Join us for a look behind the scenes at Exeter Exotics, a company fuelled by passion for exotic animals and their ongoing care. Co-owner Alicia Johns introduces us to some of the amazing resident animals, tells us about the formation and ethos of the business, how 365 Business Finance helped their growth, and their future plans.
Founders: Alicia Johns & Kate Bruce
Location: 3 Market Street, Exeter, EX1 1BP
Key facts: An independent, family-run specialist reptile and exotic pet shop, renowned for their expertise, customer service and after care advice.
365: Tell us about some of the exotic animals you have here.
We are lucky enough to work with lots of different species here, some of which are actually quite rare. We work with Drymarchon snakes, which are Eastern Indigos; we breed a lot of our own gecko species, including crested geckos, leopard geckos and bearded dragons are super popular as pets
We do arachnids as well - a lot of people are scared of spiders but they also find them really fascinating.
365: What motivated you to start the business?
I just had these ideas of how I'd like a reptile shop to look: More bright, more modern, more airy - just to do things a little bit differently.
What we do here is very specialized; it's not like getting a cat, a dog or a rabbit, so providing our new customers with the right information on husbandry, providing them with the right setup regarding equipment is really important.
365: How has Covid impacted you?
Covid was very difficult - we were allowed to stay open because we were an essential business but obviously it still did have a bad effect on us.
365: How have you found the process of getting funding with 365 Business Finance?
We were looking into different ways of financing the company to be able to expand. We definitely found 365 the easiest and the best. The first time we used them we were surprised how easy it was and we’re actually still talking to the same people now as we did when we first started with them, so they know your business, they know you, which makes it easier as well.
We've had to adapt and without the funding we wouldn't have been able to expand. For just one bank of terrariums you're talking well over a thousand pounds to put in new digital thermometers, as everything's thermostatically controlled.
365: What do you enjoy most about working with such a range of exotic animals?
It never gets old seeing animals hatching out of the eggs, seeing them take their first breath. I definitely feel privileged and very lucky to be able to work with these animals and see them every day. I'm kind of doing my hobby as a job!
365: What does the future hold for Exeter Exotics?
It's definitely a bright future now with the funding we're able to expand even further. We're able to offer more holiday boarding and as the business is growing we need more staff in lots of different ways.
If you’d like to discuss a tailored funding solution for your business, contact our friendly, expert team on 0207 1000 365.