From dog owner to dog shop business owner… a tale of two passions
An Edinburgh entrepreneur has taken his love of dogs to a new level with ambitious plans to open five ‘Ruff It’ stores across Scotland over the next five years.
Dog owner Chris Wood is set to open his first Ruff It store selling canine products in Morningside on December 1 and already has designs on four others.
He has self-funded the venture with £20,000 start-up capital from the sale of his property letting business, Woodstar Properties.
Wood anticipates his first shop to turn over £90,000 in its first year and create sales just short of £1 million from across all five stores by 2021.
He said: “Two years ago, I launched ruff-it.co.uk, my online dog accessory store, designed as a great resource for dog owners to buy products they actually need for their beloved four-legged friends. We provide incredible customer service, illustrated by our five-star reviews on TrustPilot and we work hard to maintain this and provide dog owners with stylish, high-quality products that are durable and represent great value for money.
“However, we decided having ‘real’ retail shops across Scotland was the way forward in building our business. We will provide the same, exceptional levels of customer service as our online business, but now we can offer this face to face, which I think is key. Our aim is to do more than merely provide high-quality products and produce in a stylish shop for our canine friends. We want to create a real community for dog owners across our shops and online; providing a comfortable space to shop, learn and discuss all things dog related with our very friendly and knowledgeable staff.
“We believe we’ll be able to provide dog owners with much more than any other retailer, in terms of our variety of products instore coupled with online. And with our 100% customer/dog orientated approach to service and advice, we hope to become the ‘leader of the pack’ in Scotland’s dog retail market.”
Ruff It’s new Morningside shop will stock a wide range of premium dog food (with gluten and grain free options), organic treats, beds, grooming supplies, first aid items, collars and leads through to niche activity products.
It will be the only store in Edinburgh where dog owners can buy a full range of Canicross equipment (Canicross is the sport of running off-road with your dog – the owner wears a waist belt which attaches via a bungee line to a padded dog harness).
Ruff It will also be the only store selling canine life jackets and will be the only UK retailer to stock the Ruffit USA Dog Carrier.
There will be devices in-store to allow customers to browse and buy Ruff It’s other products, such as its range of Ruffwear outdoor gear for hiking and camping, Kurgo travel supplies and coats for winter, online.
Ruff It’s official launch will be on December 5, with an opportunity for customers to meet the team, have a professional, festive themed photo taken of their best, four-legged friend and enjoy some nibbles and mulled wine between 10am and 4pm.