Readers may or may not know that Blue Patch HQ is graced with the presence of our mascot Mole, a small dachshund who spends most of her time snoring under a bundle of blankets next to the fire… not much of a mascot, but she’ll do! Not a day goes by without one of us taking photos of her for Instagram, figuring out her platypus roots, or discovering how much she hates frogs from the pond. She really is part of the Blue Patch team. We love Berkeley Dog Beds for giving these four legged family members the comfort and support they need with a bed that lasts, and for making them right here in Britain!
Why I do what I do:
Having had a long career in international business I finally plucked up the courage in 2014 to start a completely new and totally different venture. We have owned working Labradors for over 30 years. It seemed a logical choice to try to build a small business linked to a hobby about which we felt passionate. The idea for Berkeley Dog Beds came about after many years of frustration in never being able to find a decent dog bed for our own dogs. Our product range now features a unique Waterproof Orthopaedic Mattress with pocket springs, a lightweight Raised Bed and a Wooden Bed Frame hand made in solid oak.
Where I do it:
I’m really fortunate in being able to work from home in the beautiful village of Wherwell in Hampshire surrounded on all sides by the River Test. We have an office and storage facility at home but we work closely with a network of craftsmen and suppliers located all over the UK. It took ages to build up such a team and each is an expert in their own field and they have been invaluable in providing design imput and product development ideas. We only use British suppliers and craftsmen. In this way we can completely control quality and if anything does go wrng we can fix it quickly. Similarly, we love to work with natural materials as much as is viably possible. So wool, heavy duty cotton, recycled steel and timber from sustainable sources feature extensively in our products.
What drives me on:
The dog bed market is very conservative with little product development and innovation and everything seems driven by cheap imports and the desire to produce to a low price point regardless of whether the product actually performs the task it is meant to fulfil. As dogs are increasingly perceived as a key part of the family unit we felt that there was a real opportunity to develop a new and really useful niche product range. So we set about writing down what features we wanted in an ideal bed and then researching the market to see how we could meet the criteria on our checklist. It sounds simple enough but it took a huge amount of time and effort to get things to the point where we tested the very first prototypes on our own dogs.
What I’m working on next:
We’re still a relatively new company so our emphasis for the moment is to continue to build our brand, reputation and customer base. We will introduce some more fabric choices as limited editions later this year but we are confident that we now have an excellent product line-up and we’re receiving some excellent customer feedback which is really reassuring. We’re totally passionate about dogs but we are also business people. We want to build our brand by doing things right and by making quality products that really work and ultimately represent great value for money.
Blue Patch is Britain’s sustainable marketplace. We’re on the look out for potential businesses to become members. If you would like to come on board please contact the team, we’d love to hear from you.