An innovative business launched in 2010 after a ‘eureka’ moment is now hoping to reach £10 million turnover by around 2020 after almost doubling staff levels.
PetshopBowl, the brainchild of Stratford-based entrepreneurs Adam and Lexi Taylor, came about after a period of struggle for the couple following Adam’s redundancy from global financial services firm Lehman Brothers, which collapsed in 2008.
Adam, a graduate of the University of Warwick, discovered his true calling while in-between jobs and living back with his parents, after trying to find ways to make shopping for pet food easier for his mother.
This led him to take his idea for an e-commerce platform for pet food subscriptions to the team at the University of Warwick Science Park’s Ignite programme, which helps start-ups with growth potential gain access to advice and access to cost effective offices.
Adam and Lexi are also receiving help from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Hub, who have assisted the business in identifying appropriate funded grants and business support, and making contacts across the region.
Now, the couple are thriving after a recent move from an 8,000 sq ft site on Hatton Rock to 40,000 sq ft premises on Masons Road, Stratford-upon-Avon, where they have created jobs, are hopeful of securing a major grant to refurbish the site and have also welcomed their first daughter, 10 week old Ella, to the team.
Their continued growth is being aided by another business programme through the University of Warwick Science Park, called Business Ready. This support has been instrumental for PetshopBowl realise their growth ambitions, more than quadrupling in size.
Adam said: “It has been an incredible journey and we really did start from nothing.
“We were living in London when the idea first formed and I was literally going to homes directly on my old Vespa scooter to deliver our orders.
“I looked everywhere for a website where you could get pet food delivered to you and there just wasn’t anything, it felt like such a gap in the market – that was my eureka moment.
“I went to the team at the University of Warwick Science Park, who have been absolutely incredible, they helped us get off the ground and turn this vision into a reality.
“In the early days the subscription service, called Bottomless Bowl, was our unique selling point, but we do so much more now.”
The relocation of PetshopBowl has seen warehouse staff numbers double from 7 to 14, while the office team has grown from 7 to 10.
Adam said: “Things are progressing perfectly for us at the moment and in truth the move was a long time coming, we have been ready to expand for a while.
“As we get bigger, we want to be able to maintain that personal customer service touch that we pride ourselves on.
“We have a great audience and more than 150,000 likes on Facebook.
“We have started putting updates from our baby Ella in our newsletters and they go over really well with customers, it is touches like that which help to build our relationship.”
Since its start PetshopBowl’s growth has been watched over and supported by Dirk Schafer, business mentor with the University of Warwick Science Park.
He said: “We are proud to have been part of PetshopBowl’s success story since the beginning and to be a catalyst for their growth.
“Adam and Lexi are very knowledgeable and I am delighted they made this venture a success. However, like any other growing business, they were facing challenges which required them to constantly reinvent themselves. This very often requires a skillset that isn’t available in a business. Because of that it was crucial for them to get external support.
“Through Business Ready, we are currently working on securing a rural development grant to help improve their new facilities. This will help them reach their very ambitious targets as well as improve productivity.”
Phil Peak, who has assisted the business on behalf of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Hub, said: “Our aim is always to open the eyes of new business owners like Adam and Lexi as to what opportunities are available to them.
“We have a long lasting relationship with them and personally it has been a delight to see their growth over the years.”
Business Ready is delivered by the University of Warwick Science Park and is part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council.