Winners' Stories - Happy Hounds
In a series of Blogs we turn the spotight on some of the recent winners of our first eDogAdvisor awards and find out more about how their business started and what it means to be an award winner. This time it's Happy Hounds, winner of Best Dog Walkers, owned by Emily Walden.
How and why the business started
Happy Hounds was founded by Emily Walden in 2015. After graduating from Northumbria University with a degree in estate management, Emily worked as a graduate surveyor in Southampton. A true Yorkshire lass with a passion for animals and the outdoors, Emily decided to change careers, and started walking dogs in Winchester.
Emily quickly gained recognition as a professional and reliable dog walker in the city of Winchester, and so the decision was made to set up a dog care business offering dog walking, dog boarding, and doggy day care, and Happy Hounds was born.
How it has grown
The business has grown to become one of the largest dog care businesses in Winchester, and arguably in Hampshire. It was however a difficult task to grow Happy Hounds, as the level of competition in the local area was so high. Initially the company required a great deal of marketing, and significant emphasis was made to get the business to the top of the search engines, and generate enquiries through distributing flyers.
Once the enquiry’s started coming in, and the company gained more clients, the rest of the growth came via word of mouth. Currently the business has had over 150 clients since its formation, and plans to reach 200 by summer 2016. With a team of three, the Happy Hounds vans are a frequent site in the city of Winchester, and the company now has a loyal customer base using a wide range of the services offered.
Happy Hounds has also recently finished renovation work on a modern Doggy Day Care Centre on the outskirts of Winchester, which also features a shop stocking organic and natural dog foods (such as Lily’s Kitchen, Orijen and Pooch & Mutt), as well as being the primary retailer of Nutriment raw dog food.
What the plans are for the future
There are still a number of areas of dog care which Happy Hounds would like to explore. One of these areas would be grooming, which is a particular passion for Emily. The company would like to set up a grooming salon, which either operates independently or is incorporated within the Doggy Day Care Centre. With a significant number of dogs staying for day care, it makes sense to offer the option to have the dogs groomed during their stay.
Another area for the business to develop would be dog training. Having a doggy day care centre means that there is space available to hold training classes, and puppy socialisation sessions. With some of the staff training to become certified dog trainers, we hope to be in a position to host weekly dog training evenings before the end of the year.
What it means to be an eDogAdvisor award winner
Winning the eDogAdvisor award 2015 for best Dog Walkers was such an honour. Emily and the whole team have worked incredibly hard to establish Happy Hounds as a pinnacle of professional dog care, so receiving such recognition in the form of the award was a very proud moment.
Winning the category for Dog Walkers is particularly special, as it is one of the largest categories, and we were up against some fantastic dog walking businesses from all across the UK. Looking at the list of the other award winners for the 2015 award, it is fantastic to be in such esteemed company, and we hope to have similar success in 2016.
For more information on Happy Hounds please visit the following:-