A North Tyneside mum has opened a niche shop aimed at dog owners who want to take an alternative approach to caring for their canine friends.
Joanne Miller started The Wandering Dog Company as a stall at Tynemouth Market before it started to attract demand for her herbal dog supplements and natural treats.
The former business development executive for Sage started the business with a friend and has now taken over the lease on premises on platform 2 at Cullercoats Metro station.
Ms Miller, who left work to study a degree in biological and anthropological study, funded the business herself after realising the idea’s potential at the market.
She said: “Our family Labrador – Poppy – is the inspiration behind the business. We spent thousands of pounds on trying to remedy a number of allergies that make her uncomfortable.
“We’d tried literally everything and then I thought about alternative therapies and natural diets. It worked, but I soon realised there were few places in my area where I could get holistic products and advice.”
With a small range of products sourced from as far afield as Australia, The Wandering Dog Company soon began to attract more and more customers who were experiencing problems with their own dogs.
She explained: “Each week the stall became busier and busier with from people who had poorly dogs and were finding it difficult to help their pets. I quickly realised that many dogs suffered in the same way as Poppy had and there was nowhere else locally that people could go to source holistic products or get advice for their dogs.
“I also realised that many dog owners were becoming more conscious about what they fed their dog and that good quality products were difficult to find, especially for those who fed their dogs a raw diet. It was a definite gap in the market.”
After a busy 12 months at the market she decided to take the plunge with a permanent base in order to showcase more product.
In hunting for suitable space she spotted vacant premises at Cullercoats Metro station, and The Wandering Dog Company opened its doors in November.
Ms Miller said she loved the “quirkiness” of opening in the station premises – which puts her business in front of hundreds of commuters every day.
The shop stocks a range of veterinary-approved herbal products as well as homeopathic remedies which are used to treat digestive issues, skin problems and behavioural issues.
In addition to treatments the store has had success in selling raw dog foods including minces, chunks and bones, as well as biscuits and herbal teas.
Ms Miller now plans to introduce one-to-one consultations with animal reflexologists, homeopathists and behavioural experts from the Cullercoats shop.
The mum-of-one added: “I needed a business that fitted around my family life. It’s really important to me that I can take my daughter to school in the morning – and of course walk our dogs. This idea lets me do both of those things. It’s also great for my daughter as she has ambitions to become a vet.
“It’s really satisfying to help dog owners who were having trouble with their pets.”