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interview with Dr Mir Fakhraei

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Dr. Mir Fakhraei 
R-Hello Doctor, would you please introduce yourself for Kabook audiences
 M-I am Jalaleddin Mirfakhrai, I was born in September 20th 1983 and graduated as a doctor of veterinary medicine from the Azad University of Karaj, And since 2009 I am working as the CEO of J.M Vet Group, an importing company in the field of pet foods and accessories.
R-Doctor you have studied veterinary but your work doesn’t relate to treatment.
M-of course treatment is not a part of it but it is completely related to my degree, I entered the university in 2004 with 2 years of delay due the fact that I have been living in Canada for a few years. Then I started to work as a volunteer in Golesang pet clinic, beside Dr. Rahmani who made me more interested in the pet market. And generally I love treatment very much and special surgery.
I was graduated in 2011 and got accepted with the highest mark in the field of veterinary surgery in the university of Research Science in the written exam and interview but after that I decided to choose one field because I believed that I should be perfect in one field not to be an intermediate in both, so I moved from treatment to business.
R-who encouraged you and who was against this decision?
M-my father was very sensitive and he was always encouraging my sisters and me to go higher and higher in university and obtain higher degrees, but I gave up from this subject and for this my father was a little upset with me at that time. Of course getting the first rank in surgery field is difficult and I put a lot of energy for that but generally, my family and my wife supported my decision and if I go back in time, I would make the same decision again. 
R-was there a big emptiness in this field or you were interested yourself?
M- I have always loved veterinary and I had pets since I was a kid, from chicken, turtle and aquarium to dogs and …. I was always interested in pets very much and in my opinion veterinary is limited to pets and all my internships were related to pets, so I started my activity in clinic under supervision of Dr. Rahmany as a Trainee. He allowed me to manage his pet shop also and from that time I felt very serious need for giving suitable services and finding more professional products to the veterinarians and pet shop owners. Basically pet practitioners have a high rank in social life all over the world, but It was not like this in Iran for the past years. 
As a result, the services were not good especially for me, who as a student was going to enter in this profession. I started my job with this goal and now with a resume of 8 years working with approval of customers and my dear colleagues I think I was noticeably successful. 

R- what was the first brand that you imported to Iran?
M- Bosch Tiernahrung. I imported the first part of it in 2011. Bosch is the brand for dog food and Sanabelle is the brand for cat food.
R-what kind of challenges it had for you?
M-it was bittersweet, because it was my first experience. I was in contact with Bosch Tiernahrung through my sister who lives in Germany. We had negotiations for some years. But we had reached to deadlock and in a trip to Germany with a 45 minutes meeting the problems were dissolved and leaded to start a cooperation. In the beginning I was very sensitive to take care of everything personally and also because I had no employee so I did all the works by myself. Traveling to Germany, traveling to Bazargan border, clearance, receiving the license, carrying and …. And sweet memory of today and bitter of that day is that in the time of arrival of the first shipment to Iran, I didn’t have enough warehouse since I was not able to adjust the size of the shipment with the size of the warehouse and had to store one truck of remained cargo into an under construction building (which now I am living in) among a lot of dust.
I was too tired and with what happened it was really the end of the world for me that day and I ended up crying for 45 minutes under the shower. I was so upset that after long negotiation and all the difficulties that I went through, all that happened. In that time my family especially my sister and my wife were truly on my back and supported me a lot emotionally. It was a good experience and with the grace of God from the next day I started my job with a serious decision and here I am in front of you today.
R- How did you choose other brands?
M-it was our desire and Market demand from us. When we started with bosch we tried to give a completely different service at that time compared to what was the routine that day. We did a lot of things and even some very simple ones. Perhaps it is funny now to have logo, uniform, specific cars for distribution and advertisement of company on it and …. Even we were the first company who designed and printed the full color brochure for products in Farsi. We were the first company to give away the free sample for the final consumers because at that time other importers used to sell samples. I think our marketing strategy at that time really was a new explosion in this market and caused the customers to be satisfied with us. But if the hunger in the market was not that high, maybe we didn’t do this work so fast either. People who are involved with import process knows that having 12-14 distribution contracts with more than 6000 products is not easy at all. But about choosing the other brands I always tried to follow the market in big European countries. Based on travelling and visiting different exhibition in our filed like Interzoo, Zoomark, CIPS, Pet Golbal and … I always tried to choose brands that are well known all over the word so that I do not have to make up stories for their products and be able to simply encourage the customers to have a search on internet and check out the online pet shops and study consumers comments. I always tried to choose the brands that have a high reputation internationally. 
R-how much pet food you import in a year now?
M- it is different I can’t give exact number.
R-what is your share of the market?
M- Giving accurate statics in pet market is very difficult, because no official statistics is being published in this field. But I am sure we have the biggest share of the market compared to other importers.
R-how has been the growth of pet industry in recent years and what kind of future you predict?
M- I am very thankful to God that I had the courage to choose the work I was interested in as my job because when I started this profession there was not a big history in the pet market and people who entered to this job had big dare. But recently especially after UN lifted sanction from Iran, impressive growth has happened and other special point is that our market is becoming attractive for most of the big companies internationaly.
