After baking thousands of dog biscuits in her family home, businesswoman Chris Louttit is planning to expand her company and open her own manufacturing unit in East Kilbride.
‘Since I started making my own dog treats I must’ve baked somewhere in the region of 60,000 dog biscuits in the kitchen in the house – but that’s just not feasible anymore, and I’m now in position where I have to move to an industrial unit, and hopefully we can start taking on new staff within the next 12 months.’
Louttit is the founder and CEO of PAWSitively Natural, a company that develops and manufactures 100% natural and wheat-free baked doggy treats. ‘I came up with the concept of PAWSitively Natural because my dog Zola, a rescue Springer Spaniel, had a really sensitive digestive system, and I couldn’t find any dog treats to suit her, so I decided the best solution was to make them myself – and that way I would know exactly what ingredients were in them,’ said Louttit.
Louttit initially approached Interface to introduce her to an academic partner who would be able to undertake nutritional analysis on the biscuits and to evaluate the shelf life of the products using ethical packaging. Interface assisted Louttit with funding options for her company, and was able to put her in contact with experts from the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University and Glasgow Caledonian University – who all helped at various stages of the development process.
This work, as well as additional support from Business Gateway and Entrepreneurial Spark, led to the product being ‘soft’ launched at the London Pet Show in May 2013. And in November 2013, the company was awarded the Interface Innovation of the Year Award.
‘We now work with two major distributors, as well as 16 independent pet retailers, and are planning to take online orders. And I’ve been in contact with companies in the USA and Japan who are interested in the brand going overseas, so it’s a really exciting time.
‘This is an exciting time for the business and I’m looking forward to realising our full potential following our move,’ she said.