Young entrepreneur and dog lover Daisy Morley tells Shelley Carter why her pet pooch inspired a eureka moment and how she plans to grow her empire
Like many graduates, Daisy Morley spent time contemplating what on earth to do next, usually with her beloved Maltese dog Topsy by her side which was a graduating present from mum and dad. The cute canine proved a bigger hit than her parents could ever have hoped, as it was Topsy who inspired Daisy’s next bold and unexpected move – a high end pet boutique in Harborne. People are potty about their animals and given the glut of celebrities papped with pets that look as styled as their owners, it’s probably a shrewd move. It doesn’t seem to be a trend that’s on the wane. Far from it and the high-end pieces that Daisy specialises in cannot be found in your average pet store, so she could be onto a winner.
Running a business wasn’t something Daisy knew anything about, but she has bags of energy and the fearlessness of youth as well as a tight knit supportive family. Her mum does the books, sister helps out in the shop and dad looks at the technical side of things at Topsy’s. “It was quite random and nothing to do with my degree or work experience, but I had this idea, talked to my parents about it and they said ‘sounds good go for it’ so I did!” said Daisy. With a degree in Community and Theatre Arts and a stint in marketing and promotions at Red Bull, Topsy’s Pet Boutique really did come from nowhere, but once the decision was made Daisy didn’t hang about. She registered the business and started looking for premises almost immediately plus she started networking – a dreaded thing to do even at 40, but pretty daunting at just 21. She’s clearly good at it because after one networking lunch in Harborne where she explained her need for retail space, she came up trumps and was introduced to the perfect shop in the perfect spot. Daisy snapped it up and the hard work began. The boutique is now two years old and it’s been ‘up and down’. “Year one was a bit of a learning curve where everything was a first and there was so much to consider. Now we’re in year two I can see a pattern – so for instance I know that school holidays are quiet, Christmas is crazy and so on,” said Daisy. With the foresight to sub-let part of the premises to a dog groomer, Daisy strengthened the shop’s offering and encouraged more footfall. “It works really well. It’s a big space, so there was enough room to create a special dog grooming area as well as the retail space,” said Daisy.
Marketing the business has been harder than Daisy thought given she’d had some experience of it, but she’s very active on social media which as you’d expect is a pet lover’s dream with cute photos of Topsy sometimes modelling the stock. Daisy certainly isn’t work shy and in addition to running the business, she child minds for an energetic one-year-old on a Monday, so she is working six days a week currently. While a proper holiday last year was out of the question, she’s allowing herself a week off with ‘the girls’ this year and leaving mum and sister in charge. Daisy’s future plans are ambitious but realistic when you consider her get-up-and-go and ability to make things happen. “Although the shop is the core business, I’d like to improve the website to attract more customers and also push online sales. I’d also like to be in a position to employ a Saturday girl,” said Daisy, “And who knows when Topsy’s really takes off maybe a second shop.”