Dog House Grooming

Summary

Doghouse Grooming Macclesfield was established by Bubble Enterprises’ co-director Belinda Barnard and Sarah-Jane Williams in 2009, with the aim of generating an improved work-life balance for both. Encapsulating the exemplary Bubble vision, Doghouse Grooming was set up as a self-sustaining enterprise, helping the founders achieve their economic and wellbeing goals in tandem.

Challenges

Prior to setting up Doghouse Grooming Macclesfield just before the financial crisis took hold, both Belinda and Sarah-Jane worked in corporate roles with considerable responsibility. With Belinda in retail marketing and business partner Sarah-Jane in recruitment, the pair wanted to spend more time with their young children and less time in a pressurised work environment.

Together, dog lovers Belinda and Sarah-Jane came up with the idea of a dog grooming business that placed a priority on quality. At the time, bespoke dog grooming services weren’t widely offered – the duo spotted a gap in the market for services that could be tailored to dog owners and their pets’ requirements, as opposed to the standard, one-size-fits-all approach taken by competitors.

Doghouse Grooming Macclesfield was established with the following objectives:

Provide a better work-life balance for staff

Generate a sustainable income

Offer a market-leading local service

The process

Belinda and Sarah-Jane attended college around their work and home schedules to train as groomers, using their business acumen, initiative and people skills to pick up quality equipment and attract clients without getting into significant debt or spending a penny on advertising.

The pair attended masterclasses, took advice from experts and invested time and learning to ensure that their services would set a new standard locally. As well as working on their practical skills, Belinda and Sarah-Jane used the experience they had already amassed over years in corporate roles to set up systems and processes that would ensure efficiency within the business.

An empty base within the grounds of property owned by Belinda was transformed into a salon and top-of-the-range equipment was sourced at a fraction of the RRP from a groomers that was closing down. With the strapline ‘We listen so your pet gets the perfect trim’, Doghouse Grooming Macclesfield was launched in 2009.

Outcomes

Doghouse Grooming Macclesfield is one of the earliest examples of Bubble’s vision to promote independence and empowerment by implementing business ideas; Belinda and Sarah-Jane established their joint venture to create a better work-life balance alongside a regular income.

The pair projected that the business would become economically sustainable once the 400 clients milestone was reached. Within 18 months, the business achieved this objective and the client base doubled shortly after.

A decade after starting up, and now with more than 1,000 customers on its books, Doghouse Grooming Macclesfield is the best-established groomers in the area, with a long – and growing – waiting list. Both Belinda and Sarah-Jane are now able to split their time between the business and other activities, achieving the work-life balance and economic security they sought.