After this agreement I think there is a great enthusiasm from foreign companies and they are looking for strong partners in Iran to start the cooperation. I receive 25-30 e-mails each week from other countries who are interested to work with us.

This shows that our market had good growth and better growth is expected. I tell you a simple fact here. The population of Iran is about 80 Millions and I think about 0.5% are already involved with pets. Just imagine that this number becomes 1%, then our market becomes two times bigger, according to our culture to keep animals and to be kind with them and most of us have little children that can push us for keeping animals. If a kid in the kindergarten has a pet in his house, it can also become interesting for his classmates and this will continue from kids to seniors. I also believe that Superstitions related to animals are also becoming disappear step by step like the ones for black cat and its effects and all of these are happening as a result of all the hard work of the Iranian practitioners in the pet market who are doing an outstanding job. All together I am sure the future of pet market in Iran is bright. 
R-you are the first person used billboard supporting animals. What motivated you?
M- Naturally as someone who works in this field and specially related to pet foods, I believe I should also be responsible and dedicate a part of my income to support homeless animals and especially the ones who does not have access to the right food or anything at all. On the other hand due to the fact that the Iranian pet market is very young and is under developments, there is also a lack for charities who can be trusted and have a clear and proud resume. This subject motivated us. On the other side I always wish to be able to have charity for homeless animals in Iran. This idea was with us until two years ago we succeeded to do a multi-lateral work with the support of Agras Petfoods Italy who is the manufacturer of Schesir & Stuzzy products. First was the subject of supporting homeless animals to be able to show that Schesir is supporting animals and after that To break the taboo that animals and their food can be seen on the billboard and this is why we became the first and still the only company who has been authorized to have billboards for pet products in Iran. Well the first billboard was very difficult because we couldn’t use picture of animal and the products and with the brilliant idea of my marketing team we designed a billboard who was showing two hands as for shelter for homeless animals and the shadow of the hands was the dog picture. We started with 2 billboards one in Fasham Road and the other one in Jaajroud. The billboard continued till march 2016, and then we were able to put cartoon pictures of dogs and cats on the billboard and in November 2017 we could put the real picture of a cat on the Fasham road’s billboard and from 15th of January we launched the first billboard in Farmanieh for Sanabelle cat food with the picture of the products in the heart of northern part in Tehran.
R-how many brands you import?
M- We have 12 exclusive contracts with 12 different companies that each of them has different brands. For example, Bosch, Sanabelle, Bosch Snack … are for bosch Tiernahrung. so if we want to count the brands, I think there will be more than 30

R-may they become more?
M-I will be telling you a lie if I say no, but our concentration is on developing our current profile and to add more products that are needed in the market.
R- Who is your supporter in the field?
M- well there are friends and enemies in any field. Unfortunately, people who are in our field like to work disunited and separately and this subject is becoming a danger for us today, and unfortunately we couldn’t determine a specified guild for us to have it and it is a pity that my competitors and I have not made the decision for being alert and prefer the little probable damage to great benefit which would be achieved with our solidarity. We tried several times to make this happen but was not successful so far. If I want to mention the names of persons as a supporter don’t think to be a good work.
I always tried to comment only about my products and if I had to comment about my partner products tried to talk based on the reality in the world and certainly as someone who loves animals and is working in the pet market, I have a great information about different brands and when sometimes I am forced to give comment sometimes caused happiness for my competitors and sometimes caused irritation and this subject is not important for me and The important subject is that always truth must be said.
R-there are two rumors about your products:
1- The expire time of your products is not real.
2- You asked the companies to put longer expiry dates for your products. Especially about Bosch and Schesir. 
Have you ever thinking about producing the food?
M- our company is the exclusive agent of every single brands that we claim. If you refer to the website of these companies, like Bosch you can see my telephone and my company details. But I should tell to the final consumers that the easiest way is to send picture of any products they doubt about it to the master companies and all of them have E-mails and web sites and based on my experience all the E-mails will be answered one by one and one copy of that e-mail will be sent to us and also we are working with big and well known countries, if our products was imported from china this kind of rumors were more natural. In Europe for example Italy and Germany and …this event is not applicable even in request of best and biggest customers. But to the consumers I should tell that all of our products have a number beside expire time called "Batch Number" and if you send this number to the company it can tell you the exact time of production. Maybe I can change the expiry time but in our company whatever happen will be exposed by the Iranian veterinary organization observer that visit our warehouse often. Our warehouses are being visited by the veterinary organization inspectors much more frequent than my other competitors due to the frequency and volume of my job. We have two warehouses which both of them are registered in the veterinary organization and we have no operation out of these two sites. In the case of production, I should say that the most valuable and oldest pet food manufacturers in Iran is my very good friend, Dr.Navid Nasirian and I did not have the chance so far to cooperate with him until now and if you ask him this question will be answered with the similar response.
