Hey! I am a firm believer in small businesses and am always keen to get behind small passionate business owners, whether they are overseas or local. I think that it is always inspiring to see these small businesses working hard at something they obviously love to improve others lives or to give them a product that they will want to use. I think that the same money that we give to the big companies when given to a smaller business goes a heck of a long way and makes a bigger impact. That's why I have started a series in which I interview a lot of different small pet business owners and really put a spotlight on the work they are doing. I think this will be a great way to get some of my favourite businesses out there, and also work as an inspiration to people who are looking at starting their own business.
For the first post I have chosen to interview Alex who created the business Bow Wow Boutique. She describes her business as one that is dedicated to giving the public high quality pet apparel that will go the distance and individualise your pet. As a business they strive to cater to all dog breeds and their style, as well as branching out into other pets such as cats and horses. I personally have purchased off her a few times, and have to say that this brief of her and Bow Wow Boutique hits the nail on the head.
Bow Wow Boutique is currently most known for their collars and leashes that she creates in heaps of different patterns and colours. They are sturdy, long wearing and stand out amongst their commercial counterparts. If you want to check out what they have to offer head over to their Facebook page!
Do you currently own any pets, or have any plans to own any in the near future?
I currently have a family dog, named Mollie who is a Labrador, Staffy mix and also own one Shubunken fish. I am definitely wanting to get another pet when I move out and can afford it.
What made you decide to start your own business? How did you form the idea and how did you get it off the ground?
I was working at a doggy daycare and I was searching for collars and leads to sell there. My boss was wanting New Zealand made products so I did some research and the quality I find in some of the New Zealand made products wasn't up to our standard. I starting speaking with one of our daycare clients, who now I regard as a friend, and she said "Why don't you make them?". I looked into that idea further and realised that it was actually something I could do, but it had to be done correctly. After spending a few weeks buying materials that were terrible I finally found the right stuff. These were strong and durable and that's where it all started. My boss was very supportive and so were all the clients at the daycare, eager to see what I could make for the and their fur babies.
Have you always wanted to work with dogs/pets?
I have always wanted to work with animals! When I was really young I wanted to be a vet but once I got to high school I realised that I couldn't handle the sciences. After that I decided I would still work somehow with pets and decided to try other professions, now I am doing this!
What has been the hardest part of starting a pet business?
The hardest part is convincing people that your product is worth it. Once you do that, word of mouth spreads like wildfire and my products speak for themselves.
What has been your biggest accomplishment since starting?
That's a hard question to answer, I would probably have to say when I made the decision to do this full time and it actually working out. Putting 100% into the business has really paid off.
What has been your biggest regret since starting?
It was spending a lot of money right when I started on materials that were just not good enough for loved pets.
Where do you see Bow Wow Boutique in the next five to ten years?
Having staff working with me, mass producing my products and seeing them in overseas and New Zealand shops, daycares and kennels. I would also like to be able to provide more variety of products and be able to have a 'design your own' for the ribbon so customers can personalise the collars even more. That's a few years away yet!
Advice to anyone wanting to start up a small business
JUST DO IT! If you are passionate about something and think you can offer a better product/service than what is currently on the market, then go for it. The only thing holding you back is yourself.
Thank you Alex for taking time out of your day to answer our questions!
If you like this kind of post, please leave a comment below so I can know that I should do more. Plus, if there is a small business you would like me to interview, let me know and I will try and achieve it for you!