Amy Lyden launched her Bow Wow Meow pet tags with personality product range five years ago and now distributes through over 1,500 pet shops and Veterinary Clinics across Australia and New Zealand. The Internet site, www.bowwow.com.au, has been live for two years and attracts more than 100,000 separate visitors a month.
Where did the idea for Bow Wow Meow come from?
About seven years ago I got two kittens and was really disappointed in the pet products at that time, particularly in the way of identification. I thought there would surely be other pet owners out there who loved their animals as much as I loved mine and who wanted a good quality tag. That was the initial thinking behind it.
What gave you the courage to make the move into your own business?
I really believed in my idea – that it was going to work. I was tired of playing corporate politics in a big company and what appealed to me was the fact that small businesses can make a decision about something and do it straightaway.
What has been the biggest hurdle?
For us it’s been handling growth, the lack of resources and the problems associated with it. It’s a good thing but you have to manage it properly. It’s a real challenge to maintain your excellence while handling the demand for the product.
What is the motivation?
For me it is to create something. That’s the core of it. I get so excited when I see a dog on the street with a Bow Wow Meow tag. The other thing is the idea of being able to control your own environment – if you have an idea you just do it. That’s what I really like about having my own business, the freedom.
Who are your mentors?
Inspirational books/people etc? I really admire Anita Roddick for her holistic approach to business. She is so successful in a non-traditional way. The book that totally changed my perception about business is Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth, which I have read numerous times. The other person is Robert Kiyosaki – he made me think about Bow Wow Meow on a broader level and helped me change the way I think about money. The other mentor is my mother, for her ability to laugh and maintain her sense of humour!
What is your top strategy for success?
Firstly, have a really good team around you. It’s impossible to do everything yourself, you need to call on other people who are experts in another area and have them handle it. If you don’t you will really limit yourself. The other important thing is to listen to your customers, because they ultimately write your pay cheque. Talk to them and find out what they want and then make the necessary changes.
Amy Lyden is the founder and director of Bow Wow Meow, the largest producer of high quality “fun” identification tags for pets with personality in Australia. Launched in 1995, Bow Wow Meow revolutionised the pet tag industry by offering choice and fun identification for pet lovers. Accolades include “Best New Product – 1995” (Pet Industry Trade Show 1995), Australian NetGuide’s “Best Web Site of the Month” – June 1998, and Finalist – Telstra NSW Small Business Awards 1998.
Bow Wow Meow also just recently won the NSW state winner of the 2000 Micro Business Awards. A “Micro Business” is a small business with less than 5 full time employees. 85% of all small businesses in Australia are Micro.