‘Being involved in someone’s journey is life changing, it excites me.’
We Love Pets really is a family business, with husband and wife team Ryan, and Founder, Jo White at the helm running their award winning successful pet care franchise business as well as raising a young family and having recently welcomed Red, the Red Labrador, into their home too!
Anyone would forgive them for slowing things down for a little while, but no their boundless energy and their combined love of all animals means they’re doing something they love each and every day.
We caught up with Ryan via telephone call while he was out walking Red, with their young daughter on his back (facing the wrong way round he adds, although we’re pretty impressed with his multi-tasking skills none the less).
Ryan joined the We Love Pets team in 2015 and less than two years on he’s now an instrumental part of every aspect of the business.
‘It sounds like a cliché, but my whole childhood was built around animals, so it was natural I’d want to surround my adult and working life with them too.’
Ryan grew up on a dairy farm in Suffolk, with his parents and siblings, so from an early age animals and being outdoors were a natural part of everyday life.
‘I wasn’t the most engaged student at school, I’d wistfully look outside wanting to be there, wanting to be with nature. I was completely focused on where I wanted to be and what I wanted to be doing, and it wasn’t in a classroom at that time, so it’s not a surprise that my employment since school has been focused around the outdoors and animals in one way or another.
My family are enormously proud of where I am having followed my passion, as am I.’
How did you become involved in We Love Pets?
‘Since 2011 I’ve been instructing animal care courses at Wiltshire College in Lackham to Post 16 students. Jo approached me a few years ago to deliver the small animal courses to the We Love Pets franchisees and their team members, and everything evolved from there.
The course is still run today and is an essential part of our branch owners, and their team members, on-boarding process. It’s a day’s practical training, with real exotic pets for the hands on bits, to teach them how to look after all different kinds of animals. Our customers don’t just stop at dog owners, we look after mice, snakes, frogs, chickens, horses – you name a pet, we can probably cater for it!’
What’s your role in the business?
‘I still deliver the courses here at Wiltshire College, both for We Love Pets and post 16 students, but as the business has grown I now spend 3 days a week supporting Jo in building the business even further. It also enables me to spend valuable time with our daughter, so I too can have the work / life balance our franchisees have.
I am the first person prospective franchisees speak to after their initial online enquiry or email. I’m also at the end of the phone for existing franchisees and their team members if they have any questions around any exotic pets they’re looking after. Just last year our Royal Wootton Bassett branch owner was looking after a bird and was concerned about its beak. I was able to reassure them that it was simply a characteristic and nothing to worry about. It alleviated anxiety and removed the need for her to call out a vet for clarification.’
Your role is certainly varied; what bits do you enjoy the most?
‘Talking to the new franchisees; being involved in someone’s journey is life changing, it excites me.’
Are all franchise enquiries the same?
‘Some seem a little lost and despondent with their current work routines and the inability to earn more without working 24/7, some just want a healthier work / life balance, which is a huge part of our ethos.
Many potential franchisees first questions are ‘how much can I make?’ and I always respond by letting them know that it’s down to how much time and energy they put in.
We truthfully tell them there’s going to be hard work, but we are there with them throughout their success.’
What are the main things you look for in new franchisees?
- Understanding of our ethos and concept.
- Loyalty to our award winning brand.
What three things make you most proud?
- My wife and daughter obviously, that’s one.
- All of our franchisees, they’re amazing. So committed, so enthusiastic. Not just the new ones I have been on board with, but all of them and their teams, because without them We Love Pets wouldn’t be We Love Pets. We’re like a big family that just keeps growing.
- Our ethos / customer charter.