Wanting a change of career led Karen Low to set up her own dog walking business after spending over 10 years working in two local factories.
Having always wanted to be her own boss, and with four dogs of her own, the 34-year-old, from Alloa, invested £10k of her savings into buying a van and undertaking training in canine first aid and microchipping.
With the help of Business Gateway Clackmannanshire, the animal lover, who has worked for both Alloa Glass Works and for a company that handcrafts bespoke boxes for high-end whisky, launched K & J Central Pet Dog Walker at the end of February.
Now, with a growing client base under her belt, Karen is looking to raise money for the Scottish SPCA by holding a sponsored dog walk in Gartmorn Country Park on Sunday, April 1st. Anyone looking to take part with their canine friend should meet outside the park’s new café, Dam Good Coffee, at 12 noon on the day.
She said: “I’d always wanted to run a business that was linked to animals, as my three French Bulldogs and Lhasa Apso are like children to me. I’d saved up for a long time and at the end of last year I decided it was now or never and haven’t looked back. Before I was standing all day in one spot in a factory; now I am out and about enjoying all the fantastic countryside of Clackmannanshire and Stirling.
“Because I’d never ran my own business I went to Business Gateway for support. The advice I’ve been given 1:1 and on the free workshops has been so useful, particularly the bookkeeping workshop as I was a bit panicky about having to do my own books. Luckily, my adviser is also going to help me fill in my first tax return, which has given me peace of mind.”
Mandy Campbell, Business Gateway, said: “Karen has launched a business that combines two of her life goals – to be her own boss and to work with animals. With our help, she has been able to build both her confidence and her practical skills to provide her business with firm foundations to grow. Her passion for animals also shines through in all that she does, including organising the sponsored walk for charity this Easter Sunday.”
Not only will Karen’s clients be able to entrust their family pet to her for walks throughout the day, they’ll be able to use her other services while on holiday.
She said: “Although dog walking is a major part of what I do, I also offer a wide range of services – from a pet taxi to providing pet sitting services, where I pop into people’s homes to looking after dogs, cats, rabbits etc during the day while their owners are on holiday. Because I am also qualified to microchip animals, people can have their pets chipped in the comfort of their own home. All the services I provide are to reduce stress, for both the animal and their owner.”
For more information about K & J Cental Pet Dog Walkers visit its Facebook Page.
To find out how Business Gateway Clackmannanshire can help your business call 01259 208426 or visit www.bgateway.com/clackmannanshire.