Tell us a bit about yourself
Ryan: Home for me is Edinburgh, however I have now been out in Hong Kong for over 7 years somehow. Chris is from Manchester, but has been in HK since 2013, with a brief hiatus to New York.
Chris: Hobby wise, we met playing rugby for Hong Kong Football Club, but thankfully for ourselves and HKFC those days are past us. Dogs are clearly a passion, I have two adopted dogs from Catherine’s Puppies. I guess the business has become a hobby to an extent also as it has been a huge amount of fun building it from the ground up..
What made you start your company?
Ryan: I have always had an itch in the form of wanting to start my own business. We both felt that whilst convenience is so highly valued in Hong Kong, there are not many direct to consumer businesses other than the likes of foodpanda, Deliveroo and Nutrition Kitchen, all of which are doing incredibly well. I think we were quite fortunate to have the idea at the start of 2020 when we had some time to allocate to research and setting the business up, thanks to a quiet work schedule. Alongside e-commerce being in the headlines, we felt that we could add some genuine value to the amazing people that run dog shelters in Hong Kong, which felt like the push to really give Buddy Bites a proper go.
Tell me about your products?
Chris: I am a little biased here, as the logo is based on the one floppy ear of my first furry friend in Hong Kong (Nacho) who I adopted from Catherine’s. Puppies. This fits pretty well with the brand, giving back and fun are the key pillars to the business. We aim to feed all shelter dogs in Hong Kong, and bring a bit of enjoyment into how people buy their dog food. On the product side, we have two Hong Kong based vets within the team who assisted in formulating our recipes alongside our Belgium-based partner. We knew that quality was always going to be a key deciding factor, and we have therefore gone for high end kibble that we actually test with a third party in Hong Kong to make sure it is up to standard. We have recently launched a Lamb kibble with gut health benefits. Being entirely online enables the use customer data to analyze what products we should bring to market next! We deliver for free across Hong Kong on a subscription basis, and have had a great retention rate so far, which we feel is a good indication the food is getting gobbled up.
What struggles have you faced when getting into the industry?
Ryan: Juggling working and setting up a business has been tough, particularly with supply chain issues due to Covid and people parking in the Suez Canal, but I don’t think anyone should go into a business thinking it will all be smooth sailing.