Cheryl Ng is an entrepreneur with bite, founder and CEO of Fou Fou Brands, a leading company in doggie treats, pet care, fashion and toys, she’s not one to hold back on the scruffy beginnings of her company.
Trending this year to hit 3-5 million dollars in revenue, it’s hard to believe that for the first five years of Fou Fou Brands Cheryl, her sister and her cousin were grinding away in her parents’ unfinished basement with black garbage bags for windows.
It all started with her buying doggy clothes and accessories for her beloved Maltese Ernie back in 2004. Cheryl became frustrated with not being able to find any products in Canada due how new and trendy doggy items were at the time. Although they were available in the US after taxes, duty, shipping it just wasn’t worth the hassle for anyone looking for these products. So she decided to set up an online store and purchase small quantity wholesale from the US to sell in Canada.
The margins were great but Cheryl realized they could be even better if she was able to offer her own line of doggy clothing. And this is how Fou Fou Brands really got its start. After working with a designer and manufacturer in Argentina Cheryl launched her own line of doggy clothing which she compares to the American Apparel for dogs. After lots of pounding the pavement, cold calling, some good SEO magic and “blood, sweat and tears,” she received an order from the UK for $20,000.
“I was super surprised. When they found me and placed a $20,000 order I thought holy crap I’m onto something here,” says Cheryl.
When asked about her experience prior to Fou Fou Brands, Cheryl describes herself as always a “hustler” working in sales for many years she knows all about “smiling and dialing.” Although her company is now 90% family run Cheryl always felt like the outsider in her Chinese family, never finishing high-school or university, she always liked being her own and had an innate business sense can’t be bought.
At 25 years old losing a job she hard worked at to keep, Cheryl describes the experience as lighting a fire under her that made her determined to create a life for herself that she would have control over her career and her finances.
Initially investing $20,000 of her own savings into Fou Fou Brands in the first year, Cheryl just had a good feeling about the business. And it’s that gut instinct that has taken her company from a small business to one of the fastest growing companies in Canada with 800% growth in the first 5 years. One of the main advantages Fou Fou Brands has had is being one of the first to market in such a new industry – an advantage she would not have had had she listened to those around who could not yet see the potential that she did.
“If you really feel strongly about it then do it don’t listen to what people say, then eventually doors will start to open and you’ll figure it out. You might not figure it out right away but it will come,” says Cheryl.
Cheryl has kept that persistent spirit to this day stressing the importance of not getting too comfortable and ensuring to keep her company current. “Our core competency is that we’re fast innovators and we can turn thing around quickly. With their new line of doggy treats Fou Fou is hoping to expand distribution to the US and Canada and really position the Fou Fou Brand among the top players in the industry.
Despite her success, Cheryl remains humble and genuinely grateful for all that she’s been able to accomplish with her Fou Fou Brand team.
“Honestly I’m comfortable, I’m happy and I have a lot of freedom. I can spend more time with my family and my dog,” says Cheryl.