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Meet Rumee Chung and Younee Lee of ARCA Pet in Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rumee Chung and Younee Lee.

Rumee and Younee, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My name is Rumee, and I am the co-founder of ARCA Pet alongside my friend Younee. ARCA Pet is essentially founded by two Korean-American women living in Los Angeles — Younee is a creative director specializing in branding, and I am a mental health therapist. We are longtime friends who always had an affinity for animals and pets, and our love and passion turned into a family-owned project that eventually became what is now ARCA. Having spent most of our lives with animals in our homes, we both came to a realization that pets’ needs are the same as us humans — they always want the best from us, and they rightfully deserve them too, being an integral part of our families.

What initially got our interest going was when Younee’s dog, Bahm, was playing fetch, and he ripped his paws open in an accident. At the time, she only had a generic first aid kit that she kept around the house, so she dressed Bahm’s wound and took him to an emergency veterinarian’s office. The injury was minor and the dog healed quickly, but the incident left us with a nagging question: how many first aid kits were pet-friendly? The answer was, not anything that we liked or would have one laying around for our pets. So that’s when we decided to come up with a first aid kit that had our animals’ safety as our top priority.

Since launching our business last November, we have two items available for sale — a pet first aid kit and a pet-friendly backpack specifically designed for storing pets’ food and supplies for short trips. It started out as a small business venture, but both items were quickly sold out due to pet owners’ increased interest in the items, which we are very grateful for. We are currently restocked on both items and they are all available online.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
With very little experience retailing for medical supplies, everything was a first-time for us. And because it’s a medical product we’re dealing with, we put quality and hygiene at the top of our priorities and spent an endless amount of time reading up about it. This was challenging, to say the least, especially since there was no room for error. Everything from finding an FDA-approved manufacturing facility, inspections with compliance to FDA’s strict protocols, and even down to choosing the right kind of durable, yet light casing all involved countless emails, phone conversations, and research into finding the best product for a competitive price range.

Thankfully, Younee, I, and our respective husbands all work in the arts/entertainment industry in one way or another, so we were pretty self-sufficient when it came to logo design, website construction, photography, filming, and scoring music for our products’ advertisements and promotions.

More recently, we witnessed the increased awareness for pets’ safety with the recent corona pandemic that has swept the world. And just like everyone else, we were woefully unprepared for the global pandemic and we ran out of our kits rather quickly, resulting in not being able to deliver our promise to the community. This was a valuable lesson we’ve learned to actively plan and act quickly to better meet their needs. The outbreak of Covid-19 was an extraordinary situation for all of us, but we are learning and adapting to best communicate and reach out to other fellow pet owners.

ARCA Pet – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
ARCA Pet is what represents our love and affection we have for pets and pet owners. Right now we have two items available for sale, with more to come in the near future.

Pet first aid kit: We compiled all of the items that go into this first aid kit from the ground up. We didn’t want to just take a human first aid kit and simply rebrand it as an animal-friendly one. So we actually did a lot of research into veterinary health clinics and their emergency procedures for animals. As a result, our first aid kit is exclusively made FOR PETS (even though pet owners can use it on themselves in an emergency situation nonetheless), and comes with items that aren’t usually sold from other vendors — such as an emergency leash, a digital thermometer, tick remover, and also a small pouch for people who need to only pack one or two things for a more mobile, lighter version of our kit. Oh, and we also have our own first aid kit manual available in PDF form once you purchase the kit, since we realize that more and more people are going to have their phones/tablets with them at all times.

Pet backpack: The primary thing we saw with this backpack design was fulfilling both practicality and the design aesthetics. Too many bags we have seen nail one and fail the other. We wanted our backpack to look stylish, and at the same time be extremely effective in storing all kinds of things large and small. Basically, we wanted it to essentially be the only thing you’d grab out the door if you’re going on a walk/drive/hike/camp with your pets. My husband actually uses the backpack all the time to pack his 13in MacBook for work. He especially loves it because of the 11+ pockets he can fully utilize to fill up with keys, wallets, and various USB cables and chargers without having the bag look all puffed up and look like an oversized sack.

What sets us apart from other sellers with similar products is that we have an active social media presence online. Even though we don’t have a physical storefront yet, we wanted to put our emphasis on community first and foremost. We actually spend most of our time on Instagram tagging and re-gramming local pets’ photos and videos, and make sure each and every one of their accounts get the love and attention all of these adorable furry creatures deserve!

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success to us would be when we’ve felt like we’ve done our part raising awareness in our pets’ wellness, as well as animals’ rights in general. For a lot of us, living with pets has brought a positive impact in our lives. Furthermore, there is research showing that living with pets at an early age helps our bodies fortify the immune system. We’re able to have a more fulfilling life because of our animal companions, and I think it’s only fair that we start thinking about our furry friends’ wellness as well. Plenty of pet owners love and care for their pets, so they make sure to feed them well and keep their vaccinations up to date. But if we’re considering them a part of our family, caring for them goes far beyond just what is necessary for them to survive in our world. We hope that we are able to be good ambassadors for our pets as more people hear about our business.

We know we are just one small entity that is trying to make a difference for our pets’ lives, safety, and happiness. We started this project because we love all pets, and we believe that all animals deserve a loving and caring family that will nurture and take care of them. We appreciate the increased awareness for animal rights as more people are choosing to adopt animals from shelters instead of purchasing from breeders. We just hope that this isn’t a trend or a fashion statement, and that people will genuinely create a culture of caring for pets and care for them as their own family.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Instagram accounts: @arcapetlove @blackbahm @lily_ryee @lumeetheblackdog @silverpoodle_popo

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