Hayley Short joins us this month from The Pet Deli, a contemporary online pet food store with a passion for providing natural foods and treats for our beloved animals. Hayley started the company with her partner, Lewie, and their husky, Maya, and was kind enough to share her knowledge of starting a business and following a passion.
What’s your company story in a nutshell?
The Pet Deli was created by myself and my partner Lewie and inspired by our Siberian husky Maya. We feed our dog a natural, raw diet and struggled to find healthy treats for her. We were sourcing them from small independent UK food producers and decided to create an online store for other like-minded owners offering lots of different healthy treats all in one place. Everything we sell is UK made and we’re really proud of that.
How do you plan your day?
Always with a list prioritising what is most urgent. Otherwise I have the tendency to do the tasks which I find the most interesting and fun. Throughout the day I’ll cross out tasks that have been completed (which is very satisfying) and add anything new that pops up during the day. Generally the day starts with checking emails, orders and social media accounts.
Describe your workspace
I’m aware that I have the tendency to be quite messy so I make sure I regularly clear out and tidy up my workspace. I find that also helps to clear my mind. We hand-stamp all of our business cards and packaging which takes up quite a lot of space. There are also a lot of boxes of treats!
Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, rips out notebook pages once a topic has been covered in her meetings. How do you hold a productive meeting?
It depends on the nature of the meeting and who it’s with. Generally our meetings are very informal – recently I met with a lovely Blogger and her French Bulldog and discussed ideas over coffee. I prefer that style of meeting and find it’s much more productive.
Tea or coffee?
Which stationery item could you not live without?
What is the best thing that your business success has allowed you to do or have?
That’s a tough question. First and foremost it’s allowed me to work on something I feel really passionate about and the fact that it’s with my partner is even better. It’s also enabled me to meet some really lovely people. All of our suppliers are small companies and really care about what they do. I’ve also met some really nice fellow dog owners via social media.
Which office/workplace habit can you not stand?
Drooling – our chief product tester is the worst.
What has been your proudest career moment, so far?
As we’re a new company I think the best is still to come but just seeing our website launch and getting really great feedback was a very proud moment.
What advice would you give to people starting their own business?
Explore your idea fully before you invest too much time and money into it. Check out your competitors and be clear on what you’re offering or doing which is different to them. Make sure your business has the potential to make money, otherwise it’s just a hobby. Finally, don’t give up, if you believe in what you’re doing go for it!
How do you switch off?
As I run the business with my partner it would be tempting to talk about work all the time at home. We have a rule that after 6pm no work talk. If I have something on my mind I write it down for the next day. I also do a lot of dog walking which helps me to switch off!
What are you most looking forward to, professionally, in the future?
Generally just watching the business grow and meeting new people; we’re constantly on the lookout for new and innovative UK suppliers. We’re also starting to book places at events now and I’m really looking forward to appearing at a charity event next month called Pup Aid.
What’s your secret to success?
As we’re a new company I don’t consider us to be a big success – just yet! I think that’s a good thing though, we’re still on the road to success which keeps us motivated and driven.