We had the good fortune of connecting with Chani Ronez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chani, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Starting my own business was never a fear or something I thought too long about. Growing up, I always had a very entrepreneurial mindset mainly because I grew up with two entrepreneurial parents. They together built a successful fashion brand in Paris, France, so I was constantly surrounded by a strong work ethic and was excited to build my own brand from a very young age. Growing up, I would ask my dad to buy me the newest, most in-trend products on the market in bulk so I could sell them to my friends at school. Turns out I was pretty successful as a schoolyard saleswoman.
Throughout my experiences, I naturally felt the need to “doing it myself,” whether it was organizing events for different clubs during my university years, building things at home, or leading the charge in implementing ideas my friends and I would have. I think my biggest strength is that I’m a doer and I like to get things done.
After graduating from University, I would always find myself in situations where I would be “in charge” at my jobs until the day I created the concept of Merci Collective and I decided to stop it all and give my everything to it.
Once I had the initial idea of integrating crystals into pet accessories, it was a question of how to go about it. That’s when the wheels really started turning and the “thought process” kicked in. It took a little while to solidify the concept to start the action of creating and establishing Merci Collective as a pet lifestyle brand.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Merci Collective is completely reinventing the way you shop for your pets by integrating a healing element to pet products that have remained unchanged for decades. Our approach is unique and we are proudly the first to integrate healing stones into everyday pet products.
We are also what I like to call a “modern business” in the sense that sustainability is at the heart of the way we design our products. We are only using eco-friendly materials such as glass, bamboo, and our vegan leather made of cactus. Our walking accessories are cut, sewn, and assembled here in Los Angeles.
Overall, I believe our competitive advantage is a combination of the following:
-The integration of crystal healing into our products, which shifts the focus to the mental well-being of our companions that we love.
-Sustainable materials. As young entrepreneurs building a business in a time of overconsumption, global warming, and with a mission of doing something good for our pets that helps them on a daily basis, going vegan and working with local companies was an absolute no-brainer.
-Fashionable designs. We definitely pride ourselves in being a premium brand through and through and let me tell you, if “pet fashion week” was a thing, we’d be there. We really wanted to create accessories that are stylish and aren’t just well intended, but also look amazing.
Since shopping online removes most of the human interaction, we decided to create a true shopping experience from the minute you order your products to the moment you receive them at home with a beautiful line of packaging and elements that bring our soul to our customers at every step of the way.
Was it easy? The short answer would be NO. Starting a business in its essence is hard, you have to figure everything out on your own and deal with the good and bad days. As an added layer to all of this, we started all of our productions in mid-covid where everything was closed, and had to be really creative in order to get our products made.
We were able to partner with a women-owned leather factory that understood our vision, the level of quality, and excellence we wanted for our products.
Along the way, I learned that it is important to surround yourself with people who share your vision and align with your goal. It creates a magical consensus where everyone works together toward a common goal of making Merci Collective successful.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Definitely! I would start the day with a nice breakfast at Millie’s Cafe, stroll around Sunset Blvd that is filled with cool shops and brands worth stopping by.
After that, I would go to the arts district in DTLA and get a quick sandwich for lunch at Eat Drink Americano and keep on with the day by strolling around the arts district.
After I’m done with my workday, I like to come back to the Silverlake area and have a drink at the Silver Lake Inn & Pool, before heading to my favorite dinner spot, Alimento.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are many people involved in the success of Merci Collective, first I would like to give some credit to my parents that helped me so much in the manufacturing process that was new to me, they both are involved in the fashion industry in Paris (where I am originally from) and took the time to help me look for the right partners, look over all of our prototypes as well as helping me keep on track with mental health during the hard days.
I would also thank Patrick, that has unintentionally taken the role of being my mentor by continuously teaching me knowledge about technology. So much that we have partnered up on a new venture, more information about it coming soon!
Lastly, I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in Merci Collective and has contributed to setting the company up for success! I am forever grateful.