The Realm of Reptiles Story
To understand the Realm of Reptiles success it's best to take you back to the beginning. In 1995 Lois and Antony Hook decided to concentrate on their passion for reptiles and by doing things differently, leading to the success story that continues today.
"Right from the very beginning we wanted to be different, we were really concerned that reptiles were not thriving in captivity in the UK. We wanted to stand out from the normal reptile store by offering a mix of enthusiasm, care and quality, backed up with top notch customer service. Something that had not been seen in the UK before," said Lois.
"Animals at that time were typically wild caught and there was a distinct lack of communication regarding their care and their well being. The key was to educate customers on how, with the correct environment, these animals would flourish in captivity. By offering a full set up package for each animal we ensured that our customers were always successful with their hobby and these beautiful creatures would thrive." Antony adds: "This was far more important than price, however price is important. The synergy of both is great for customer retention and referrals."
The aim and aspiration of increasing their knowledge was achieved with the help of the Milton Keynes Herpetological Society. Becoming members of BVZS (British Veterinary Zoological Society) also helped them gain the expert knowledge in exotic medicine and how husbandry influences the animal health and well-being. Armed with this specialist knowledge they were ready to educate their customers in caring for their beloved reptile pets well before their first store opened.
The Realm of Reptiles belief that 'captive bred reptiles only', is now a proven way forward. However, at the time when Lois and Antony started they were one of the first, if not the first, reptile retailers in the UK to sell only captive bred reptiles. Today, the stores operate a 'Captive bred only guarantee' in the belief in preserving natural environments.
When you walk around a Realm of Reptiles store, talking to the team, it's evident that the animal welfare is taken personally. Each member of the team is passionate about being part of the Realm of Reptiles ethos and community and endeavour to have specialist knowledge of all of the animals in store. Their aims are to educate and guide all customers on habitats, welfare and correct dietary needs to ensure their reptile pet prospers.
Realm of Reptiles offers choice, quality and value which is key to attracting the existing reptile hobbyist as well as attracting new would be reptile enthusiasts.
"But it's not been easy" says Lois "We've established our stores today on tried and tested business techniques and proven business know-how. In 2007 we decided to take on a business coach to mentor us and to help develop all our business dynamics. It took us to yet another level and shaped where we are today. We have now implemented 16 points of culture which we believe are fundamental in the way we run our businesses."
Building a reptile community instore as well as online, is key to retaining customer relationships.
Our instore atmosphere provides a great meeting place and our open days brings reptile enthusiasts together.
By creating animal welfare resources such as youtube clips and care sheets, the internet allows us to build a huge online loyal community which is key to our brand awareness.