Ruth’s dog-gone business idea goes down a real treat
ADOG-lover who wanted to feed her three dogs healthy snacks has set up her own business selling homemade treats and biscuits.
Ruth Martin, 47, from Barcaldine founded Lulu Likes earlier this year with support from Argyll and Bute council’s Business Gateway service.
Lulu Likes, named after one of Ruth’s dogs, specialises in dog biscuits and treats made fully from natural ingredients with no additives, preservatives or chemicals.
After the response from her own dogs to her creations, Ruth began to make some for her friends’ pet pooches and they just lapped them up so much that she realised there was a gap in the market.
Ruth and her husband invested in a Portacabin, so Ruth could have a separate kitchen for her business and since then she has been steadily selling to dog lovers throughout Oban and beyond.
Ruth said: ‘I changed my dogs’ diets to a raw one and wanted to give them treats and biscuits that fitted in with this and were completely natural. I use good quality meat, suitable for human consumption, and vegetables.
‘When I knew my dogs were enjoying them I made some for the dogs at our local agility class and soon people were
telling me that their dogs were doing anything for one of the treats, which was fantastic feedback.
‘I knew other dog owners wanted affordable but healthy natural products for their dogs, so after discussing it with my husband we decided to take a chance and set up Lulu Likes. The response has been great so far and we are making a name for ourselves, mostly through word of mouth and Facebook.’
Ruth regularly sells her products as far south as Essex.
Now, with stalls at trade shows this
I knew that other dog owners wanted affordable but healthy natural products
summer already secured, Ruth is hoping to grow Lulu Likes and increase her customer base.
She added: ‘Facebook has worked really well as it allows me to have a quick and personable link with customers and reach dog owners all over the country. Our location doesn’t matter as we can post to anywhere in the UK and this is appealing not only to us, but potential customers. We also benefitted from having a stand at a major dog agility show and we are doing more agricultural and dog shows this year.
‘Business Gateway is an excellent source of information and I approached them as soon as we decided to give the business a go. My adviser, Angela, is always very enthusiastic and encouraging, which made me realise it’s never too late to pursue a new venture. As well as Angela’s support, I attended workshops which gave me a real insight into what was needed to start and run a successful business.’
Angela Vernel, Business Adviser, Business Gateway said: ‘Ruth had a great idea and, with our support, is now running a business that is not only doing well, but has the potential to grow. As well as our one-to- one advice, Ruth took advantage of our free workshop programme. These are specially designed to cover the topics that local business people are most interested in and give them the knowledge and skills needed to ensure they get off to the best possible start.’
TASTY: Ruth Martin and her trusted ‘tasters’ with a selection of treats