Back last year in the chill of January I launched Poodles and Pompadours, a vintage inspired pet care brand with a twist. We specialise in designing and making all of our products by hand, with a 1950s theme. The idea for my brand came when I couldn’t find outfits for my dogs that matched my own personal style either in retail pet shops or online. So, I decided to design my own – luckily, years of hand sewing clothes for my Barbie doll as a child came in handy! Soon I was being stopped on dog walks and asked where I got my pets’ harnesses from, so I decided to start Poodles and Pompadours.
Right from the start I loved being independent. Being self-employed enabled me to work where, when and how I want. I manage my own time so I get to spend as much time with my dogs as possible.
Since winning the Vodafone 4G competition, my 4G mobile and tablet has freed me up to work more flexibly through being connected to my customers on the move. For me a typical day running Poodles and Pompadours starts early. The first thing I usually do is my admin work, checking my emails and phone messages, social media sites and website orders. Then I’ll start making the orders and packaging them up. I leave my office in the afternoon to do activities like researching new products, ideas and designs in a different setting, like a coffee shop.
Technology plays a huge role for my company and my business wouldn’t exist without the Internet. As an online business, I am attached to my smartphone, laptop or tablet 24-hours a day. They help keep me on top of what’s going on, as things can change in a heartbeat. Because of the nature of pets (and their owners) I’m constantly out and about walking the dogs and posting orders, so it’s vital for me to be able to work flexibly and able to keep track of orders on the move.
Before 4G it would take me a lot longer to process my orders and a lot longer to upload images of my designs to my website and social media channels. With 4G everything is just so much faster. It makes my life much easier as there is no waiting around for things to load. If I need a piece of information I can get it instantly. Vodafone 4G has saved me so much time and just makes my working day so much more efficient.
The competition gave me the latest addition to my business, a 4G connected tablet. It’s light and compact, so fits neatly in my handbag and I can access my work whenever or wherever I need to. I’ve also had a chance to try out Vodafone One Net and it’s brilliant! It’s enabled me to have a landline phone number that rings straight to my mobile phone. It makes my business look much more professional, allowing me to be in touch with my customers when I’m out and about and it’s so easy to use.
Looking forward, this year I’m hopeful we’ll win some more Small Business awards (we have 3 already!) to add to our trophy cabinet. I’m also currently in training to become a fully qualified dog groomer so we are expanding our services and adding pet grooming to our list. Our grooming parlour opens in May this year so we are very excited about that. With these exciting future plans in mind, Vodafone 4G is going to allow me to stay ahead of the competition by keeping up with my customers and trends. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2014/15 brings Poodles and Pompadours.