This week I’m delighted to introduce Elaine, the founder of In Your Dog House Gifts to my Parents in Business series. In Your Dog House Gifts is a stunning online store where you can buy dog themed gifts for your home and accessories for your dog, all of which are made by British designers. Do have a look at Elaine’s website as there are loads of beautiful products here!
Elaine set up the business to spend more time with her children, and it was inspired by her westie. One of her greatest successes is getting the website on the first page of the Google search ranking, which I know is hugely important if you’re an online business. I would love for you to have a read of Elaine’s story and how leaving the housework is ok….
Tell me a little bit about you, your background, and your business?
I used to run an events management company that needed me 24/7. When the children came along they also needed me 24/7. We’d spent years trying to have a family so I decided to sell the business in order to spend more time with them.
I also did voluntary work to develop employability skills in young people in order to give them the confidence to achieve. It was through working with them that I took the plunge to set up In Your Dog House Gifts as a side hustle alongside a part-time job I now had at a university. I was able to offer paid internships to a number of students in order to develop their digital marketing skills and together we have learnt loads.
In Your Dog House Gifts is an online marketplace for British designers of quality dog themed gifts and dog accessories. Our profits support the Great Dog Walk Together initiative – finding more ways for people to enjoy the company of dogs to promote wellbeing.
What were your motivations for setting up your business?
Rupert my westie is my inspiration. When you own a dog you receive lots of doggie presents. There are some very stylish dog themed products made by small independent British designers. I thought it would be great to have them all in one place, making them easier to find by breed and product type.
I thrive on making things happen. Although I had run an events business for over 20 years and enjoyed marketing my strength wasn’t digital marketing. I didn’t realise how tough being found online was going to be and the technical search engine optimisation expertise you need to have in order to succeed.
How do you balance the business around your family and childcare?
It’s all about juggling. It’s relentless! My working day like most parents starts early and finishes late (no time to watch telly) so that I have time in the day to spend with my family. I also manage to grab a few hours at the weekend before the children get up. Being home-based is fantastic as I’m around when the children come home from school and during the holidays.
What do you view as your biggest success since setting up your business?
We’ve managed to get IYDHG to appear on first page of Google without paid for advertising so hopefully more people will find out about us. That takes a huge amount of effort. Lots more designers now want to come on board as they love the business concept. Online businesses take time to grow and be seen so I’m in it for the long haul.
What are your top tips for anyone who is thinking about setting up their own business?
You need to be very driven, disciplined, self motivated and well organised to run your own business. I write lists at the end of each day of things to do the next day, which I always try to complete. It’s mostly the housework that gets ignored however the westie always get walked!
Thank you so much Elaine for being part of my series. I have loved featuring you and I wish you the best of luck with In The Dog House Gifts in the future.
If you like what you’re reading and would love to be part of my Parents in Business series just drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or have a nose at some of the other businesses I have featured in the series: Munchy Play, Organised by Charlotte, and Raymont-Osman.