Ruth’s dog-gone busi­ness idea goes down a real treat

The Oban Times - - Business -

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

Ruth Martin

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

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