Pooch and Mutt: becoming top dog
Guy Blaskey founded supplements business Pooch and Mutt in 2008 after his own dog became ill and discovered there was little on the market to treat his pet. The business was doing well online, but Blaskey was unsatisfied with his “low volume, high margin” businesses. However following the creation of some new doggy treat products and subsequent listings in supermarket Waitrose and animal supplies retailer Pets at Home, sales went into overdrive. “People saw the packaging of the treats said they looked ‘like Waitrose products’ and so we persuaded them to come and see us at Crufts. That was in March 2013 and by June we were on the shelves,” says Blaskey. “That was a huge step change for our business. When you are dealing with online sales you never have to worry about cashflow as everyone pays upfront. But when you’re working with a major multiple you don’t get your money for 60-65 days, so you’re running out of cash quickly. Also, dealing with supermarkets is a whole new vocabulary, which I didn’t know. I think many businesses focus really hard on getting into the supermarkets, but one of the hardest things is staying there.”
Blaskey came to realise that he needed additional staff as well as advice from those with experience in working with major retailers. It has led to a big change of perspective for the entrepreneur. “When we were small I was reticent about taking people on and I thought we could outsource everything. But now I realise that we’ve grown because we have taken people on. I took on a sales guy and took him to a couple of meetings with me and he proved to be brilliant. Doing this enabled me to work on the products, while he can work on the relationships,” he says.
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