Every once in awhile we get to help a business that really makes us smile – and Melissa Wavell from Widnes new business; The Dog Haus Ltd. is one of those. 29 year old Melissa describes it as ‘A new breed of day care for the contemporary dog.’
‘At The Dog Haus Ltd. we believe that socialising is very important. Dogs are pack animals by nature and they rarely get to be part of a pack in today’s world. We allow the dogs to play and socialise in a controlled environment which is more natural for them. The contemporary design led crèche has been created so the dogs feel like they are in a home from home.’
But how did Melissa, who had previously been a manager for the luxury fashion brand Jaeger, come to opening up her own doggy day care centre? It’s the simple matter of wanting to follow a dream! Melissa told us that it had always been her dream to work with animals wanting to be a vet when she was younger. She also had some entrepreneurial spirit in her as she spotted a gap in the market for her business idea; ‘I decided to set up my own because I already had a lot of business experience from my previous job and I’d also seen a space in the market for more of a ‘luxury’ doggy day care. A lot of dog day cares that you see now are very basic and I wanted to create a fun environment similar to what you would see at a children’s crèche! Just because they are dogs, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the best!’
Once Melissa was decided she began to write her business plan and looking for a unit to place The Dog Haus Ltd. When she got in touch with Halton Council they put her in touch with The Women’s Organisation and Business Adviser; Mike Marsden. From there Melissa and Mike began to work together, with help from the Skills and Opportunities Fund, to make The Dog Haus Ltd dream into a reality! ‘Mike has been fantastic! I couldn’t have done this without his support and encouragement. He was really enthusiastic with my business idea and believed that I could make a success of it. At times when I have gone off track Mike has brought me back to focus. His knowledge and experience is second to none.’
As with the opening of any new business there is always going to be difficult barriers to overcome and for Melissa that was finding the perfect place for The Dog Haus Ltd. Melissa searched for 6 months to find the perfect unit; ‘I kept getting knocked back by different letting agents and landlords who didn’t want to home The Dog Haus Ltd. in their units. I finally found a fantastic landlord and agent who have supported me and waited another 2 months for the council to agree to my planning permission!’
And throughout all this to-ing and fro-ing with her unit, Melissa was still working a full time job and trying to juggle opening a new business! But now the tough work has been done and The Dog Haus Ltd. is open for business! ‘We’ve just had an Open Day which was really successful. We were inundated with people signing up and coming for a look around. I’m now a few weeks in and we have enquiries every day!’
‘It’s been a massive change for me so right now I’m adjusting to my new job role although I definitely feel like I’ve made the right choice. The best thing about running my own business is that I am my own boss, I know that I can drive the business in any direction I like and I don’t have to answer to anyone but myself. Oh! And of course, giving belly rubs to dogs all day long!
If you’d like to find out more about The Dog Haus Ltd. you can use the contact details below!
And if you would like some support starting your own business, then get in touch with us! Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or ring us on 0151 706 8111
Melissa was supported by The Women’s Organisation and the Skills and Opportunities Fund. This fund is one of the many ways that the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is contributing to the communities they live and work in. In 2015, they committed £2.5m to fund projects in charities, social enterprises, community groups, state-funded schools and colleges across the UK and Ireland, and they have allocated at further £2.5m to be split across two rounds in 2016.
The Dog Haus Ltd.
Unit 5, Ground Floor Unit 6
Palatine Industrial Estate