Anneke van den Broek is on a mission to ensure humanity is provided to all animals and improve the lives of all Australians through pets.
Anneke van den Broek is the multi-award-winning founder and CEO of beloved pet care brand Rufus & Coco, stocked in 9 countries and selling 2.5 products per minute. In addition to solving every day pet owners’ problems, Anneke runs a forum connecting women in business and personally mentors four high-growth businesses. She is a passionate advocate for pet welfare, having owned more than 40 pets in her life, and has partnered with the Australian Pet Welfare Foundation to help in their mission to ensure pets are welcome in rental properties and working towards zero euthanasias.
Anneke started her entrepreneurial journey at just six years of age, breeding mice and selling them to the local pet shop for 40c each.
This entrepreneurial spirit and an unwavering belief that she could achieve anything she set her mind to, helped when it came time to leave a high-flying corporate career behind to launch her business, taking on the likes of Mars and Nestlé who, at that time, dominated the pet care market. Anneke shares "at the age of five, father sat me at the edge of our large pool at home and told me to tell myself five times loudly “I can do anything I want to if I try,” until I was yelling it. That day I swam for the first time to the end of pool and back unaided,”
With that same passion and determination, she’s taken Rufus & Coco from a startup to a globally successful brand, stocked in Coles, Woolworths and IGA supermarkets locally, and also in stores across nine different countries.
Success didn’t come easily though. Prior to launching Rufus & Coco, Anneke began her career in the cut-throat fashion industry and by age 23 was single-handedly running 300 David Jones fashion shows across Australia each year. Executive Management roles soon followed and by age 29, Anneke had secured the position of Marketing Director of Blackmores, leading a large, cross-functional team.
It was during her travels to attend health trade shows around the globe, that Anneke recognised a growing need for natural alternatives in pet care. Having owned more than 40 pets in her life she had struggled to find such products herself.
The natural health and supplements industry was booming, yet there weren’t many all-natural supplement and grooming options for pets. Recognising a gap in the market along with the sweeping global trend towards pet humanization, Anneke set about developing quality ‘Best of Breed’ products that would make a genuine difference in the lives of pets and their owners.
“Like many entrepreneurs, I had a handful of ideas I wanted to bring to life and had to really hone in on what I was most passionate about,” she says. “I grew up with dogs, rabbits, turtles, mice, cats - pets were already such a huge part of my life. I remember drawing up a business plan on a napkin while holidaying in Bali and Rufus & Coco was born. It was a longer and tougher journey to success than I could have imagined but any time someone doubted me it made me doggedly determined to succeed.”
Rufus & Coco has received 7 product awards in their 10 years, recognizing innovation and product excellence, and were the proud recipients of a 2016 NSW Telstra Business Award. Anneke was the recipient of the 2012 Anita Prabhu Women in Business Award, and was inducted into the 2016 HerBusiness Hall of Fame.
Anneke has a Diploma from AICD (Australian Institute of Company Directors) and holds an EMBA from UNSW and has been recognised as one of Australia’s 50 most influential women entrepreneurs. Anneke has two beautiful children, loves nature, yoga and traveling as much as she can.