The Dog House

The Dog House Story

A tail of friendship, passion and lots of hard work….sounds like a rom com (sometimes it feels like it too)

The Dog House story from the very beginning.  Selina and I are business partners and often refer to each other as ‘my partner Anna/Selina’ and people always assume that we’re in a relationship.  We’re not!  Although we see each other far more than our others halves.

The Dog House Leicester at Countryfile Live
Just the two of us with Jules Hudson after a live grooming demo on Indie at Countryfile Live
Let’s take you back to the start.  Lots of you now know us, but few of you know the back story.

Having both grown up in multiple dog households it’s crazy to think we’d have tried anything different that working with dogs.

I have always worked in pubs and restaurants but at the age of 18 had to find myself a full time job after leaving school.  I started in admin at a the prestigious Ragdale Hall. Although lovely friends, amazing treatments and tasty cakes served me well for 4 years, I decided that it wasn’t for me.  Towards the end of my career at the spa I had got myself a little Patterdale terrier.  Paddy was from The Dogs Trust and realised I wanted to spend more time with him.  I had my heart set on a job at Mars as I knew you could take your dog to work with you there (you probably shouldn’t choose a job based on this!).

Patterdale in a Ruff and Tumble drying coat
Naughty little Paddy in his drying coat

So off I went to Mars with Paddy in tow, sounds idyllic doesn’t it.  He’s not the easiest dog.  So after learning to bark when I left my desk, wee’ing in a meeting, chewing through a power cable and stealing several people’s lunches under the desk, he was walking a fine line even being allowed in the office still.  I had a great few years at Mars and had one of the most incredible managers who is now a dear friend.  I think if she’d stayed as my manager I’d probably still be there.  A true leader and super lovely lady.  Still, Mars wasn’t quite what I wanted.

I wanted something different

I’d toyed with the idea of dog grooming way back when I was at Ragdale and looked into it.  If I’m honest didn’t think I could afford to train in it as it’s super expensive.  I came back round to it at Mars and looked at various courses and eventually found quite a local one to me.  So off I went for an intensive dog grooming course.

Which is where I met Selina.  On my first day I thought she was terrifying.  That girl has got resting bitch face down to a tee!  After three weeks of training with her I began to warm to her!

Selina has also grown up with lots of dogs and after working in a kennels as a teenager, her career with dogs began.  Needless to say after 3 weeks in each others pockets we hit it off…queue a boozy night out in Leicester.

a few drinks later…

We were sat in Coast to Coast having cocktails and a bite to eat and Selina mentioned that she was looking for something a bit more than her current job was offering.  Selina always wanted to have her own kennels, but it seemed a bit of a pipe dream.  A couple of cocktails later it was decided that we’d go into business together, I still have the receipt from that night!

From then our ideas snowballed.  We found our premises which you now know is Roots.  Together we tried out so many business names, even to the point that we’d pretend to pick up the phone and see which one flowed better.  There was mood boards, paint colours for the salon, it was endless and it was SO exciting.  Don’t get me wrong there was an awful lot of hiccups along the way and a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

Wooden clad grooming salon
The salon being clad and feeling super rural

Our very first customer who was a lovely Labrador called Breeze, a lovely older lady, super friendly.  In our early days we spend hours delivering leaflets, playing games at the salon to make sure we were always there.  Not too sure we’d have time for that now!

We made so many mistakes with starting up our business and spent so much money that we didn’t need to spend.  All of it has been a huge learning curve for us.  Our families were brilliant and it’d be mean not to mention how supportive they have been of both of us.

Of course we can’t forget to mention the early expansion of the business.  Selina’s little boy Reggie and my baby Primrose (the dog).  Neither were planned but fit perfectly into the team.  If Reggie think’s he’s doing anything other than becoming a dog groomer – he has another thing coming!

German Shepherd Puppy on a bed
Baby Primrose on her first day at the salon

 

From humble beginnings to TV shows and radio

It’s crazy to think how far we’ve come, from appearing on BBC Radio Leicester to a 3 page feature spread in Your Dog, grooming on stage at Countryfile Live to coming runners up in the prestigious Rural Business Awards.

We have a totally unique business and we’ve developed it as we’ve gone along with our own learning and of course what our dogs have taught us.  More than anything the dog is the centre of all we do.  If your dog needs extra handling we can do that with two of us.  Socialisation sessions?  We’re on it!  If you want the whole salon completely for your dog, it’s not too much trouble at all.

It’s been the most incredible journey over the last two and half years and long may it continue.  We have big dreams to build and develop our business.  We cannot thank our loyal customers enough for coming along on the journey with us!

Contact us

If you’d like to come into The Dog House and join us on our journey then we’d love to meet you.  Have a browse of our spa menu and book your free consultation with us today via email contact@thedoghouseleicester.co.uk

 

Rural business awards
Rural Business Awards Runner Up – Best Rural Start Up 2019 .

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