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Brand Spotlight: Collar Club

I am very excited that Collar Club is joining the Scruffy Little Terrier family, with a range of Collar Club’s own 100% natural dog treats.

I first came across the Collar Club, on social media (yes, OK it was Instagram!) after seeing lots of dog owners opening their Collar Club monthly subscription box (you may have seen mine if you have followed me for a while). In one of the boxes we received were the Collar Club Chicken Hearties treats and the dogs went crazy for them! I knew I had to include the Collar Club natural dog treats on the website so your dogs can go crazy for them too!

The Collar Club was created by Jo, alongside her dog, Winston her trusty Quality Control Manager (very important role!). The Collar Club came about after Jo rehomed Winston, who wasn’t in the greatest of health. He had a bad coat, flaky skin and his tummy well, was not the best!

Jo spent a lot of time researching the most natural treats and brands, that shared her values (and ours) when it comes to honest, natural products that don’t cost the earth. And so, the Collar Club was born.

After chatting with Jo, I chose her own brand natural dog treats for the website, as I believe they are a great fit for our Scruffy Little Terrier family.

“You won’t find anything on the website

that I wouldn’t give to the dogs, or use myself.”

michelle ~ scruffy little terrier

I thought I’d share our conversation with you, so you can find out more about Collar Club and the range of natural dog treats.

A Conversation With Jo, Owner of Collar Club

Tell us a bit about you, Jo? 

Hi Michelle! So I am Jo and I run Collar Club, the eco-friendly subscription box for dogs. I am passionate about many things, (dogs and sustainability being the two biggest things 😊) and I spend most of my time either crusading as part of my day job, and by night, selling dog products! When I’m not engaged in either of these two things, I can be found doing jigsaws, knitting or walking my pooch, Winston. 

Lady with red hair and blue striped top

How did you get the idea for the Collar Club?

A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to start my own venture so that, in the near future, I could look to move back closer to home (Devon) without the restrictions of a fixed location that usually comes with a 9-5 role. However, my day job working within ethics and sustainability was always going to heavily influence my choice of “side hustle”. I knew that these two things had to be at its core.

I originally wanted to do a beauty subscription box, however, I was stuck between which market to choose – vegan, organic, 100% natural, there were so many choices and each one seemed to have serious limitations. During this business planning stage, we got Winston (my collie dog) and I spent a huge amount of time researching quality treat and toy brands for him. That’s when the idea hit me… What about a subscription box, for dogs? (what a great idea, hey? Michelle)

I looked and there wasn’t many out there, especially none that were focused on ethical and sustainable products and I thought – this is it!

Jo owner of Collar Club with her dog Winston

What was your plan for the business at the beginning and has it changed?

The business plan has always been to grow Collar Club naturally. To integrate ethics into the business plan, and be as eco-conscious as possible in everything we do.  All of our own packaging, for example, is completely plastic-free, and we subsidise our “Collars for Shelters” programme with a small percentage of the profits from each month’s boxes. I wanted a business that invested back in itself, and it’s supply chains, to ensure longevity going forward. This means that growth is slow, but steady, and is quite different from that of other subscription box businesses!

I have recently diversified to start selling our plastic-free range of treats on a wholesale basis. They encompass everything that I strive for when sourcing a product. Full traceability from farm to pack (both the packaging and your dog pack!) and are packaged in compostable packaging (these are now available on our website, yay! Michelle)

What do you attribute your success to?

Oh wow! It’s so amazing to be called a success. I think I need to let that sink in for a second! 😃 I would say that my determined nature definitely has something to do with it – and the end goal of having freedom to run my business from anywhere is a definite driver. Fortunately consumer awareness around eco-conscious products, and becoming more sustainable, has really started to pick up now and I hope this will continue over the coming years.

What is unique about the Collar Club?

As I mentioned previously, our ethos is solely built on sustainability. This is really important and I think that shines through in both Collar Club’s actions, and products.

One thing that most people ask is “Why are you called Collar Club when you don’t sell Collars?” Well, the name came from our social project, “Collars for Shelters“. Whereby we take a percentage of our profits to buy and make colourful collars which we donate to rescue. The hope is that these collars draw people’s attention to pooches that have been in shelters for a long time.

Woman cuddling a dog, dog's head on her shoulder

What other products do you sell?

Our main venture is our subscription boxes which contain a whole host of eco-friendly goodies! Each box contains a toy, a chew, a variety of treats and some eco-friendly accessories such as dog grooming products.

Each monthly box is different with the aim of introducing our customers to new brands and products. We try to include new independent brands as much as possible, and it is great that so many are new companies that are popping up with sustainability at their core.

Can you remember the first time you thought ‘Wow’ about your business?

I think when I did last Christmas’s boxes – I really went WOW. Mostly because I couldn’t see any of the walls or the floor in my dining room! When I started I only had 11 subscribers, so to see that many boxes in one place was overwhelming – but in a good way! I think the next wow moment will be when I get to a particular number of subscribers 😉

What do you do to relax?

As most dog people do, I love spending time with my dog! Winston is a great walking buddy (when he’s not chasing squirrels…) and has really provided a great companion over these past few months. I also really enjoy gardening, well vegetable growing, and can often be found tending to my veg in the garden. Winston usually comes out with me and is quite good at keeping the pigeons at bay. I also am quite crafty and love to knit and sew so have been doing quite a lot of these activities too recently. 

Black and white dog sitting next to a lady's legs in boots

Is community and sustainability something that is important to the Collar Club?

Absolutely! It is something that we strive for in every aspect of our business. From our packaging, to the sourcing of new products, to business incentives – there is always one eye on how we can improve both the impact on the environment, and increased traceability.

One of the things that I have noticed as part of my day job is that the term greenwashing (making their business sound greener than it is) is often banded around and can be quite intimidating to small businesses.

It’s really important to not tar small businesses, that don’t have huge budgets, or whole teams of people dedicated to sustainability, with this brush. Small changes collective can make a huge difference, and I think it’s really important to embrace those changes where we can! 

What’s the best bit about the Collar Club? Is there anything you would change, if you could?

The best bit is meeting both business owners and customers. I have made some amazing friends through small business groups running Collar Club which is a huge help when running a business, it can be a bit lonely sometimes.

It’s been such a shame that lots of our events have been cancelled this year (2020 Covid 19), but hopefully can get back on the road and meet some of our customers over the Christmas season.

One thing that I would look to improve is the range of own-label products. I would love to have my own range of sustainable toys and I think this is the plan for 2021. (Wow! We will watch with anticipation as we struggle to find sustainable, terrier proof toys! Michelle.)

4 Bags of Collar Club treats

Collar Club and Scruffy Little Terrier

You can find Collar Club natural dog treats our website, under ‘For Dogs’, we’re sure you will find your dog’s next favourite treats, every dog is going to love these treats!

We hope you agree that Collar Club is a great addition to Scruffy Little Terrier, I am very proud to have Collar Club on board and can’t wait to see what Jo comes up with next for sustainability, natural, eco-friendly dog products. More treats or new toys?

woofs & licks signature from Michelle Barney & Sandy

Pinterest image for Collar Club blog

2 Comments

  1. Jo

    Thank you so much for including us, and still shocked at being asked to be interviewed! Jo x

    Reply
    • Michelle

      What a great interview it was too, really interesting and can’t wait to hear more about what’s happening in the future! :o)

      Reply

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