They say that when life gives you lemons – make lemonade! And that is exactly what Durban couple Matt Coetzee and Micaela Blount did when lockdown regulations stopped their event management careers. And they aren’t the only ones benefiting…
Animals and giving back to their community have always been important to both Matt and Micaela. The busy couple worked closely with local animal rescues, even before lockdown, and when Covid hit they used it as an opportunity to spend more time with rescue dogs and foster pets of their own. This made them realise just how much help and funding was needed for rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing of abandoned pets.
‘I’ve always been a huge animal lover. Micaela would joke that it’s impossible for me to walk past a dog in public without saying hello,” says Matt. “Micaela’s family runs a small dog rescue called Safe Haven Dog Rescue, which her sister Chloe started when she was in matric. This has enabled us to gain plenty of first-hand experience, while also working with Paw Prints and Animal Antics.”
On top of this, Matt has always been interested in finding a business model that could help people do good and give back to their local communities through their everyday purchases. When they really started to think about it, it made sense that such a business be built around something that was already a huge part of their lives and close to their hearts – animals.
After months of planning, preparing and approaching the correct brands and suppliers, sourcing facilities that passed health and safety measures and learning everything they could about the industry, they launched Dropawf.co.za, their online pet store selling pet food and other pet-related products.
“Every time a customer purchases from us, a portion of the profits is donated to a local pet rescue. This way we enable customers to give back to their local communities, at no extra cost to them!”
So far, donations from their customers’ purchases have gone towards Lost Souls Rescue and Animal Antics, both based in KZN.
“We have a number of rescues lined up to receive donations in the coming months and also expect to see a great response to our Christmas Drive, which should generate a considerable amount of food, medical supplies and funds to go towards the rescues that need it most.”
Micaela adds, ‘imagine if all of the pet products bought throughout South Africa were purchased through a channel that automatically donated a portion of the profits to rescues – the impact that those purchases could make would be life-changing; and with this model it doesn’t cost the customer a cent above what they’re already spending.”
The main premise of this business, they say, is that people often want to contribute to organizations that are doing good, but the whole process can feel a bit disconnected and most people don’t know what they as individuals can do.
“We feel that by giving people the choice to support a business that gives back, it makes them part of the process. It allows people to be conscious consumers and it’s a simple change to make. People are more aware than ever that their everyday purchases matter and make a difference. Covid has brought this idea into the mainstream and made everyone take a step back to think about their spending and the impact it’s having. People no longer see their purchases in isolation, but rather as part of a collective whole that can be more responsible and more impactful.”
Sadly, the number of abandoned pets usually spikes towards the end of the year, leaving rescues swamped with more mouths to feed and animals to care for. Matt and Micaela encourage animal lovers to support their charity drive that will run throughout the festive season. Customers can donate food, health products, toys or funds directly to local charities.
They are also offering Get It readers a 20% discount on their first purchase of products from Dropawf.co.za, by using the code: getitmag20.