pet care, creating video content on social media to teach pet owners the essentials of caring for animals.

“We have a YouTube channel with over 50 videos to help enlighten pet owners on things like; ‘How to clean our pet’s teeth’ or ‘How to administer medication’.”

“We have another playlist, ‘Super Ivet’ where we share information on more serious topics like ‘Broken Hip Bone Surgeries’ and ‘What happens during emergency caesarean’. We hope pet owners will take precaution and make better decisions when a life-threatening situation arises for their pets.”

Apart from their pet-loving nature, the pair is also altruistic; they started an initiative called Project Love in 2015 to help pet lovers in need of financial assistance to care for their pets or strays.

“These people have a good heart. They are protecting stray animals. So, we give them assistance in terms of food, medicines and surgeries.”

Through the project, they also conduct programs, seminars, events and in-house training, in the hope to establish greater awareness among community to care more about animals.

“We get them to share their stories on these videos. Many shelters and animal lovers feel like they are alone. So through these videos, we hope they don’t feel alone anymore,” he says.

For Ahmad Azid and Dr Natrah, they believe iVet has the potential to become a household name in Malaysia. The pair is aiming to set up ten more clinics by end of 2020, and eventually list on Bursa Malaysia.

iVET Petcare Aims To List On Bursa In Five Years

They are also part of 90 Malaysian entrepreneurs who graduated from the first edition of the Alibaba Netpreneur Training Malaysia Programme, a joint initiative by Alibaba Business School, Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) and SME Corporation Malaysia.

"We envision that awareness on the wellbeing of animals does not only lie among pet owners but the general public too.”

“We are improving our customer service, management and we are about to get certification from the Standard and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia (SIRIM). These are all in the pipeline.”

“We are also planning to penetrate more countries, especially in Asia. We want to get into the European countries as well. That’s how we envision the business in the next five years.”

“On the non-business side, we hope to help pet owners be more knowledgeable about taking care of their pets,” says Ahmad Azid. 

“In five years, we envision that awareness on the wellbeing of animals does not only lie among pet owners but the general public too.”

“I believe it is everyone’s responsibility to be kind and loving towards animals,” he says.

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