Welcome to the first post of our new section: Entrepreneurial Series!
This first post is about Enzo Treats, a brand that is setting the pace in the goods and services business exclusively for pets in Colombia and that was created by my dear friend Maria Cristina Romero de Zubiría.
In this interview, she tells us about the process of creating Enzo Treats and what it has meant for her to become an entrepreneur.
I hope you guys enjoy it and find some inspiration for your own journey as entrepreneurs.
StephLacouture: What is Enzo Treats? Maria Cristina: We are a creative bakery, with healthy and delicious treats for pets.
SL: What products does Enzo Treats offer? MC: We offer a special and delicious menu exclusively for dogs that include burgers, pizzas, cupcakes with yogurt, and cookies, among others. Soon we will get sushi for the doggies.
Apart from the bakery we also have some amazing dog feeders. Our clients can choose from different colors and we hand them marked with the name of the dog or cat.
We are also close to launching our line of Bully Sticks for pets, ideal for them to bite, play, and clean their little teeth.
SL: Where did the idea of starting this business come from? MC: It was created due to the need of finding healthy snacks for my best and flurry friend, Enzo. A few years ago he started having problems with his colon and that forced our family to radically change his diet and search for healthier recipes; low-fat and at the same time, delicious for him. So after doing some research, I start finding recipes that I could personally make especially for Enzo and he ended up loving them.
SL: How did you realize that your need had a potential for a business? MC: I am a salesperson by nature. When I see an interesting product I start thinking what its impact could be in society and if it would be easy to sell.
When I started making the treats for Enzo, I wanted them to be eye-catching and that motivated me to think of a way to do innovative products.
At the time of making the treats I had the spark suitable to engineer different products. I wanted to prepare flashy and delicious food, just as what us humans, get to order in restaurants or bakeries. Although in our communities pets are an important element of our families, we are used to giving them dry dog food, three times a day. Can you imagine how boring it would be for us to eat cookies every day, three times a day?
Many friends that had puppies started asking me for those treats I gave to Enzo and after seeing such a great acceptance I converted it into my business.
SL: What has been the hardest part of making your brand succeed? MC: Being an entrepreneur can be risky, but if you want to do it, you have to go for it. We have had good and not so good periods of time, but I always stick to the vision of what I want to achieve, and even though many obstacles have and may continue to appear on the way, I am confident that we will surpass them. It is ok to fall, but it is a must to emerge victorious from that fall.
The process of creating and transforming the products has been the most difficult for me as the creator of the brand, Enzo Treats. I am a very fast-paced person; sometimes I wish I could close my eyes, and then open them and have my ideas already tangible in front of me, magically turned into a product. But it is not so, everything requires a few steps and thanks to this I have learned to be patient.
SL: Have you ever had to sacrifice anything for your business to succeed? MC: Yes. There were lots of sacrifices in terms of time and money. There were times in which I couldn’t by this shirt or those pair of shoes that I wanted, because I needed the money to invest it in my business. And sometimes, I would have wanted to travel to my hometown to see my family, but I had to stay in Bogota to take care of the store or to prepare and order that had to be delivered.
Sacrifice is an important part of the process and it is necessary in order to value things and maintain a clear vision of what you want to achieve with the company. And it has certainly been worth it. I am happy doing what I do, there is not a single day when the tedious word “work” replaces the passion for what I do.
SL: What role has social media played en the success of your business, if any? MC: Social media has played a leading role. It has provided me with the opportunity to speak directly to my clients, to get to know them, to be in their lives even if it’s through a comment or a ¨like¨. Social media also allows me to benchmark the market in terms of products, ideas, advertising, and customer management. Social media has been excellent business tool.
SL: To what do you attribute your success? MC: First, to the support of my family: I have a beautiful husband who has always believed in this dream and has gone hand in hand with me all the way. I am a creative and a dreamer, and he is my reality check, who helps me ground all the ideas I have in my head.
Second, to my persistence: I am not a person who gives up easily. When I have a goal or I really want something I fight for it day and night.
And third, to the passion and love that I feel for what I do: I firmly believe that when you love what you do, that love is passed on to both your clients and the people who work with you.
SL: What has been the greatest lesson that you have learnt in your entrepreneurial process?
MC: Without a doubt, I have learned to be persistent. In this process there will be many “no”, but it is only up to me if I let it distract me from my goal. I try not to let myself fall, I firmly believe in our business, and I have absolute clarity of where I want it to be in 10 years. That conviction is what makes me fight passionately for what I want.
SL: What was your first big achievement? MC: That now people recognize the brand with excitement. I will never forget a day when we only had 4 months out in the market, I was in a park in Bogotá selling treats in our #EnzoFerrari and a group of people passed and said: “¡Hey! That’s the cart of Enzo Treats, they have nice things.” That day and that feeling have been one of the great achievements of Enzo Treats. We have also been on national TV and have had great reception from the public.
SL: What would be your advice to anyone who has entrepreneurial aspirations? MC: To all who take this incredible path of entrepreneurship, I tell you to never let fear get in the way of reaching your goal. Fear is what hinders things the most. Design your business idea always faithful to what you believe but be always humble to accept suggestions for growth. There will always be hard times when you will want to shut down your dream, but it is right there, in that moment of doubt, where we draw all our inner strength and fight as warriors for what makes us happy.
You can find us on Instagram as @enzotreats. We deliver nationally in Colombia and you can reach us at (57)3173663839.