Meet the founder of Doggy's Cuppa
In an age when dogs are facing many of the same issues as man (obesity, diabetes, lethargy, poor digestion, wind…..)it made perfect sense for someone to devise an eclectic portfolio of beneficial brews that offered a daily dose of healthy herbs for the family hound.
The founder behind these up & atom dog tonics is Dr Veneta Kozhuharova, a practicing Kent vet who graduated in 2008 from the University of Sofia (faculty of veterinary medicine) with a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeon’s approved Master’s degree specializing in canine nutrition.
According to Veneta, ‘I was forever finding myself diagnosing and curing the same sequence of frequently occurring yet debilitating, minor doggy ailments, from improved digestion and urinary issues to obesity, lethargy and canine angst to easing the various downsides associated with old age.
Why did you choose now to launch Doggy's Cuppa?
I felt it was the right time because in these tough times of austerity anything that reduces the time one spends at a veterinary surgeon must a good thing. This is also an age when many dog ailments are self-inflicted, illnesses like diabetes, obesity, poor digestion and even bad breath are caused by poor diets and inappropriate fitness regimes. Even though pet food today is improving out of all recognition, there are still too many kibbles and tinned meals out in the marketplace that are assembled using cheap grain fillers, sub-standard meats, masking salts and sugars and artificial nasties.
Who is your target audience?
Caring, health conscious dog owners & custodians of dog-friendly establishments (pubs, cafes and boutique hotels) PLUS groomers, kennels, dog walker operations, independent pet stores, garden centres food halls and even the growing numbers of discerning farm shops.
What is the biggest obstacle you've faced so far?
Educating UK pet owners that many of the UK’s most beautifully branded pet foods are severely lacking in nutritional worth. Even some of the major dog food brands championed by the larger veterinary chains are primarily listed because of their deep marketing budget pockets and not their nutritional wealth. All that is shiny is not necessarily brimming with best-in-class ingredients!
After all the obstacles, what has been your proudest moment to date?
The avalanche of positive anecdotal we received at our trade show debut National Pet Show (Nov 17) reassured us that that we were heading down the right path with our brand.
The fact that we refuse to compromise in our quest to provide top drawer tonics, be that human grade herbs, affordable price points or providing cures for dogs of all breeds, sizes and life stages.
I know it can be tricky, but how do you balance family and business?
Doggy’s Cuppa is a family business which certainly doesn’t make one’s life any easier but at least it means you’re working side by side with your partner sharing both the highs and the lows.
What would be your top three advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
- Only take on something you truly believe in because a new business consumes so much time and energy, it has to be something that truly motivates you.
- You need a good range of whatever product you create to show any potential retailers that your proposition has real stretch and longevity. Retailers rarely embrace 1 sku wonders.
- Get your packaging right! For any start-up on a shoestring budget packaging is your most important marketing tool for generating customer interest.
What are your plans for Doggy's Cuppa over the coming months?
We’re looking at replicating our thinking into cat tonics and also like the notion of single portion packs for maximum pet owner convenience. I also think that tonics geared specifically at the growing community of smaller urban dogs has real merit.