In March 2020 the world was turned upside when the devastation of Coronavirus hit the UK.
As well as the confusion as to what the virus was and what it was capable of, we feared for our health and that of our families and loved ones.
Then on March 23rd full lockdown hit. We were told to ‘Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.’
For many working in the pet industry, their businesses skidding to a halt overnight as they were no longer able to go out and walk dogs or care for animals.
At the Pet Industry Federation, Nigel Baker, Chief Executive Officer and Alexandra Baker, Chief Operating officer had to make sense of the new restrictions.
In the days and weeks that followed, they lobbied ministers on a number of issues such as whether pet shops and groomers could operate, whether dog walkers were providing a key service and campaigned for financial support across the industry, particularly for catteries and kennels who were left devastated when the travel industry shut down.
In this episode they share their views on the impact of COVID 19 on the Pet Industry and what the future holds.
We talk about their second Pet Index event, a free trade show taking place on October 11th and 12th 2020 and how pet business owners can get involved.
Plus how they can upskill at the event and come back from the Coronavirus crisis stronger.
Register for https://vpi.vfairs.com/ (Virtual Pet Index here).
Key timings in this episode:
2.00: Introduction to Nigel and Alexandra and the background of the Pet Industry Federation.
3.30: What the PIF has been doing to support members since lockdown was announced in March.
4.30: Working with the Government, DEFRA and the Canine and Feline Sector Group and processing the ‘see-saw of information’ for their members.
7.30: How pet shops selling small animals were hit and the steps that needed to be put in place to ensure thousands of baby animals survived.
8.54: Campaigning for groomers to be allowed to continue to operate.
12.34: Using social media to communicate in the crisis to keep members informed.
14.45: Alexandra shares her plans to be more involved with government legislation in the future around pets post COVID.
19.51: Nigel and Alexandra talk about licensing for dog walkers and the rise of the volunteer dog walker in lockdown.
25.11: The benefits of using a professional dog walker.
26.44: Launching the UK’s first Virtual Pet Industry Trade show, Virtual Pet Index in June 2020.
27.03: Welcoming 1700 visitors from all over the world, and how some trade stands reported having MORE sales than at a physical event.
31.33: The global reach of VPI and how it attracted visitors from Canada, America, South America, right across Europe, down to South Africa, China, and Asia.
34.14: Tips on how to make the most of having a stand at VPI to attract global clients.
36.05: The positive side of Coronavirus, being creative, putting on a virtual show and reaching an audience they never would have imagined would come to a UK trade show.
39.02: What’s happening at VPI in October 2020.
40.09: What’s lined up, from taking awesome smartphone photos to packaging to the transport of animals, pet bereavement and American industry experts reflecting on what the next big thing is to hit the UK.
45.00: How to register for the event and take part.
46.50: How the pet industry has adapted and made business owners look inwards, reflect and adapt to serve what’s happening in the world today.
48.43: Can COVID be a positive for the pet industry?
49.15: The puppy boom and concerns about where puppies are coming from.
52.29: How life slowing down has inspired people to have pets and how lockdown has lifted barriers to pet ownership.
54.12: How pet business owners can move and evolve and emerge stronger from the crisis by diversifying.
54.56: Why it’s vital that petpreneurs find a route to communicate with new pet owne