The Yorkshire market town of Thirsk first took the animal world by storm as the fictional Darrowby from the internationally popular James Herriot books about the ups and downs of life as a Dales vet. It is somewhat fitting in the new millennium that it is now home to the country’s leading internet retailer of veterinary products to pet owners, VetUK.
Iain Booth, was himself originally a modern day Alfred Wight (James Herriot being a pen name) running a busy veterinary practise with the limitation of only being only able to treat one animal at a time in a narrow consultation slot. Iain however, was quick to realise that with the world wide web at his fingertips he had an enormous advantage over his famous forerunner.
With his partner Dr. Lyane Haywood, a research scientist, Iain began a small enterprise to enhance the lives of a greater number of pets by doing something different, something that was not being achieved in the vet surgeries.
What originally began as a business on eBay – a Feliway pheromone diffuser unit for stressed cats their first sale – has become a multi million pound company approaching its half millionth order with a range of over 4000 stocked lines.
Still run by the family, their cottage industry has developed into a thriving online business at www.vetuk.co.uk with over 200,000 customers, fulfilling over 1,000 orders a day and with an 80% increase in turnover in the past year. Iain is now fulltime at the internet helm and has had to give up the hands-on veterinary consultations to run the 16,000sft warehouse and manage 13 employees.
As a graduate from the Royal Veterinary College London over 14 years ago, Iain did not begin the company to create a replacement or competition for the veterinary surgeon however; but wanted to offer greater support and help more customers make informed choices about the health care of their pets.
Vet UK offers free expert information on the latest veterinary products and nutritionally balanced pet foods, allowing customers to make informed decisions on what to buy for their pets in their own time. Predominantly targeted at dog, cat and other small furry animal owners, the website also offers rapidly expanding equine, aquatics and bird sections. The ranges of products available are competitively priced, delivered door to door and are saving thousands of pet owners both time and money.
Iain says “Currently only around 50% of pet owners have the time or funds to visit the vet regularly with their pets and those that do often have only a short time slot for their veterinary consultation, which can lead to a feeling of dissatisfaction for both vet and customer. Vet UK was born from this frustration. The idea behind the website was simple: give the customer what they want and the animals what they need!”
“Put simply, we believe in greater interaction with the customer in the comfort of their own home. Our mission is to provide accurate product information with researched, educated selections of both pharmaceutical supplies and pet goods, offered at affordable prices with great service to back it up. Most importantly VetUK seems to be fulfilling its raison d’etre in helping all creatures great and small.”
iain booth with pet food bags – reduced.jpg (580 KB)