Morgan’s Dog Boutique: Sian & Rhys Morgan

After spotting the demand in the US, the dog accessories start-up tapped into the £35m market here – beating the competition by being unique and promoting the locals

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Name: Sian & Rhys Morgan
Company name:  Morgan’s Dog Boutique
Location: Pontypridd
Date launched: 01/08/2014
Number of employees: 3

Tell us what your business does:

Our company sells a range of trendy but practical dog’s clothing and accessories.  Many items are designed by UK small businesses. We also have a dedicated ‘made personal’ section, where customers can get gifts such as personalised dog coats.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

The business idea was prompted three years ago when both my partner and I travelled to LA and saw the huge demand they had for dog clothing. My husband’s previous job was as a nurse but he always had a huge interest in running his own successful business.

I undertook a business degree for three years specialising in small businesses and have since had jobs in finance, project management and marketing.  We both have a passion for dogs, and with the help of our own two, we came up with the idea for Morgan’s Dog Boutique.

How did you know there was a market for it?

We researched the dog clothing and accessories market in the UK and found that people spent over £30m in 2012 on accessories for their dogs, with that figure set to hit £35m by 2015.

Furthermore a recent study from the American Pet Products Association stated that spending on pets has hit a record high of $52bn in the US and that nine out of 10 pet owners see their pet as part of the family. This shows there is a huge market for dog owners buying clothes and accessories both here and abroad so we decided we would like to be a part of it.

What were you doing before starting up?

I was working in project management and was busy having our second baby and my husband was nursing at a psychiatric hospital in Cardiff.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

Yes, I have wanted to run my own business since I was 16, when I completed an enterprise scheme. My husband was also an entrepreneurial child, at school he would often came up with new ideas to make money and completed several business courses.

So after he left his nursing job we thought the time was right to start our lifelong passion to start a business of our own.

How did you raise the money?

We used a settlement received from my husband’s previous job, we had help from family, and we got loans from a government start-up scheme and an investment firm called Purple Shoots. Together it was enough to get our business off the ground.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

Our business model is quite simple; we sell products made by us and small UK pet businesses  taking a commission each time one of their items is sold.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

Gaining customer leads for our website. There is a huge competition in the market and setting yourself apart can be hard. I think we have overcome this by setting ourselves aside from other dog boutique stores and selling unique pet products, giving customers something different to choose from. This has proved to be a huge success in recent months.

What was your first big breakthrough?

Our first breakthrough was securing the finance to make our business idea a reality.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Do your market research and learn as much as you can about running a business before taking the plunge. And most importantly don’t give up on your idea, believe in yourself!

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

In five years time we would like to be a successful online marketplace for pet products and have hundreds of independent suppliers on our books, making their business ideas a success as well.

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