Customer success story: Animal Natural Health Centre

Animal Health Care Centre

Sourcing funding can cause worry lines for small business owners, as Sarndra (Sandy) Urwin discovered when she wanted to expand the retail offering within her small business. That’s why she partnered with Prospa, which she now calls the best anti-wrinkle cream around.

Hear more about Sandy’s small business story:

All her life, Sandy has had a firm belief that “nature knows best”, and this became a foundational value for her business Animal Natural Health Centre, based in Orewa, New Zealand.

“I’ve always felt that prevention is better than cure,” she says.

Sandy left her work as a nurse to pursue her passions for natural healthcare and working with animals, while also filling what she saw as a gap in the market.

“There was nobody offering choices in healthcare for animals, so I thought, ‘Why aren’t we doing this?’,” she says.

She opened Animal Natural Health Centre in 2008, offering both consultation services and natural products for animals, many of which are handmade in house under her White Tui label.

“My purpose and vision for the business was to offer people a choice in animal healthcare. I really wanted to take a holistic approach,” she says.

Offering more to customers

As her customer base grew, Sandy felt it was time to expand the retail side of the business to meet the growing demand for her natural animal healthcare products, including sunburn creams, pain relief, allergy treatments and sprays to ease anxiety or stress caused by noise.

“We had a very limited range of stock because we didn’t have the capital to invest in the new products that our customers were looking for,” she says.

At one point, Sandy considered selling part of the business to an investor in order to gain more capital. But in her view, that would mean abandoning some of the reasons why she began Animal Natural Health Centre in the first place.

“It would have been quite heartbreaking, actually,” she says.

As many small business owners know, you can’t buy trust. Sandy was concerned that the reputation she had spent years building within the community and with her customers “wouldn’t have gone along with the sale”.

“We didn’t want to compromise,” Sandy says.

Animal Nature Health Care Centre

A win-win situation

Instead, Sandy turned to Prospa for a small business loan, which she felt would enable her to achieve her business goals without having to make trade-offs.

From the very start, Sandy felt Prospa was the right partner for her small business.

“When I first contacted Prospa, I was impressed by their enthusiasm and interest. They really wanted to listen to my story, and they were just as enthusiastic as I am about my business,” she says.

“Working with banks can be like pushing water uphill with a straw, whereas Prospa was quick in their actions. You know exactly where you stand with them at any moment of the day, and I like that.”

She says Prospa’s attention to detail, prompt customer service and general willingness to find a win-win situation gave her a lot of confidence.

“With a small business loan, we’ve been able to expand our range of products and give our customers better service, and equally important, I no longer have the thought that I need to sell,” she says.

A focus on the customer

Now that Sandy isn’t worried about cash flow, she’s looking forward to her future plans for the business, especially expanding her education and outreach programs. She is currently looking to develop course material and protocols for natural animal healthcare.

She also wants to share her passion for holistic animal health with the wider community, and in doing so, empower people to make more informed choices about what’s right for their pet.

“The customers are what drives you and your business – they are my favourite part of being a small business owner,” she says – and that includes the animals and their humans.

“Small businesses do have the opportunity to make huge changes in our communities, and thanks to Prospa, we can keep doing that.”

A Prospa Small Business Loan has helped Sandy and Animal Natural Health Centre to:

  • Increase the variety and volume of stock available for customers.
  • See an increase in monthly turnover.
  • Not compromise on quality or her vision for the business by selling a stake to an investor.

Whether it’s growing your business, funding an opportunity or just covering cash flow, find out how Prospa can help keep your small business moving. Talk to one of our small business finance specialists on 0800 005 797 to discuss your options, or find out more.

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