Though human and virtual influencers are aplenty, pet influencers are the next big thing.
Take Rhea the Siberian Cat for example — the fluffy feline has over 16,000 followers on Instagram, and has collaborated with big brands like Shopee and Sudio.
Indeed, Jane Peh, co-founder of The Woof Agency, said that pet spending has exceeded S$100 billion in 2019, and COVID-19 has pushed pet ownership to a new high.
Whether you spend obscure amounts of time watching animal videos online, or religiously follow your favourite pet influencer, it is undeniable that animals have a huge presence in our lives.
Jane herself “followed a tonne of dog accounts on Instagram” and cites it as a way to “escape reality”.
She also spends a lot of time watching animal videos, and one day it dawned upon her that pet influencers really did appeal to people.
She then wondered if there was a way for her to marry her love of animals with her background in advertising, which led to the starting of The Woof Agency.
A Social Media Agency For Pet Influencers
Founded in 2018 by Jane and her husband Tay Sijun, The Woof Agency is a social media agency that specialises in pet influencer marketing.
The business was merely a “side hustle” for the first six months, and Jane only went into it full time last year after “gaining a certain level of traction.”
Jane told Vulcan Post that the company started off as a pet influencer marketing agency, but soon realised that brands needed more than just pet influencer marketing.
That was when they started operating as a social media agency, and expanded their offerings into product market research and more.
Now, it handles the end-to-end management of entire influencer marketing campaigns, from talent contracting to post-campaign reporting.
The Woof Agency’s clients are mostly pet brands — from global distributors to online pet shops looking to increase their presence.
The team also has a high level of expertise in the pet industry, and is able to provide value to their customers by giving suggestions on pet trends and insights.
Since its inception, The Woof Agency has more than 2,000 registered pet influencers from more than 45 countries in its network.
Jane also shared that the agency’s combined reach has exceeded 20 million. To date, the company counts Nestle Purina, Crayola USA, Skechers and Aon Insurance as some of their clients.
“Some memorable campaigns include Dyson, Skechers (and) Crayola as these are non-pet food products, so having these brands to work with pet influencers really shows the appeal pets have on the end consumers,” said Jane.
The startup also works with a lot of non-profit organisations to bring awareness around pet adoption.
By Pet Owners, For Pet Owners
Passion for animals is very important to Jane, so much so that she persisted through all the obstacles the startup faced in its early days.
“We lived off our savings and bootstrapped the business, using any free resources we could find in the early days,” she told TechNode in a separate interview.
It was only when they hit profitability and had sufficient money to start hiring, did they hire their first CTO, Navaneeth Sreekandan.
According to Jane, 80 per cent of The Woof Agency team are pet owners, which “helps a lot when deciding whether a campaign idea appeals to pet owners.”
Besides its core business, Jane and Sijun have also started Pawjourr, a platform where pet owners can redeem free samples, and compare and book grooming services.
[Some of our greatest successes are] when pet owners tag us on social media with pictures of their happy pets.
Seeing actual photos and videos of the business making an impact on pet owners — be it creating bonding times between the pet owners and the pets during content creation, the magic of trying new products and knowing what your pets love, or seeing pet owners pamper and indulge their pets with gifts from the campaign fees they receive from brands — it makes us smile.Jane Peh, Co-founder and CMO of The Woof Agency
The founders are currently working on overseas expansion for The Woof Agency, as well as building Pawjourr.
Jane said that they are currently in talks with a few companies abroad and are trying to form partnerships to gain easy access to international markets.
The husband-and-wife duo are also starting to raise funds for The Woof Agency’s seed funding round.
“The end goal is really to be the only website anyone would ever need when it comes to pet ownership,” said Jane.
Featured Image Credit: The Woof Agency