Meet Shireen Petty of Bertie Woofster & Me
Bertie Woofster & Me originated after Shireen Petty desired a more practical bag to take out on her walks with her black Cockerpoo, Bertie, that could accommodate all the doggie essentials.
Today, Shireen’s fun, customised Bertie Woofster & Me bags are sold in several independents in North Yorkshire. Here, she tells us more about how she got started, and her hopes to forge more relationships and collaborations with local businesses.
Establishing Bertie Woofster & Me
The idea for the bags came into being in November 2017 after going on a misty dog walk with Bertie (our first ever dog) when I mistakenly blew my nose on a poo bag extracted from my pocket!
What I needed, I thought, was a specific bag to take out on my walks. It would be filled with doggie essentials and would have similar function to that of a ready packed baby change bag next to the pram.
I couldn't find a product that ticked all my boxes on style, function and price so I decided to create my own.
I am loving creating fun and functional dog walking bags for discerning dogs and their owners!
Best part about running a small business
I love the variety it gives me and the opportunities for creativity, such as picking fabrics or designing my logo.
I’ve met some amazing people through Fairs, Markets and networking, who I otherwise might never have bumped into if I hadn’t started Bertie Woofster & Me.
For someone with absolutely no business background at all, running a small business is a very steep learning curve with a multitude of challenges!
The flip side of all the variety that I spoke about, is that you need to become an expert at lots of things very quickly. Learning to navigate the world of social media has been huge for me, and keeping the house tidy amidst boxes of bags, fabric and stock has been one challenge I have found impossible!
Plans or goals for 2019
Having the idea of Bertie Woofster & Me and managing to get it from concept to business over the last 18 months was my initial goal, and I’m really chuffed about getting to this point.
I am keen to work with local businesses and hope to forge more relationships and collaborations. Bertie Woofster & Me Bags are stocked in several Independents in North Yorkshire and I would like to expand this further.
I'm still very much at the start of my venture, but who knows what might be possible?! I keep telling my husband that Laura Ashley started sewing on her kitchen table too!
Best advice for other start-ups
Find a supportive Business networking Group.I have been really lucky to stumble upon Women mean Business – York.
This group has grown from a few hundred members to over 2000 during the 12 months since I have been a member and there is a wealth of experience, ideas, and support within the group which has been invaluable.
Another piece of advice would be to just give things a go. Regrets are mainly about what you DIDN'T do, not what you did, that didn’t go according to plan. If nothing goes right....go left!