VetShop Australia celebrates 140 dog years in business

VetShop Australia celebrates 140 dog years in business

It has now been almost 20 years since Sunshine Coast brothers Mark and Steven Perissinotto barked up the right tree and founded Australia's first online pet supplies business. 

When VetShop Australia was established in 1999, eBay had only just launched in the country and Amazon was only five years old with US$2 billion in annual revenue; in other words less than 1 per cent of where it is today in nominal terms.

The potential of e-commerce was still largely an unknown, but that didn't discourage Mark and Steven to start their revolution of pet retail on 17 November that year.

Since then the business has completed more than 2.5 million orders.

""We came up with the idea over lunch and were able to launch VetShop Australia three months later," says Steven.

The brothers saw the huge opportunity the internet provided, and started the business part-time out of the back of veterinarian Mark's Nambour clinic in Queensland's Sunshine Coast hinterland.

"We were working fifty hours a week at our original jobs and then putting in another twenty or so hours to only be getting ten orders per day," says Mark.

"Success didn't come to us overnight, running your own business is always ninety percent perspiration, ten percent inspiration," adds Steven.

VetShop Australia founders Mark and Steven Perissinotto.

The breakthrough came in 2001 when, recognising high levels of interest from US buyers, the international website changed its currency to USD and sales instantly grew around 10-12 per cent month-on-month between 2001-2006.

This success enabled Mark to leave his veterinary practice in 2005 and saw Steven leave law in 2007 to allow them to concentrate on the business full time.

In 2009, the business moved from Image Flat to a larger premises at Forest Glen where it remains today, shipping orders to over one million customers in over 70 countries.

Over the years, the business has picked up a number of awards including a Telstra Business People's Choice Award in 2011, Power Retail Top 100 Retailer in 2017 and the Top 150 in 2018.

Both Mark and Steven have also been nominated for a variety of awards. Mark was a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards in 2015 and Steven was recently named as one of the Top 50 People in E-Commerce by Internet Retailing.

VetShop Australia has also been the sponsor of the Surfing Dog Championships, held as part of the Noosa Festival of Surfing, since 2012.

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