A Padstow business specialising in wholesale dog care products is expanding into new markets with the support of a £32,000 loan from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund as part of a £97,000 package of support.
Slickers Doghouse has developed its own range of dog wear and dog pharmacy products, including branded dog slings and blankets, plus skin and coat care treatments, hygiene drops and sprays.
The business was founded by former telecoms director Lisa Hope in 2016 who saw the market potential for a range of high quality eco-friendly and where possible organic dog care products, which are mostly British-made.
The £32,000 CIOSIF loan will support the development of more own-branded Slickers products, and wholesale and online sales through website development, the purchase of a commercial embroidery machine and attendance at major trade shows, including Discover Dogs.
A further £65,000 of loan funding is being provide by SWIG Finance to help Slickers build up stock for growing wholesale and online orders.
Lisa said: “As a relatively young business without a long trading record, we’ve found it difficult to raise finance from traditional sources. But with the support of CIOSIF and SWIG Finance we have now have the backing we need to grow our own-brand range and tap into new markets.”
The deal was led by The FSE Group, with SWIG Finance managing the process as they deliver the smaller business loans part of CIOSIF. Rachel Thomson, CIOSIF Business Manager at SWIG Finance, added: “From locally sourced high-quality treats to the latest fashionable dog wear, Slickers Doghouse has everything covered for your four-legged friend. We are delighted to be supporting Lisa and the Slickers Doghouse team and look forward to seeing how this CIOSIF loan will aid the development and growth of the business.”
Lloyd Brina, Senior Manager at the British Business Bank, said: “Young businesses like Lisa’s often struggle to raise finance from conventional sources and that’s one of the reasons why CIOSIF was set up, to help break down the barriers to accessing growth finance that small businesses face.”
LEP non-executive director John Acornley, who chairs the CIOSIF Advisory Board, said: “Slickers is tapping into a dog owner market worth £10 billion a year in the UK and Lisa has already shown how premium quality, innovative products can appeal to a wide range of owners.”
Lisa received support from Rebecca Bettin at Oxford Innovation to help develop her ideas for growth into a credible business plan with sound financial forecasts.
CIOSIF is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.