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For this new edition of Pitch ta WFOE, we decided to interview young entrepreneurs to discuss their entrepreneurial experience.
For this interview, we decided to have a chat with Julie Chanal, founder of HappyNest and winner of Pitch ta WFOE 2019.
HappyNest is a home care service company for pets (pet sitting, grooming, training) to make pets parents life easier. The main goal is to reduce stress for the animals and their owners by offering services that allow dogs and cats to stay in a familiar environment.
Julie Chanal arrived in Shanghai in early 2017 to work as UX Design in a travel agency, after over 4 years in political communication in Paris. A few months after her arrival in China, she met Polo, her dog. This is the beginning of a great story. When she had to return to France for the first time, she couldn’t figure out how to manage to have Polo kept on a reasonable budget. She left for 3 weeks and to ask her friends to keep him is a too big favor, to put him in a cage is inconceivable. She finds an intermediate solution, but she thinks about it during all her vacations and when she comes back she realizes that many other people are in the same situation. That’s how HappyNest was born.
Today, she shares with us her love for animals, mutual support and sharing.
1. What led you to be an entrepreneur?
When I first started, I never said to myself, ‘I’m going to undertake’, I rather said to myself, ‘there may be something to do, let’s try it’. It was an idea that also stimulated me enough to want to move from the idea to the project.
Because in fact there is that too, we have lots of ideas, but those that make us want to get up in the morning are fewer.
And then one day, without really realizing it, I was ready to go, and I had to become a legal structure, etc. Everything was done little by little.
2. Why did you choose China?
I was already there and I saw that there was a need. Maybe if I had been in another country, I would never have taken the initiative. And if I would have undertaken it, it would not have been on the same subject.
3. How has the Shanghai environment been propitious to the launch of your project?
It is hard to say! I think that when you are an expat in Shanghai (at least when you are French) there’s a natural mutual support. And being in China, in a very resilient country, gives us the keys to get started and succeed.
4. What kind of support does JEF bring to your project?
Thanks to Pitch ta WFOE from last year, I was able to meet another super caring and interesting community.
Which difficulties have you encountered ?
“The hardest thing is to be alone: alone to face difficulties, successes or the choices we make. Are we making the right decision? Are we going in the right direction? etc.? But I was warned from the start! »
How have you overcome them?
“Mentors and friends (or mentor friends as well) who are often very good counsellors or reboosters. »
How has your project been received?
“Pretty well, so far I’m only growing organically. And I’ve been lucky to be well surrounded from the start, so that helps. »
How would you sum up your experience in a word?
“Enriching! It’s very hard, but it’s also and above all very stimulating.
Do you have any advice for those who want to start?
“It’s a bit of a baseline, but the advice I could give is to test your market and understand it well so you can orient yourself properly. And then know how to listen, even to what is difficult to hear. »
If you want to know more about HappyNest, do not hesitate to follow them on WeChat :