Frieda and Branko Krpan are the co-owners of Branko’s Beagles – a highly reputable breeder of pure-bred beagles that are sold around the world.
When and why did you first start thinking about exporting?
Once our dogs started winning a lot of competitions, the customers from the U.S. and elsewhere came to us. Our first exported dog was in 1978.
Describe how your export journey helped Branko’s Beagles get to where it is today.
It allowed our dogs to shine even more outside of Canada. People who compete always want the best in order to beat the best. We sell dogs into Asia as hunting dogs and pets, every state in the U.S. except Hawaii and all over Europe.
When it comes to exports, what do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
We never had any regrets. Difficulties are simply dealt with and we have never let any obstacles hinder us in our business, one way or the other. Bureaucracies tend to be the same all over. The only hindrance has been Australia, where incoming dogs are in quarantine for six months. We won’t allow our dogs to be in quarantine that long. Particularly since they are fully vaccinated before they were to leave, plus treated against internal and external parasites multiple times.
How has the trading world changed since you started in business?
Forty-five years ago, we could still deal on a handshake. Those days are long gone. All dogs are now only shipped pre-paid, including shipping and all other charges.
EDC resources to help you export
When it comes to exports, what do you know now that you wish you knew then?
Having worked in export/import prior sending dogs off-shore, it was an easy transition.
What is the #1 characteristic that you believe every exporter should possess?
Honesty above all in every aspect: the product you sell (whether it’s a dog, or textiles or wine) has to be what you say it is. Support your client in whatever way you can. Be prompt, don’t make promises you cannot keep. It is very easy to make an enemy, much harder to make a friend! We have many clients who have purchased their hunting and/or companion dog from us for 40 years and less. A dog hunting in Cyprus has to do just as well as a dog hunting in Alaska. Different terrain, different rabbits. But, the basics are the same: find the rabbit and don’t lose it, so the owner can shoot it. Once the hound finds the rabbit, it should be as good as in the pot.
What is the biggest difference between selling in Canada and selling in another country?
None. The above applies to selling within Canada or outside Canada. Managing expectations of the client is very important. Don’t undersell yourself, but never ever oversell yourself. As Canadians we tend to not blow our own horn enough, but that is not always a bad thing.
How did you adapt to that difference?
We try to “blow our own horn”, but find it often difficult. It’s just not the way we are.