More Than a Pet Project: The Story Of Dogs Meow Subscriptions

Écrit par Andrea Zoellner on novembre 22, 2018 Blog, Customer Stories.

What happens when the brick and mortar shop you were banking on becomes obsolete? Reinvent yourself with a new ecommerce venture, of course!

For Chris Hugo, founder of Dogs Meow, launching a pet food subscription business was his way of adapting to a changing market. “I spent my life running the family business of DVD rentals,” he says. “As you might have guessed, it’s not the most sustainable business.”

To support his two young kids and three dogs, Chris needed to find a business idea that would keep them all happy. If it could involve animals, then even better.

The homepage of

Embracing the Future of Retail

“Coming from a business that was being beaten by technology and seeing as I couldn’t beat them I thought it would be a good idea to join them,” says Chris. This inspired him to harness technology to make something relatively routine, like buying pet food, even more simple.

Now, Dogs Meow customers can choose their quantity and brand of pet food and sign up for a one-time delivery or a subscription, so their food is delivered to them without a second thought.

Building a Business from the Ground Up

Dogs Meow focuses on serving the Gauteng region, a northern province of South Africa, where Pretoria and Johannesburg are located. Subscription models are a huge driver of recurring revenue, which can make all the difference in startup companies such as Dogs Meow.

While the food subscription model is the crux of the enterprise, the online shop also sells almost everything you would need for the normal care of your pet: toys, medicine and treatments, and grooming accessories. It carries nearly 35 brands for cats and dogs, and kits for brand new pet parents.

An example of a product page on
An example of a product page on

Chris was very passionate about beings hands-on while building the online shop, since the website itself was such a big part of the business. “I believe you should understand how it works before handing it over to someone else,” he says, while adding that his desire to challenge himself and learn new things was part of the fun.

Subscription models are a huge driver of recurring revenue, which can make all the difference in startup businesses

“I started this project from scratch and I had no knowledge of how any of it worked,” he says about the humble beginnings of Dogs Meow. “A friend told me about WordPress, I watched a few YouTube videos that recommended WooCommerce, and I took it from there. Every day I did something new and learned from my mistakes — of which there were many.”

Now, Chris operates a successful store that is expanding beyond the digital footprint. Everything runs through his online shop — however he’s expanded into offline marketing as well, setting up booths at trade shows and in shopping centres to drum up business from passers-by and introduce them to the time and money-saving benefits of pet food subscriptions.

Promoting at the local mall
Promoting at the local mall

An Increasingly Sophisticated Shop

Chris’ desire to be heavily involved in the development of his pet food subscription business has given him the flexibility to try different features and adapt his store to the needs of his clients. “One customization I made was a subscription extender to offer my customers more options for subscriptions,” he says. “It basically gives them the choice of once-off orders or to set the frequency from weekly to 12-week intervals.

The main WooCommerce extensions Dogs Meows uses are:

More Than a Pet Project

Chris’ story is an example of a smart and resourceful entrepreneur embracing change and acting on a good idea. By starting his own online shop, he was able to meet the needs of pet owners who want to simplify routine tasks like buying dog food, while building a sustainable business and livelihood for his family.

Have you successfully transitioned out of a business that became obsolete by launching your own business? Kudos! We’d love it hear your story in the comments.

Unlock recurring revenue with WooCommerce Subscriptions

12 Responses

    novembre 23, 2018 at 10:03 #

    What a great story. Also looking to open my first online shop near future. This really do give me some hope that I can manage it.

    • Marina Pape
      novembre 28, 2018 at 2:03 #

      You can do it! Don’t let that idea die 🙂

  2. Dino Liva
    novembre 24, 2018 at 6:29 #

    What a great story and I really like it and i am looking for opening my own online store.

  3. Jimmy
    novembre 25, 2018 at 3:44 #

    Hi Andrea,

    I love your pet case study and thanks for sharing with us.

  4. Rohit Gupta
    novembre 28, 2018 at 9:39 #

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  5. Ruby Fortune
    novembre 30, 2018 at 5:21 #

    Ich liebe die Fallstudie von Woocommerce. Mit schönen tipps! Besonderes über Abo-Modell !!!

  6. hair popp
    décembre 1, 2018 at 4:06 #

    Currently using it to make the process of buying black hair care easier online.

  7. MInd Roaster
    décembre 2, 2018 at 11:43 #

    That’s an Awesome case study. Will Give a try on my ideas 🙂

  8. Mike
    décembre 17, 2018 at 9:56 #

    My best friend is a vet. I love any business that provides for our furry friends.

    décembre 18, 2018 at 5:05 #

    its very helpful so impressive

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    décembre 22, 2018 at 10:15 #

    its very so interesting

  11. max
    décembre 22, 2018 at 3:07 #

    great read, thanks a lot for posting