IT started out as a hobby. In the end, selling pet products online paid off for Khristine Pia Yuson, owner of Pike the Pet Supply Store.

Yuson merely thought selling cheap dog leashes was something she could do in her spare time to earn extra cash.

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Then working as a call center agent in October 2006, she used her extra money to purchase stylish dog leashes for more fashionable pet owners.

A dog lover, Yuson joined online forums on istorya.net and cebudogs.com, giving advice and sharing stories about her pets and hinting that she also sold dog leashes on the side.

“I was just trying it out. I started out really small. But later on, I realized this was what I wanted to do,” she narrated.

Earning more

Before she knew it, she was earning more than she expected and getting more calls from people who weren’t even in the forum discussions.

She learned that her clients found other pet accessories sold in other stores quite expensive.

“Many of them say my items are cheaper,” Yuson said.

She met her buyers in malls to deliver her goods and joined activities and groups that were dedicated to dogs to inform them of her products.

Since she was getting so many orders, she felt it was time she put up her own store.

She left her job at the call center in 2008 to concentrate on putting up Pike the Pet Supply Store, using a nickname she got in high school.

“I knew I had to spend time at the store so I could get to know my customers better and answer their questions myself. And at the same time, they could give me feedback so I could improve,” she said.

Seeing the advantages of the online market, she also set up an account on Multiply, posting photos of products she was selling at her store.

Just a few meters from the exit of the South Coastal Road, Pike the Pet Supply Store is right along the main highway in Barangay Lawaan, Talisay City.

Aside from the customers she built in the online community, Yuson saw that there were so many pet owners who were drawn to the store and would drop by on their way home to buy treats or to browse.

Aside from her dog leashes, she began selling dog food, toys, pet beds, pet outfits, vitamins and supplements and grooming items.

She later started offering accessories and feeds for hamsters, cats, birds and fishes.

Services

In December last year, Pike the Pet Supply Store began offering grooming services for dogs.

She and her husband Cean now own 11 dogs and have set up a kennel for Dalmatians, Shih Tzus and Pugs.

From a bundle of dog leashes to a whole store, Yuson admits she did not expect things to pick up that fast.

But she is positive that her forays into the online community were what made the store successful.

“It was how the store got known. It was how I met my customers,” Yuson said.

Seeing the popularity of Facebook, Yuson is planning to put up an account for her store—that is, if she can find the time to post her items online while entertaining customers at her store.