I hope one day based on the needs of market, we can do something together. But about manipulation of date I should say our company is a family company and I have known what has happened during these 8 years and as far as I know there is no such thing. About cans you can check our frequency of import through veterinary organization and a product like Shesir with the import frequency of 4 to 6 times in a year will not reach to expiration. For example, about Shesir the least order was 80 to 100 tons per each part and maximum was 120 to 130 tons. Unfortunately, rumors are very much in our market but the first approach about checking these cases is better as I said and I think it is the most logical approach. In the case of this rumors that is said our food is produced in Iran, I should say if we had such power and knowledge to produce such qualified products and such packing locally in Iran, we deserve a bravo to us and we should also note that the current need of the market in Iran is not yet similar to the smallest size in Europe and the whole demand of Iranian market in a year will be produced during some hours production of big global company. So it is not logical for this amount of product to think that maybe the manufacturer can use new formulation or material or separate raw material that is used. Really I have a complaint from some friends and consumers. we had a product that the volume of our importing increased which that company suggested us to make a Farsi package for us. This is an honor for a company in the world. After this product imported rumored by some of our friends happened that this product is made in Iran or is made for Iran. I believe that the consumers should look to this subject with more open view and so easy don’t accept the wave of rumors.
Fortunately, all of our companies have website and E-mail and all of them are responsive. I think if our friends can find one single product of my company which has the smallest bug from the point of view of production, date, …. Certainly can dedicate the agency of the company for themselves if this information is passed to the master company.
R-Do you have a special surprise for exhibition 1397, because your booth smashed last year (either satisfied or dissatisfied)?
M- since our market is not professional yet, as a result our exhibitions faced a problem too in the past and sometimes we also receive unprofessional comments, but in Milad Tower exhibition in 1397 of course we will have surprises.
R-Did you study Kabook magazine? please tell your view about it
M- Before telling my view about magazine, I should talk about Mr. Khojasteh and his wife.
Getting to know him started with a failure to cooperate in 1389, but today position of animal Hami Gostar company is sedative as if a program is managed by them it’s an honor for me to cooperate with them. I haven’t seen these couple separately and always they were together and having grace to me and tried to adhere to the position and respect and dignities of this guild. Kabook magazine is amazing, I don’t like to opine about the content of the first publish of magazine because it is the first publish, but after designing it is a good magazine, besides of its content caused our guild to promote. Perhaps many of things have done in this field may have not economic justification like billboard That I put on the street. It is right that it doesn’t have good financial return but it has been good psychological and emotional return in the past few days. I don’t know the economical details of the magazine but I think this magazine has come to promote our guild.
R- Do you have pets?
M- Yes I have two St. Bernard dogs that I have bought for my children to be able to evoke this enjoyable communication in the environment out of the city on weekends.
R- If there is anything left to tell we are listening aloud
M-  I am very glad that veterinary organization and its related sections little by little finding out to power of pet guild and has found a view in this field. Now that pets are being accepted in our culture more than ever, Its accessories and equipment should be provided to avoid health hazards and animal hazards. We always tried to tell to veterinary organization but due to the enlargement of big animal market and Poultry and for example concerns about influenza vaccine the subject of pet will not be the first priority for the organization but fortunately it is much better now, for example I myself participated in the meeting this year and I saw they are trying to do necessary works. The main problem we have as importer is legal vacuum in this guild.  For example a product is imported as smuggling but we don’t have any law about importing or not importing it.
There are products that are not forbidden and we need them too but the law doesn’t say anything about them and when we return them to organization they refer pet products to farm animal and poultry which has big different. My main request from the organization is to consider to set and define exclusive the rules for pets and its accessories specifically and have specific framework. If this subject has done correctly first of all we will support the consumers and for example a product is sold one cent in the world, it is now being sold 5 cents here because it is imported illegally. 
We never think about supporting us by the organization but now which is supporting about legislation and following up we hope they supervise market with condition to collect the smuggling and put the solution for importing these products in a legal way.
R-Does your group intent to start importing vaccine and medicine?
M-naturally yes but the main reason for not happening is having no frames. I was at the opening of a private hospital and the chief of the organization had attended too asked me about the job vacancy of pet, all the people told importing veterinary medicine and he asked me why you don’t import medicine? I said that this story is completely different. If it is to import pet medicine the volumetric scale is similar to human medicine. For example you have several hundred kinds of medicine and for registering for each medicine according to current rules of veterinary organization take 2 years and you cannot have many files of registering at the same time so with the current rules if I want to register 70 to 80 items of medicine from tomorrow I don’t think my grandsons can see the import medicine either, but if the frame is corrected, it will be done.
R-do you have Supplements in your range of products or do you intend to import?
M- we don’t have for now but for sure we are unveiling in the exhibition 5 to 8 of Tir in 1397. 
In the end I like to thank all people who were along and support me specially my God and my wife and my dear family and one by one of my employees in the company. The biggest fund to get with the grace of god and trying my employees in J.M Vet Group is the trust of dear costumers and dear veterinarians in this section and certainly this principle has not become possible without cooperation and supporting dears. 
I am happy to have a team with me that their interest to company is like me and believed company belong to them and ready all the time to give service to customers and try for growing company.
Thanks to give time to us.