Natural pet hygiene and grooming products from the North East are taking the international pet market by storm as small business Oggy Pets eyes growth.
The Gateshead firm, which also operates a base in Middlesbrough, has made headway in the Spanish, Australian and US markets with its innovative range of natural products for pet owners and dog groomers.
Director Damone Vickers Armstrong launched the business in 2013 with overseas investment after spotting the potential for translating natural products for children into a range for the £4bn-a-year UK pet sector.
Using a team of scientists he redeveloped formulas for baby products into treatments for pets and set about licensing them to overseas agents and distributors.
The products use natural fruit acids, derived from coconuts, that produce favourable pHs for animals.
Mr Vickers Armstrong said: “The pet market is relatively lucrative but we’ve found there aren’t a lot of natural products that are manufactured in the UK or US.
“We thought there was room for a range of top-end products like this. Originally we had intended to licence the products out to manufacturers, but we’ve since had success through a network of agents and distributors around the world.
“Markets like Spain, Australia and the US have been quicker on the uptake. The UK customer base has progressed, but we’re up against long established brand names that people have been using for a long time.”
Oggy Pets’ range is produced by a contract manufacturer in Preston and often packaged and shipped to customers to avoid the cost of transporting empty packaging.
The patented and accredited formula is Oggy’s unique selling point, and gives rise to the company’s slogan — “tested on humans for animals”.
Around 150,000 to 200,000 Oggy’s units are sold each year and now the firm is poised to appointed a sales manager to lead that growth.
Together with general manager Mark Burlinson, Mr Vickers Armstrong now says he is ready to relaunch the brand.
Mr Vickers Armstrong added: “We’ve really looked at the way people live with their pets and how they care for them in different surroundings. For instance, we’ve developed a special product for dog owners that live in apartments. The owner covers the animal in foam before drying off. It negates the need for a bath, which can be problematic for dog owners in small spaces.
“We’ve marketed the brand quite extensively through dog shows in the UK.”