Bertie and Bella’s is an online boutique selling British-made gifts, packages and accessories for dogs. Founder Lisa Lines tells us more.
Here’s your elevator pitch: describe your business to me and tell me why others should work with you!
Bertie & Bella’s Canine Boutique is all about providing products for the modern day lifestyle. Essential and fun packages optimise the shoppers’ time, while the emphasis on British made products and handcrafted gifts offers unique shopper experiences which are good for the UK economy and environment.
Others should work with us as we are a brand true to our values, and with my background experience as a veterinary nurse I aim to help by providing fun and educational content. I have big dreams and great ideas to keep animals, especially dogs, at the top of the list for mankind’s best friend.
How long have you been in your line of work? How did you discover your passion?
I qualified as a veterinary nurse in 2002 and have been working in the veterinary industry ever since. I have undertaken many roles including dispensary manager, veterinary pharmaceutical product manager and clinical marketing manager.
In the last year I decided to take on the challenge of setting up my own business to offer an engaging and supportive service, and provide products and services that people require in today’s society. I discovered my passion for animals in my childhood, having been fortunate enough to have a family who loved anything on four legs. We had a mix of species and all of them seemed to have been rescued in one way or another. The passion to care for something is greater than anything and animals give so much back. Doing something you enjoy is priceless.
What’s the biggest challenge facing your industry today?
There are a multitude of challenges in the pet industry today; online retail and services for example have a huge impact on businesses’ bottom line. However, perhaps most critical is housing infrastructure. The increase in apartment block builds and living expenses dictates whether people can have a pet or not, and the type. We have noticed a big change, for example smaller dog breeds are now more popular, so it is important for the industry to cater for economic changes. If we can be ahead of this and support people by providing the correct tools and information, then we are offering a service, making sure everyone is winning at life.
How has the industry changed since you first started?
As a veterinary nurse, the vet industry duty of care has progressed with the equipment and specialist services we now have available, which is incredible. New research has provided life-saving techniques and longevity. The pet is very much part of the family.
The pet industry, like everything else, has become more business-like; it’s all about marketing and keeping up with the Joneses! But one step further, you need to offer a unique positioning to gain clients, otherwise it’s all down to price!
What would you tell your 18-year-old self?
Wow! I sometimes wish I was 18 again, although I couldn’t go through all the hangovers! The fun nights with friends I definitely wouldn’t change, or the travel destinations I have been lucky enough to visit, as these have provided me with skills and experiences to meet challenges today, such as the ability to adapt and work in any situation.
I would however tell myself to save and not dip into that saving pot until I knew that I was really ready to use the money wisely for investment. To set my business up I have sold my house and invested my own money. It’s a risk but one I am willing to take; if you have passion you will have the determination to see it through to the end and strive to believe in success. I would tell myself, if you start saving when you start work, then you’ll be on the way to starting something when you decide you want to, whatever it may be. Just £50 per month (maybe one less cocktail every Friday and Saturday night!!) can really make the difference.
Three guests are coming for dinner, living or dead. Who do you invite and why?
Sir David Attenborough is a must-have guest. His wealth of knowledge, life experience and stories would be electric at the dinner table.
Marilyn Monroe for her courage and natural beauty; her stories would be told with passion, lighting up the room.
Olly Murs because I just have a thing for the cheeky chap, plus his sister was a veterinary nurse!
What should we be getting excited about for Bertie and Bella’s?
Bertie & Bella’s are increasing their product line and introducing some new branded items later in the year. We have some fantastic blogs and competitions in the pipeline, plus we are planning on attending some dog shows around the UK with a lot more to come next year. Stay tuned at on our website!