‘I turned my doggy passion into a career’
Victoria Stent, 36, founder of Four Legged Fancies, shares her business success story – and explains how you can do the same
On 2012, Victoria I started making dog treats to sell at her local farmers’ market. Five years on, her products are stocked at Pets At Home, have celeb fans including Georgia May Jagger, and she’s gone from making £50 every Saturday to £100k turnover per year.
CUPCAKES TO PUPCAKES
“I started making cupcakes at the local farmers’ market, but it wasn’t original enough to take off,” says Victoria. “Then, one day, my dogs started sniffing around the cakes and I thought it would be brilliant to make dog cupcakes – or pupcakes – so they could enjoy them, too. My parents trained guide dogs when I was growing up and we always loved dogs, so I had a really good idea of what they can and can’t eat, which made baking the treats easier. A lot of dogs have sensitive stomachs, so I wanted to create something handmade, wheat-free and healthy, yet delicious and fun. I took the plunge and got DEFRA registered [a body that monitors animal food standards] and started selling – then Four Legged Fancies was born. I had to work part-time to make ends meet, but people loved the idea from day one so I started expanding the range, making doggy cakes and other treats, and took my stall to bigger markets and shows. Then a scout found me and Pets At Home asked us to stock them, which was a dream come true.
“These days my parents help at the markets and shows, and my dad deals with the mail orders and ships the parcels. I’ve also taken on a member of staff part-time to help me with the cooking, because juggling a business and producing all the stock is a huge job. It isn’t easy – I’ve done everything myself and when you have your own business it’s a 24/7 operation, but I wouldn’t change it. Doing something you love is the best feeling in the world.”
Victoria sells tasty dog treats at her market stall