Dog owner has turned her passion for her pooch into successful business

A dog owner from Gloucestershire has turned her passion for her pooch into a successful business which specialises in selling pet accessories and matching items for owners.

With his soulful expression and sweet nature, Buddy the ‘Jug’ immediately captured Nomi Nellen’s heart. What she didn’t realise was that her new-found friend – a pug/Jack Russell terrier-cross – was also going to inspire a new business.

In 2021, Nomi, 25, launched The Neutral Dog Company, which sells a range of pet accessories, including step-in harnesses, with matching items for owners. For all his confidence, Buddy, now aged four, doesn’t like over-the-head harnesses, so Nomi began to develop a more user-friendly option for her beloved pooch.

But she didn’t stop there. She started to craft accessories for herself, so she could match with her beloved companion.

The eye-catching designs soon became popular with other dog owners and Nomi began selling harnesses and other accessories online, slowly expanding into making more matching items like bows and scrunchies.

Last year, Nomi applied for a £5,000 Start Up Loan from British Business Bank partner BizBritain to increase The Neutral Dog Company’s range to allow her to trade at dog shows and events across the country.

“The money was exactly the boost that I needed,” said Nomi, who lives in Cheltenham. “It’s given me the upfront investment that I needed and inspired me to do more events.”

Nomi applied for the Start Up Loan after a stint as a stallholder at the prestigious Crufts dog show.

“Up until then, I hadn’t really done any events and it was a real turning point,” said Nomi. “I realised I needed to expand my sizes and pattern range. I also knew I needed to do more events and invested in a gazebo, as well as more stock.

“I used the loan to be able to afford to manufacture more sizes and different products, like leads and collars.”

Having the financial backing in place meant Nomi has taken the lead and grown her business to a point where she can see it becoming a full-time occupation. At the moment, she combines running The Neutral Dog Company with her day job working at the head office of a clothing firm in Cheltenham. It often means coming home from a 9 to 5 shift and then spending her evenings sorting stock and orders.

She also uses her creative skills to sew all the matching items in the accessories range, including doggy bows.

“Sleep is overrated anyway,” said Nomi. “I absolutely love what I’m doing and I’m learning so much along the way. “To see The Neutral Dog Company start from something so small and get bigger each year has been so exciting.

“I wouldn’t have been in a position to expand at the time I did without the Start Up Loan and BizBritain’s support. It’s scary and stressful, of course it is, but you’re taking the next step. I want to build a life for myself doing something I’m passionate about and this has helped me, no doubt about it.”

“Buddy is doing really well,” said Nomi, adding that he’s since been joined by cavapoo, Rosie, now aged one. “I love them to pieces!” said Nomi.

The pair make a pretty glamorous modelling team, showcasing The Neutral Dog Company’s ‘dog walkwear’ and matching accessories. The colours and patterns are monochromes, neutrals and pinks, hence the company name.


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