If you have a pet as your best friend, you'll probably want to do everything you can to ensure that they are safe, healthy and happy. From staying on top of their vaccinations and having their medical history on hand to keeping abreast of food and health trends, we know you want to manage your furry family's wellbeing as well as you manage your human family.
It is for this reason that Kyne Lupini and Shannon Sweetman, two local female entrepreneurs, launched Tame, a pet management system easily accessed via a lifestyle-focused app.
The two local female entrepreneurs, who aims to take pet wellbeing to a whole new level, share more about Tame.
Can you tell us a bit about Tame?
Sweetman: Tame is an app created by animal lovers. Pets come with responsibilities and needs. We wanted to create an app that houses everything you need to own a pet. Our app focuses on the relationship between pet and owner where they are very much part of our lifestyle.
We offer options to shop for your pet, to find pet-friendly establishments, gain more understanding about your pet and keep all of your pet's information safe in one place. Our app goes as far as offering peace of mind by having our team of vets and behaviourists waiting to chat to you for anything you may be worried about.
When, how and why did you get started?
Lupini: At the beginning of lockdown. Shannon and I started a long-overdue partnership, but this was the perfect timing. We did it because we felt the pet industry needed a platform whereby pet enthusiasts and their loved pets can both benefit from detailed information that centred around the health and wealth of their pets' lives. We wanted to create an avenue that enhances the co-existence of both owner and pet.
Sweetman: Kyne and I have been in the pet industry for many years and have always respected each other from a distance. We live in different cities, so in order for this to work, we needed to be on Zoom calls daily as well as WhatsApp from morning to night. We have not skipped a day since we began in March. Luckily we found each other as our visions are very similar if not the same. We started with a conversation which led to a plan and moved from talking to drawing on paper. We covered and discovered every single tiny detail together.
What is the core function of Tame?
Sweetman: The aim is to simplify pet ownership.
Lupini: Tabulates, stores, files, and maintains detailed information that benefits the health of pets lives. Furthermore, it offers value-added benefits that allow pet owners to enforce and grow their special bonds with their pets.
What are some of the obstacles you've had to overcome since starting?
Sweetman: People warned us, but we didn't listen (thankfully), that taking on the app world is not for the faint-hearted. We were also told that we should start small and this only made us want to go bigger and bolder!
Technology is not simple; whoever you are you, will come across many big and small obstacles. I don't believe this will ever end, and you just get better at dealing with it. What stands out to me the most would be the beginning of our journey, we interviewed many app developers and finding the perfect fit was a challenge. If you can't communicate with your app developer, you are in big trouble.
Lupini: Finding the correct IT partner that shares, understands and believes in our core value has been difficult, although fruitful its been hard during lockdown to map out our thoughts clearly. As this is an IT mobile app - the IT functions are paramount for its successful operation.
What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Sweetman: Just start, think later. Doubt tends to creep in if you sit on an idea too long. Don't wait until you have all your ducks in a row. Just start, jump in and let it all unfold with relentless hard work and tenacity. If you don't believe in what you're doing, then don't waste your time. You need passion and love for what you're doing to get you through the tough days.
When you want to quit. Don't!
What has been your proudest achievement thus far?
Lupini: Being able to help just one pet and 'its' owner and the fact we actually did it! That it was not only a dinner conversation about what we would love to do.
Sweetman:What we have achieved, with no experience in the app realm and working daily from separate cities. This entire process has been an achievement. The proudest would be the day we officially went live on Android and IOS.
What does the future of entrepreneurship look like to you?
Sweetman: It took a global pandemic to shake people to the core to realise that no one is secure. We have been drummed up to believe that working for someone from 9-5 is the responsible way to live, the safest option. I have always disagreed with this teaching as one has more control if you work for yourself. You can set the bar as high as you want, and your livelihood does not lie in someone else's hands.
I believe more people will start their own businesses now. With many people working remotely, you are removed from your 'normal', the routine of a full-time job has been interrupted. Perhaps opportunities to create work around your lifestyle seems more possible today more than ever before. We are on the rise when it comes to supporting local businesses.
Lupini: Entrepreneurship is a lonely and sometimes daunting concept, but our society needs new innovative concepts and ideas.
What do you think is the importance of startup accelerator/incubator programmes?
Sweetman: It will make all the difference as this would motivate people to start a business. Funding, for the majority of small businesses, is usually your first hurdle, which could stop you in your tracks and closing the book on your concept.
Kyne: The ability to 'do'. The difference between pulling the trigger to start and a remaining a pipe dream. A plan, someone that backs you, shared vision and capital if you can get your hands on it.
What would you like to see changed in the South African startup landscape?
Lupini: Perhaps more agencies or platforms that could assist in services designed to accelerate or help entrepreneurs. Advice is always a big one. The need "ask" somebody is very underrated. No one is self-made.
Sweetman: When you take a risk as significant as ours, funding is always an issue. Big corporations need to support smaller startups. I must say, we have had great support so far in other ways which are just as valuable as cash in hand.
What do you believe are the traits an entrepreneur needs to succeed?
Sweetman: Passion first. The passion will drive you to work all hours of the morning and drag you out of bed. Tenacity - things don't always come easy, you will be knocked down along the way, but you need to keep getting back up. You need to be prepared to work really hard. When it is something you love, the journey is so worth it! Be Brave! Take risks!
Lupini: The ability to get up and go for it, you need to be determined, a self-starter that doesn't accept defeat easily.
Tell us about your biggest struggles as an entrepreneur, as well as some major highlights
Sweetman: The biggest struggle for me has been cash flow and that my time is money. If I don't do a photoshoot (for my photography business), I won't earn - every hour matters. The life of an entrepreneur blends in with your entire life and becomes one, so I struggle to "switch off".
Lupini: For me, seeing our app on IOS was a highlight, but getting our first downloads was major. On IOS on day one we got 101 downloads, and for Google, we were trending at #2
Why would you encourage someone to become an entrepreneur?
Sweetman:To be an entrepreneur is to believe in yourself. It is empowering. You will learn more skills being an entrepreneur than any other job. To be successful, you need to know how to do many things yourself - you are a PA, accountant, seamstress, photographer, app creator, marketing consultant and more! This is a massive advantage to being an entrepreneur! I love to encourage people to dream big and go for it!
Lupini: We feel the world needs more people willing to take the leap of faith in pursuit of their dreams or passions, during our development and launching phase of Tame we were alive and thrilled to create a concept that will create change / and become a movement.
Where would you like to see Tame in the next five years?
We will be global for sure!