HayPigs!®, home of the award-winning HayPigs!® Guinea Pig Circus™, celebrates its first Birthday this weekend and is keen to thank everyone for their fabulous support. As the anniversary approaches, co-founders Rik and Helen Cridland reflect on what has been an very challenging, but rewarding journey;
"A couple of years ago, had we told you that we were going to launch a 'guinea pig circus' and design products specifically aimed at guinea pigs, you would have thought we were mad (and some still do!)." explains Rik, "It was quite a hard sell to be frank, many in the trade didn't believe there was enough of a market to focus solely on small animals, let alone specialise in guinea pig accessories! But we had a clear vision of what we wanted to do and most importantly, really knew our target market well. This gave us great confidence in our product and brand idea."
"Early days were tough, for our idea to work we needed to commit to a significant amount of stock in order to launch with a coherent, themed range of products. All our products were bespoke, some of the them required expensive tooling, there was significant testing and IP costs and once our stock landed, we also had to deal with storing it all. But thankfully, when the whole package was presented to the trade and most importantly, our potential customers, they loved it! The feedback we have had over the last year has been incredible and made all the hard work worthwhile."
Eager to establish their brand quickly, HayPigs!® spent a good portion of last year on the road attending trade shows and public events. Along with their relentless social media activity, these public events have done a lot to build and grow a loyal and committed fan base that HayPigs!® are very proud of. Helen explains, "We knew before we started this adventure that the guinea pig and small animal community are a very special bunch. They adore their pets and go to great lengths to please them. As guinea pig owners, we refer to ourselves as 'pig slaves' and if we're honest, our pets probably eat better than we do! Attending public shows like the National Pet Show has been a great opportunity for us to meet with our social media followers, introduce ourselves to new pet fanatics and get our educational messages out there. It has been a real family affair, those of you who attended PATS Telford last year may have found me with a new born baby strapped to my chest. We joke that Scarlett (or 'HayBaby!') had done 3 shows before she was even born!"
In a year that has seen them scoop the best new small animal product in the PATS Telford showcase, get to the final of the PetQuip Awards for Pet Product of the Year as well as being finalist in the Innovation category at the PIF Awards, HayPigs!® have a lot to be proud of. This in addition to their range being taken on by several of the UK's largest retailers and many of the wonderful and diverse independents up and down the country, it's been a great start for the Essex based family business and their band of small furry friends.
"We can't wait to show you what's coming next" says Rik with a big smile on his face, "The show's only just begun!"