Visit from Mark Hewitson Photography

Local pet photographer Mark Hewitson from Mark Hewitson Photography came to visit us recently and I gave an interview, read more below and check out his site here.

Welcome to the first in what will become an ongoing series of interviews with local small businesses, which we believe may be of interest to you, our client. For the first interview, we paid a visit to Houndsland, a doggy day care facility based in the leafy village of Studley Green. Whilst we were there, we were very impressed by the wonderful facilities and amazing amount of space that owner Emily has to accommodate the dogs she looks after. You can tell just by talking to her, that the business is a labour of love and that no expense is spared to provide the dogs with everything that they will need and more.
  • Firstly, can you tell me a little about you.

Hi, I am Emily. I am 32 years old and live in High Wycombe with my husband and 6 year old Staffie, Cookie. I grew up in a small village in Oxfordshire and after 10 years post Uni in London I decided enough was enough and it was time to get back to the country and live out my dream.

  • What is your business and when did you set it up?

HoundsLand is a premier doggy day care facility in the heart of Buckinghamshire. We are fully insured to provide day care from our commercial premises at Studley Green Garden Store, providing a supervised environment where your beloved dog is able to socialise with others in a safe, secure and enriching environment.

We officially opened on October 5th 2015 but plans have been coming together since 2010, since then I have spent time learning all about dogs, their body language, behavior and how they learn so that I am able to provide the best care possible.

  • What made you set up your own business rather than work for someone else?

When I first had the dream of opening a doggy day care I did consider working for someone else and until last Summer I was still looking at the possibility of gaining more experience by working full time at other day care centres. However, I then met a very inspirational woman who has become my mentor. On applying for a part time job at her day care she turned to me and said, you do not need to be working for me, you have done so much work you are ready to go it alone. That gave me the confidence boost that I needed and then things just started to fit into place, I found the perfect site, raised the finance and the rest is history!

  • What made you choose this line of work?

Since I can remember, I have wanted to work with animals. I used to sleep in the bed with our Afghan Hound Peggy when I was 2 and was convinced that I was destined to work with dogs, we have had dogs in the family all of our lives and from the age of 6 I was best friends with my Mum’s friends Rottweiler, Trouble. We used to explore the farmland with his mini schnauzer brother and I would spend hours in their company.

Unfortunately, my career counsellor at school got it wrong and I went a little of the path of working with animals having struggled to find a direction for where to go after ‘A’ Levels. I chose to study Business Studies at Uni and went on to take a second degree in Law in London. After years of moving around jobs I finally sat down one day and said enough is enough, I am not satisfied, I need to get back to the dogs and I have finally made it! I think the path I have taken has put me in good stead for  the business world!

  • What is the one thing you wish someone had told you before you started your business?

Hmm this is a hard question as I have such an amazing network of friends, family and likeminded business owners who thankfully shared all their knowledge with me. If I could say anything it would be, don’t waste money on menial bits and bobs as on day 1 cash in the bank is the most important thing to keep you going!

  • What drives you to get up in the morning?

My dog Cookie, she comes into bed with us when the alarm goes off and just looks at me with a face of hope, so that and the eagerness to get to all the dogs on time!

  • What’s your funniest moment in business?

Watching my Father In Law climb on to the roof of the conservatory to jet wash it, we were all worried for his life, he had a great time though!

  • What is the one thing you wish someone had told you before you started your business?

Hmm this is a hard question as I have such an amazing network of friends, family and likeminded business owners who thankfully shared all their knowledge with me. If I could say anything it would be, don’t waste money on menial bits and bobs as on day 1 cash in the bank is the most important thing to keep you going!

  • What drives you to get up in the morning?

My dog Cookie, she comes into bed with us when the alarm goes off and just looks at me with a face of hope, so that and the eagerness to get to all the dogs on time.

  • Where do you see yourself in 3 years time?

Hopefully being at full capacity with at least two staff members to assist me on site, in a few years I would like to be able to offer more dog related services such as grooming and training.

  • Where can we find you online?

We are very active online, for information on our services check out our website, www.houndsland.co.uk. For daily updates we are on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/HoundsLand, Instagram https://instagram.com/houndsland/ and Twitter @Hounds_Land

  • Do you have any promotions or special offers on at the moment, readers can take advantage of?

We are currently offering 10% off first bookings.

For information on a Mark Hewitson Photography dog portrait experience, just visit our dog portraits page.

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