JANUARY diets are not just for people as a young entrepreneur launches her doggy detox after a successful Christmas.
From her parents’ kitchen in Bootham, York, 22-year-old Sophie Tregellis has been developing her pet-food business Top Collar.
Evolving from a hobby of making dog biscuits, Miss Tregellis has grown the idea into producing nutritious meals for cats and dogs made from locally sourced, “human-grade” ingredients.
Miss Tregellis enjoyed a festive boost to business as sales of her Christmas Dinners for dogs soared.
Now customers’ four legged friends are in line for a health kick as Miss Tregellis launches her January vegetable treats.
Top Collar is starting 2014 poised for further expansion after winning a national award, which will help the business enter the wholesale market.
At the end of last year, the University of Leeds graduate won a Shell Live WIRE Grand Ideas Award which saw her scoop a £1,000 prize.
Miss Tregellis says she plans to invest the money back into Top Collar as she is currently finalising new illustrations and more sophisticated packaging for her products before ramping up her marketing.
She said: “I want to create exactly the right brand for the business which reflects its ethos and, by using heat-sealed packaging, the food lasts for six weeks which allows me to break into the wholesale market.
“Pets are such an important part of family life so my products are made using local-sourced, human-grade ingredients.
“The flavours all add to the fun element, with the classic Sunday Roast and Full English which are designed for dogs, and Fish and Chips for cats. The different ranges aim to help pets with certain conditions, such as the ‘Golden Oldie’ range which aims to ease arthritis, fatigue and stomach problems in older dogs.”
Advice from Spark, the University of Leeds start-up service, led Miss Tregellis to launch her business while completing her philosophy degree and in May she won the University’s Sir Peter Thompson Enterprise Award for promising entrepreneurs.
Miss Tregellis described the £5,000 prize money as a “great springboard” for Top Collar, with the money used to analyse and test her products to ensure they met dietary regulations, design the packaging, promote the brand and design the website.
With the newly branded Top Collar website launched in November, and the online ordering system now up and running, Miss Tregellis is preparing to build her product sales both online and off.