As an emerging smart pet product brand, Furbulous set the record for pet product crowd funding on Indiegogo at over 800 thousand dollars last year. In the year of its founding(2022), Furbulous successfully raised angel-round funding. This year, it again received strategic funding.
What's the secret behind its rapid growth against a gloomy economic background? How does a burgeoning brand win over customers and build its reputation? In the coming age of "technology changing everything", the dialogue of EqualOcean with Martin Mao, founder of Furbulous, may cast light on such questions.
EqualOcean: Please introduce Furbulous to the readers of EqualOcean.
Furbulous: Furbulous was founded in 2022 by a group of pet lovers, and we aim to deliver user-friendly, pet-friendly, and high-tech pet supply products to customers.
EqualOcean: How did you come up with the brand name Furbulous?
Furbulous: We were playing a game called Arena of Valor (Chinese: 王者荣耀), and if we got 5 kills or 4 kills that came out as "Fabulous". So I think this was partly when we were playing a game. And there's one slogan saying something like "Fabulous" and we're just thinking, okay, we can just add the "Fur" in. That's how it is.
EqualOcean: What are the backgrounds of Furbulous' founding members?
Furbulous: The two founders are me and Ruby. Our background is much more focused on the Fortune 500 top firms. I was working for ASUS, Fujitsu, and IBM, and Ruby was working for the Washington Post, Bloomberg, and BBC Academy. That's our rough background introduction. We started in the pet supply industry in 2019 and it's our fifth year joining this industry.
EqualOcean: The pet product industry is very competitive. Why did you choose this industry as your startup business?
Furbulous: I would think it's a very emerging market because in the last five years, the market size has grown very rapidly, both in China and the global market. On the other side, we don't think there is a very giant player in the market, but there are several big players in the market. We want to make something big and make something special for the market, so that's why we established this team.
EqualOcean: The history of Furbulous is not very long, but it's getting very famous now. What factors contributed to Furbulous' rapid success?
Furbulous: From our point of view, we think we might do something special. First of all, we do listen to the customer and listen to the market. We have done more than 190,000 surveys in the last year because we want to be clear about what kind of real pain points customers have when they are using smart pet supply products, and also what are their biggest concerns regarding safety and brand issues.
We also dig deep into the customer's feedback and we utilize their feedback in our products' R&D. For instance, we improved the Furbulous Box’s app interface based on our customer's suggestions and made it more intuitive. Another example I can give you is that we also enhance our mechanism to optimize the waste disposal efficiency on our customers' feedback, and our customers can decide which kind of packing they prefer.
We invite our customers into our whole product or R&D life cycle and they can witness all kinds of milestones that we have achieved so they can participate in all the processes.
EqualOcean: You listen to customers throughout the whole process, from R&D to customer support. What matters most to the consumers when they purchase these smart pet products?
Furbulous: We can split it into several topics. First of all, it has to be safety because in the USA and also in the European region, most of the customers or the pet owners, treat their pets as their children, so safety is the very first point that they will take into consideration. They don't want to buy a product that is not safe, so safety is the most important thing for them.
The second is how the product can solve the problem and the pain points for the customers. For example, there are a lot of cat litter boxes in the market, and most of them can do self-cleaning work, but a big issue for the customers is the odor or the smell. The customers complain about the smell a lot of times, but no other vendors or brands can solve this problem.
Another important fact for customers is how much they can trust the brand. This is a very important issue for us because Furbulous is a very new brand to the market. So during the R&D process and during our Indiegogo funding program, we try to make ourselves as transparent as we can. We post most of our milestone results on our Indiegogo landing page, our official website, and also our social media accounts, to let the customers know what kind of things we have done and even what kind of things we have failed to do.
Furbulous' Cat Litter Box on Indiegogo
EqualOcean: When customers pick smart pet products, do they pay attention to the materials of your product?
Furbulous: Yes, of course. The customers have asked us several times to check whether the materials are safe, including the plastic and deodorant materials. Because we have the trash bag in the product, they also want to know whether the material for the trash bag is eco-friendly. Luckily, we have chosen eco-friendly materials for the deodorant bar, and also biodegradable materials for our plastic bags. From this kind of point, we think we have delivered eco-friendly products to our customers.
EqualOcean: What are the values that make your company stand out in the market?
Furbulous: I think we want to deliver a different lifestyle or a different attitude towards our product. You can see from our slogan that we want to deliver a "Furbulous lifestyle" for all pet owners and lovers, which means our products should be different both in shape and function. We also want to deliver our brand core values to the customers, including caring, respect, diversity, tolerance, innovation, fun, professionalism, and integrity. That's what we have done and what we will insist on doing in the future.
EqualOcean: Let's talk about the products of Furbulous. We noticed the smart cat litter box is a very popular product. How did this cat litter box become a popular one?
Furbulous: If we are talking about the Furbulous box, it's different from the market because this product is the very first self-cleaning and self-packing cat litter box in the market and it resolved the biggest issue, the big smell.
Furbulous' official website
EqualOcean: Based on your observation, do you have any observations on the new trends in the smart pet market you'd like to share with us?
Furbulous: The trends are not easy to predict. In the last five years, many more brands have appeared. I think the trend shows that pet owners are increasingly turning to technologies to improve their pets' lives.
EqualOcean: Following the recent round of your company's financing, what are the future goals your company plans to pursue?
Furbulous: We want to provide more user-friendly and more high technology products for the market. The innovative work will be what we want to invest in. We want to do some innovations on the functions and also maybe on the mechanism, that would be fancy if we could make it happen.
EqualOcean: What new products can we expect in the future?
Furbulous: The products we want to introduce to the market will be much more focused on how many problems we can solve, and how many pain points we want to solve. We are developing our new product from different angles. All the products are in progress, so maybe later this year or early next year, we will introduce two or three new products to the market, and that will be a little bit different from all kinds of similar products.
EqualOcean: We are looking forward to seeing that.