lynn pearl tan my animal dispensary
In this article

In the vast world of entrepreneurship, remarkable connections are often forged through chance encounters.

For Pearl Tan, co-founder of My Animal Dispensary, her journey began with a simple inquiry to a mutual acquaintance about potential veterinarians who would be interested in partnering to establish a groundbreaking online pet pharmacy.

Little did she know that this inquiry would lead her to fellow co-founder Lynn Tan and set the stage for My Animal Dispensary.

Pearl’s professional background prior to her entrepreneurial endeavour was rooted in the travel industry, with a focus on online media and marketing.

Eventually driven by a deep passion for animals, Pearl later dipped her toes in the pet industry with the establishment of Bubble Pets, an online pet store.

Eager to deepen her understanding of animal care, she pursued various educational courses and obtained certifications in Pet Care Management and Canine First Responder.

Most recently, she completed the Specialist Diploma in Veterinary Clinical Practice from Ngee Ann Poly. It was during this time that she identified a “glaring void” in the online domain when it came to pet wellness.

Prioritising the well-being of pets

Pearl observed that despite the abundance of veterinary clinics in Singapore, there was a surprising lack of online pharmacy services.

This realisation, combined with the invaluable insights gained from her academic program, served as the catalyst for the creation of My Animal Dispensary.

“Our primary objective revolved around providing pet owners with enhanced convenience, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness,” said Pearl, who is a pet owner herself.

my animal dispensary
Image Credit: My Animal Dispensary

One of the key challenges that pet owners faced when it came to accessing pet care and pharmacy services was the inconvenience and limited accessibility of traditional clinics. The prevailing system relied heavily on face-to-face interactions, requiring pet owners to make frequent trips to clinics for medication refills.

My Animal Dispensary sought to address this by establishing a prominent online presence and offering doorstep delivery services.

Another significant challenge was the inconsistencies in medication pricing across various clinics, which often left pet owners unsure about the fairness of the cost structure.

As such, My Animal Dispensary is committed to “instilling transparency in [their] pricing framework”, empowering pet owners to make informed decisions and benefit from a fair and open cost structure.

Holistically, My Animal Dispensary is an online pet pharmacy that is exclusively dedicated to the well-being of animals. Their range of offerings includes prescription diets, veterinarian-endorsed supplements, medications, as well as accessories.

COVID-19 accelerated digital adoption

My Animal Dispensary was established in 2021 before the onset of COVID-19 and as the first (and only) online pet dispensary in Singapore, it capitalised on the growing demand for alternatives due to the prevailing staff shortages in the industry, and the extended waiting periods for clinic appointments.

However, the veterinary industry, deeply rooted in face-to-face consultations and in-person visits, initially hesitated to embrace the concept of an online pet dispensary.

We collaborated closely with local authorities to establish the framework for pet dispensary operations, which is now firmly in place. Initially, local online medication purchases were limited, and prescriptions from veterinary clinics were uncommon, with certain clinics reluctant to issue them.

… Despite the prevailing online trend, some suppliers continue to decline to collaborate with us, adhering to their policy of exclusively working with veterinary clinics.

– Pearl Tan, co-founder of My Animal Dispensary

Fast forward to today, My Animal Dispensary has forged collaborations with esteemed veterinary partners such as such as VetMobile, ZumvetBorderless healthcare: Doctor Anywhere founder on building one of the largest “hospitals” in SEA, and Vet On Wheels, providing teleconsultation services and arranging house call visits when necessary.

“The veterinary clinic industry in Singapore, although traditionally conservative, is gradually evolving. It was crucial for us to establish a harmonious partnership with the clinics,” said Pearl.

Rather than positioning themselves as competitors, they prioritised integrity and diligently built trust with clinics, shaping their brand identity. This approach proved fruitful, with more clinics now issuing prescriptions and proactively contacting My Animal Dispensary to inquire about medication stocks.

Shaping a seamless experience for pet owners

The user experience at My Animal Dispensary is designed to be seamless and efficient. Pet owners can easily navigate the website and utilise the available services.

With just three clicks, they can search for desired medications, supplements, or prescription diets, order the required quantity, and proceed to make payment. Prescription medications and products requiring a prescription label necessitate the uploading of a prescription copy, which is verified by the in-house veterinarian to ensure authenticity.

They maintain optimal quality by sourcing products solely from reliable local distributors. Stringent internal Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) regulate the dispensation of medications, ensuring strict adherence to rigorous quality control measures.

In 2022, they became Singapore’s first Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS)-certified online pet dispensary, and have a team of licensed AVS veterinarians.

“As a dispensary, our vets do not do consultations. We work with vet partners so that our clients are able to get a complete wellness experience,” explained Pearl.

pet telehealth singapore
Image Credit: Zumvet

Pet owners have the flexibility to schedule teleconsultations or house call visits with partnered veterinarians, while their prescribed medications are conveniently delivered to their doorsteps within one to three business days.

In cases requiring emergency assistance, vet partners refer pets to clinics better equipped to handle such situations.

“Over the years, we have expanded our team to include more than five dedicated professionals, with plans to further recruitment as we continue to execute our expansion strategy,” said Pearl.

They broke even within the first year

my animal dispensary founders
Lynn Tan (left) and Pearl Tan (right), co-founders / Image Credit: My Animal Dispensary

The initial investment in My Animal Dispensary was self-funded by Pearl and Lynn, and they successfully achieved break-even within the first year of operation.

The business has witnessed significant growth over the years, with sales multiplying fivefold during the pandemic and a consistent year-on-year growth trend.

“Like most startups, our initial phase witnessed slow business growth, with prescription orders in the low double digits per month. However, [we have] since experienced exponential growth, with prescription orders now averaging between 300 and 400 per month, and steadily increasing.”

Looking ahead, the vision for My Animal Dispensary extends beyond the borders of Singapore. They are actively conducting market feasibility studies to explore expansion opportunities.

Additionally, they are seeking collaborations with veterinary clinics and animal shelters to foster partnerships aimed at raising awareness of animal welfare. Through campaigns, events, workshops, and impactful social media campaigns, they aim to educate pet owners about responsible pet care and animal welfare issues.

By sharing educational content, success stories, and tips for responsible pet ownership, they seek to amplify awareness of healthcare and engage the community in meaningful discussions.

As a pioneering force in the pet healthcare industry, they have transformed the traditional face-to-face model into a seamless online experience, revolutionising the way pet owners access medications and care.

Featured Image Credit: My Animal Dispensary

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© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)