Author's blurb: How many of us here spend a huge amount of money on our pets? When I go to the pet store, I look around to see if I can find something to take home so my fearful miniature poodle can either chew, sleep, or get dressed.
Win Nie was also looking for attractive or tailor-made pet accessories for her miniature poodle Chanel, which she adopted 9 years ago.
Back then, elegant pet accessories were hard to find, apparently nonexistent. Nothing charmed her eyes enough to get them for Chanel.
So she started Haiwan, where she could make and sell her own pet collars for Chanel and other pets.
Overlook these collars and may wear them as bracelets / Photo credit: Haiwan
Haiwan sells a variety of pet collars, some of which may look the same as human bracelets.
"I decided to incorporate decorative elements into pet tags because I always envisioned this design for Chanel," she said.
Some of their bespoke collars feature dangling jewels, like the ones in their crystal tag collection.
Although they look charming, I have wondered about a pet's safety when it comes to these charms.
Pets that play hard with each other can cause the dangling parts to break off, and in the unfortunate event, accidentally eat and choke on them.
However, Win Never affirmed that her customers are required to contact her prior to purchase.
Your personal consultations will usually be conducted to determine an appropriate collar size for the pets.
She also spends a lot of time letting them know to opt out of these products if their pets are teething, rough, or younger than 6 months while playing.
"Since every owner knows their Haiwans best, I will, as an experienced Haiwan owner, give them my advice and leave the deciding factor to them," she said.
She also uses custom jump rings to hold the charms in place and ensure they stay intact for a pet's safety.
The leather collars feel high quality yet rustic / Photo credit: Haiwan
For a less dangerous option, Haiwan also has leather collars with solid brass tags with a rustic finish, engraved by Win Nie himself.
Reconciliation of work, life and a pet care
Even though Haiwan has been with him for over a year, Win Nie is still trying to balance this company with her full-time job.
She would do Haiwan orders at night after getting home from work.
It can get very busy on some days, especially when custom orders are required.
Aside from her bespoke pet collars, she also sells more comfortable pet accessories like soft neck pillows to replace uncomfortable plastic cones of shame.
Most of their orders come in sporadically, especially orders for the soft neck pillows.
This is usually because owners can't predict when accidents would happen. Most would therefore require the pillow cones to be delivered the same day.
Donut cones are one of Haiwan's bestsellers / Image Credit: Haiwan
It was actually a similar case with Chanel pushing Win Nie to start this company.
One morning in 2018, Chanel woke up paralyzed in her hind legs.
That started a full year of consecutive hospital exams, intense physical therapy, and restoring her furkid's health.
It was extremely difficult for Win Nie in Malaysia to acquire specialized equipment to help Chanel relax and feel good.
After Chanel's condition stabilized, Win Nie launched Haiwan in May 2019.
Chanel is a really strong little pup / Photo credit: Haiwan
But just like Chanel, pets will eventually recover from their wounds and injuries.
I wondered how good it would be to invest in purchasing one of these neck pillows for such a temporary period of use.
Win Nie said that this assumption can be inaccurate because certain breeds like huskies and Shiba Inus tend to itch during the shedding season.
This would make them wear the cone fairly regularly to prevent scratching.
Therefore, the cones act as a long-term investment for the benefit of a pet, as the product can have a long lifespan if properly cared for.
She also refuses that she does not make these pillow cones herself. Rather, it outsources them from manufacturers overseas.
The same goes for all other products sold in their store except for the pet collars.
Cooperation in competition
Haiwan's sales have grown steadily since their first client.
Before COVID-19, Haiwan had pop-ups at flea markets and animal bazaars. This enabled them to go beyond social media and meet customers in real life.
Haiwan also worked with several pet brands such as Gigilily's, a homemade pet treatment company, and El Lobos Grooming Station for product giveaways.
Right now Win Nie is working with Concrete Dezign to make pet food bowls.
Concrete Floor Food Bowls / Photo credit: Haiwan
As the brand's prices tend to be in the upper range, Haiwan strives to match them with the quality of their products.
Their goal is to eventually make Haiwan known as the go-to place for unique, high quality pet accessories.
She hopes to be able to open a shop one day.
Haiwan has yet to break even. Win Never said that when it starts to profit, she will know her business made it.
Bottom line: It makes sense to cone pets that won't stop scratching, as mine will scratch themselves until they're bleeding. Getting her one too might just be a good investment. However, I do worry about how warm it will feel when a pet is wearing it all day, especially in damp weather.
- You can find out more about Haiwan here.
- More information on F&B can be found here.
Selected image source: Chanel (left), the toy poodle from Hawian's founder Win Nie