Kha Mern grew up in a home with parents who fed stray dogs that roamed their neighborhood every day, even taking them to be vaccinated and married to the vet.
No wonder Kha Mern started doing the same thing later. When she was a new college graduate running a design studio with her friends, she fed homemade pet treats, a move that eventually led to her launch. SOCKS.
A name that appeals to the deviant
After receiving a small food dehydrator from an aunt who bought it years ago but left it unused, Kha Mern began experimenting with it. First dehydrating some fruits and vegetables as nutritious snacks for herself, she tried to get the meat to shake her own dog, Kiwi, soon after.
At the same time, their parents adopted 2 puppies after rescuing them from the drain at a mobile center. Now, with three furry members at home, Kha Mern realized it would be a good time to delve into making them more delicious, mainly to reduce the costs of those purchases.
I would research different fruits, vegetables and meats that could be fed to pets, playing with the different parameters of their food dehydrator. With his 3 dogs and all the stops outside, Kha Mern continued to experiment before he finally considered the delicacies good enough to sell; on August 6, 2020 ZOKZOK was launched.
The name “ZOKZOK” is an onomatopoeia of the sound that Kha Mern makes when he calls stray animals, which often approached him when they heard him.
An outlet for creativity
Using simple ingredients like broccoli, anchovies, carrots and various types of meat, all ZOKZOK delicacies are human quality and contain no additional preservatives.
However, it is worth noting that the healthy pet food industry in Malaysia is lucrative, which means that many other local brands are also involved, one of the most popular. Forn Barkery, for example.
Kha Mern is aware of this and stated that ZOKZOK not only tries to run with the big dogs, but also works as an outlet for creativity among his design team.
So if you move around the ZOKZOK Instagram or website, you’ll notice that the product photo stands out for the way it paints miniature scenes. You’ll find little cats fishing for giant anchovies or small dogs climbing a mountain of broccoli.
“We are people who enjoy art and design. We took [this business] as a challenge as well as a means to show all our skills, “said Kha Mern. While it’s a unique way to capture customers’ attention, the team also believes they can make pet delights be as appetizing as human food.
“We love spending time discovering and creating. It’s fun to try all the possibilities of ZOKZOK. Business gives us opportunities to expand our passions; it will be one of our lifelong projects to work on, ”he added.
Everything in the content
Since the design studio was already equipped with production equipment for photography and filmmaking, they could set up ZOKZOK on a tight budget. Therefore, its capital of RM 3,000 was earmarked to build its online store and invest in an industrial dehydrator to get larger amounts at a time.
Starting an online business saved them from the costly expense of opening a retail store, but it wasn’t easy to create enough visibility to reach customers. Thus, the team persisted and focused on building its presence on social media.
“Honestly, it’s really based on your social media content. The hardest thing for us is to constantly produce good content (publications, stories, etc.), especially during the pandemic, where it is almost impossible to reach customers offline, ”explains Kha Mern, who believes that every online marketer can relate to your experience.
“Fortunately, we have some customers who appreciated our efforts, repurchased and recommended our products to others.” The graphic designer humbly shared that ZOKZOK’s numbers so far are not too prominent, but added that they have sold about 1,056 packages since September 2020.
Made to order, ZOKZOK pet sweets are sold for between € 5 and € 20 per pack. The volume inside each pack may vary, as vegetables and anchovies have a large but light content. Therefore, vegetables are offered in variants of 20 g and 50 g, anchovies in 25 g and 60 g, and meat sausages in bags of 50 g and 100 g.
Over the next 3 years, Kha Mern shared that the team aims to provide healthier treats to our furry friends and continue to explore more design possibilities for ZOKZOK.
- You can find more information about ZOKZOK here.
- You can read about other startups in Malaysia here.
Featured Image Credit: Kha Mern, founder of ZOKZOK