Adjusting to Life with Covid-19: the story behind Eco Pet Parcel

Before the lockdown was announced I was a dog walker, pet sitter and home boarder. I set up Happy Waggers & Sleepy Whiskers in January 2019 and I loved my job. Once the schools closed, understandably, many of my customers didn’t need me anymore. I was left with a lot of spare time and no income. My business was unfortunately too young to qualify for the 80% scheme and I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do. Losing my small business was not an option; I had worked too hard to build it up.

Out with one of my regulars Willow in Biddulph Grange Country Park

After a few weeks of feeling very lost a loved one suggested I use my time to start an online pet shop. It was something I’d previously considered but never had the time to actually set up. If I am honest, at that point I was too all over the place to see this path for myself. This was a turning point for me, I had a new focus that would keep me constantly occupied. I’m often working on the shop from the moment I wake up until I fall asleep (or up until Sunday night family zoom). 

Once I’d decided I was going to start a shop, I began to research. Research insurance, products, websites, postage, packaging… It was all new to me. I thought it was really important to fully understand the products I was going to sell. I studied chemistry at university and this scientific background was very useful. I discovered that there are no standards for pet toys, many of them especially plastic toys release toxic chemicals. This means they are both harmful for you and your pet. I was stunned. How is this possible? Why aren’t these products being checked? At this point I decided I would only stock safe and healthy products. I check all of the products and suppliers carefully. I’m really excited about the products I stock and will be sharing more details in future blogs. As someone who usually spends most of their day outdoors I am passionate about the environment and I try to stock products that are as green as possible. These ideas are the basis of Eco Pet Parcel, to provide customers with a parcel full of safe and healthy products for their pet which is also reassuringly environmentally friendly.

One of the first pre-made parcels (before the new shop name)

The shop began. I used my savings (a risky strategy as I now had no income) to buy stock from two suppliers. I spent days getting the website just right, I launched it and I had some sales! All of the hours of work had paid off. But there was more hard work to come and the shop now needed a new name. The shop was originally called the Happy Waggers & Sleepy Whiskers Shop but this was causing too much confusion and was too long for people to remember. It took me a long time to come up with a name that represented my shop and in the end it was so simple – Eco Pet Parcel. I also had to move the website onto a better platform, proud as I was off my original shop website it didn’t look professional and needed an upgrade. As someone who had never created websites, this has been a steep learning curve but I am so happy with the new website, it is easier to navigate and has lots of helpful features (which I will tell you about another time).

The home page of the new website

I have had some messages from customers who were concerned I was stopping all of my services and just running the shop from now on. Don’t worry I will not be stopping the services side of my business as I would miss all of the Happy Waggers & Sleepy Whiskers too much. I hope that once life ‘returns to normal’ the shop will run alongside my normal services. So far I am very much enjoying running the shop and if I’m honest I think I’ve needed the shop, it has given me a purpose. The best part is receiving photos and videos of your pets enjoying their parcels and reading reviews from happy customers.

Despite all of the struggles I have faced since the lockdown began, I feel incredibly lucky to have been safe at home throughout. I feel luckier still that my friends and family have not caught the virus. I am so grateful to all of the key workers who have continued to work in order to keep us all safe. I’ll write another blog soon. Stay safe everyone.

The two sides of my business:
Services: Happy Waggers & Sleepy Whiskers.
Shop: Eco Pet Parcel

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2 thoughts on “Adjusting to Life with Covid-19: the story behind Eco Pet Parcel

  1. Hi Lydia you’ve done an amazing job of starting your online shop alongside your walking/boarding etc. You should be proud of yourself and I know Willow can’t wait to have her walks with you again. Stay safe Diane and Willow ? x

    1. Hi Diane, Thank you so much. I can’t wait to see Willow, I bet she’s grown loads. I will hopefully see you both soon x

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