A dog owner has turned her lifelong passion for man’s best friend into a business venture – and now she’s bringing her lavish Harrods- endorsed pet beds to the high street for a fraction of the price.
Linda Dolley of Lush Pups turned her back on a successful car parts business to pursue her dream making luxury four poster beds for dogs.
In 2012 her idea was backed by Dacorum’s Den – a Dacorum Borough Council-led initiative based on the popular TV programme Dragons’ Den – and she bagged £1,000 to help her get the idea up and running, as well as expert mentoring from business brains based on Hemel Hempstead’s Maylands estate.
Then her product was picked up by famous London department store Harrods, which sold her bedding products in its pet kingdom under an exclusive deal that came to an en last month.
Harrods has opted to close its famous pet department to devote more space to womenswear
Knightsbridge shoppers would pay from £1,400 for a Swarovski crystal encrusted or leopard print four poster, and the first one to hit the shelves sold within 24 hours, snapped up by a dog-lover from the Ukraine.
The biggest buyers in the luxury pet market, according to Linda, come from Russia where toy dogs are seen as a status symbol.
“Having the kudos of being in Harrods has really opened doors,” she said.
“When I first started out selling four poster beds people said nobody would want them, but they do.
“One lady I did a four poster for now wants a throne. A lot of people want to match their colour scheme at home.”
Now Linda, of Apsley, is bringing the luxury product to the mass market and has just started selling her handmade pet goods, which also include sleigh beds, chaise beds, feeding stations, pet steps, day beds and bespoke items, within Boxmoor dog groomers Handsome Hounds in St John’s Road.
“We now want to make it a bit more High Street,” said Linda. “I’m not sure if Hemel Hempstead is ready for a four poster – but who knows.”
Prices for a four poster pet bed, which takes around four days to make with the help of partner Jason Gould – ‘he does all the manly side, the nuts and bolts’ – start from £295. Pet feeding stations begin at £36 and Linda also offers a range of homemade natural and organic dog treats called Bobbie Bones – named after her beloved miniature schnauzer Bobbie Naish.
“He is always with me every day and being a pet lover it is fantastic to be able to do this,” said Linda. “It is actually very exciting.”
Visit www.lushpups.co.uk to see what’s on offer, or pop in to Handsome Hounds.