If you have already reached the point of spending an embarrassingly high amount on your pets, you are not alone.
The Asia Pacific region as a whole is expected to dominate the premium pet products market due to the increasing humanization of pets.
The same report predicts how online sales are made in the household and pet care category
are expected to grow by 15% between 2018 and 2023
Health and beauty sector, electronics and fashion.
Hoping to get a slice of this lucrative cake, Tofu Little Pet Space (also called Tofu Space) is an online store dedicated to premium pet accessories, toys, and gear, and takes pampering very, very seriously ,
Its true founder, Tofu The Cat
It could have been people who founded Bailey and Nelson (both co-founders) in 2018.
But Bailey admitted to Vulcan Post that her only real inspiration was her furry best friend, tofu.
Tofu, the inspiration behind the shop / Photo credit: Tofu Space
“Tofu is the reason we started. So it made sense to name the pet shop under its name. We even have a line of products dedicated to her called Mini Tofu because she's basically the founder of the business, ”said Bailey.
A year after they got tofu, the couple decided to expand their family by raising Natto and Fugu.
When asked why she chose this path of premium deals, Bailey said that it was born out of a mere desire to shower her cats with the best of the best.
The founders Bailey (left) and Nelson (right) with their three cats / Photo credit: Tofu Space
“When I got tofu for the first time, I was thrilled to get all sorts of pretty pet accessories, such as bird feeders, litter boxes, toys, accessories, etc. that were inspired by Pinterest,” Bailey continued.
Then I noticed that Malaysia's pet supplies market was quite limited. I
couldn't find anything that looked good and was still affordable
For a while, Bailey only resorted to buying back accessories from countries she visited.
But one day after getting tired of just thinking about what if and waiting for someone else to do it, she went all-in and started her own online solution.
Handpicked, tried and tested
Bailey describes tofu space as a way for them to share “all the beautiful things” with Malaysian pet parents and still familiarize them with advanced technology to make their lives easier.
“Some of our bestsellers are the bowls and feeders. We've just launched personalized dog bowls that come with your pet's name, and our customers have absolutely loved it so far, ”Bailey said.
Satisfied customers pose with their personalized Tofu Space products / Photo credit: Tofu Space
Although Bailey plans to expand its product range soon, she knows the importance of listing the highest quality products.
Each item is rated based on its unique design, technology, material used and price range.
“We will ask that the supplier send samples. We then use the products to ensure that they are legitimate. As soon as we know that it is of good quality, we will only add the list of our shop, ”she said.
Bailey is currently working with top suppliers from China, Taiwan and Japan on brands such as PETKIT, Pidan, Furrytail, VETRESKA, Arkika and others.
I give my guinea pig“A touch of luxury
I was curious to see how a premium product would feel and how it would work compared to your standard store-bought products (or those bought in other online marketplaces) and asked Bailey to recommend some products to me.
She was kind enough to send her bespoke headscarf, the pidan leash, the 2-in-1 water bowl, and the feeder and stuffed animal.
Here is my test subject, Loki, who puts on her individual bandana.
The bespoke bandana in gold lettering
The headscarf (RM20) is available in small, medium and large options. You can customize it according to the font options provided, which are available in white, sky blue, baby pink and gold.
The headscarf snaps onto your pet's chest or back easily enough. You can definitely see the attention that is focused on it. They use high quality cotton material, which makes it feel luxurious.
The pidan leash (RM50) has a healthy dose of colors and patterns, but was a little tight for my miniature poodle.
The pidan leash (left) compared to one bought by Shopee (right)
If I compare this to my puppy's current leash (which cost me about 15 RM at Shopee), I still prefer the latter a bit. In terms of durability, the previous leash feels a bit more durable – considering that my dog tugs a lot during his walks.
Tofu Space advertises this as one that is intended for small dogs and cats. I guess they mean pretty small pets.
They also sent us their unique 2-in-1 water and food feeder (RM45) to try. This requires a bit of assembly, but the logic behind it is simple.
The bubble 2-in-1 water and food supply
As you can see, the plastic bladder needs to be filled at least halfway and then attached to the top of the attachment. Once this is done, the water flows to the small bowl that your pet can drink from.
Loki drinks 2-in-1 water and feed machine from the bladder
If your dog is an equally messy drinker, the white rotating disc lets you spin as fast as you want without spilling everything.
I was worried that Loki didn't know what it was or didn't want to go near, but it actually worked surprisingly well.
The toy looked like Bailey's first cat, tofu
Bailey also tossed in a mini tofu (RM15), a plush toy inspired by the OG cat itself. This works more like a keychain for people as the little blue pearls can pose a choking hazard for your pets.
And no, it didn't get that dirty. I had to wrestle it from my little creature after grabbing it out of nowhere.
Their presence is slowly but carefully growing
shared with Vulcan Post that growing tofu space is often difficult
especially given their full time employment in design and marketing.
The biggest challenge has to be money and time. When I started, I
I also didn't have much savings to pass on to the business – the sale itself
was slow. I have relied on bazaars most of the time, but my day job takes over
a lot of time, ”Bailey admitted.
To increase sales, Bailey also opts for platforms like Lazada and Shopee to market and sell their products.
Regardless, she told us that she can currently only process local orders.
"It started in Malaysia and I am not yet aiming for worldwide shipping. This is also because international shipping costs are more expensive than my inexpensive products."
However, she wants to work with more local animal shelters to increase Tofu Space's reputation on the street, visit more animal shows (including the upcoming Pet Fiesta 2020 and Pet World Malaysia 2020), and hopefully produce her own goods in the near future.
- More information about other Malaysian startups can be found here.
Selected image source: Tofu Space