A YOUNG entrepreneur is preparing to expand her business just nine months after opening her first store and before she even graduates from university.
Laura Dawson set up a dog clothing boutique, named Ziggy Chews after her two-year-old Jack Russell terrier Ziggy and also a play on the name of footwear designer Jimmy Choos, in Park View, Whitley Bay, last year.
And now the 21-year-old is preparing to open another shop in the same street as she believes she has identified a potential gap in the market.
The new premises, opposite her current store, will sell dog food and is expected to create up to four jobs.
Laura, studying business management at Sunderland University, said: “I feel I’m missing out.
“I don’t feel it’s right to sell food in my current shop, so hopefully the one across the road can increase footfall between the two and bring people into Whitley Bay, also encouraging shoppers to visit other shops in the town.
“The new shop is going to be a nutrition centre for dogs.
“Owners will be able to see what is in the food, and there will also be a chance for dogs to try before their owners buy.
“There is nothing worse than buying new food only for your dog to not like it.
“There will be a range of wet and dry dog food. There will be some food that will be exclusive and unavailable in other shops.
“The only reason I’m opening my second shop is that the demand is there.
“Owners realise that if they pay that little bit extra for better food, their dogs will be healthier and live longer.”
Laura, of Whitley Bay, is planning to take on another member of staff, an apprentice and potentially two Saturday workers.
She came up with the idea for Ziggy Chews as part of her university course, getting help from North Tyneside’s the Business Factory to get her concept off the ground and landing the enterprise agency’s Flying Sparks Award in the process.
“If I hadn’t have gone to university, I wouldn’t have had the business,” she added.
“My first year has gone better than I ever anticipated.”
Once Laura graduates from university, she is aiming to develop a website for Ziggy Chews. and increase the range of products in her stores.
Her new Ziggy Chews store opens at 10am tomorrow.