A groundbreaking pet retailer is focused on building even stronger relations with sustainable start-ups and innovative independent businesses.
PetPlace owners Sion Pritchard and Paul Penketh are targeting more bespoke suppliers and products designed to improve the health and wellbeing of animals, and fledgling firms looking to support the pet trade now and in the future.
The company, which is based in Kinmel Bay and has stores in Abergele, Ruthin, Mold, Llangefni and Chirk, already stocks many environmentally friendly items on its shelves but Sion says they plan to take things further in the months ahead.
“We are opening the doors to smaller, independent suppliers who specialise in the health and wellbeing of animals and want to be part of the pet industry,” he said.
“A lot of retail chains stock pet goods but without the emphasis on sustainability, the environment and creating innovative products that will make a difference to the pets, their owners and ultimately, the planet.
“We want to hear from the innovators, anyone with an idea that’s in motion or a start-up with an exciting new product that could cause a stir in the sector.
Sion added: “At PetPlace we are very different from the norm, we want to support the pet trade specifically and move forward together, away from the mass-market consumer approach to a more dedicated, proactive and tailored offering, ensuring our team members have as much knowledge as possible to share with our customers.”
Among the sustainable firms already working with Sion and the team is Adios Plastic, a Kent-based husband and wife partnership who launched their plastic-free biodegradable poo bag business in 2018.
Twenty million sales later, Ben and Sadie Dodd are aiming to continue the compostable theme with pet wipes manufactured in the UK that naturally break down into the environment and serve as food to be consumed by microorganisms.
Ben said: “When we started there were a lot of poo bags on the market and the vast majority were plastic, which can take hundreds of years to break down.
“We wanted to do something different and after a lot of research began producing bags made from Cornstarch. From that we developed a range of colours – including our popular rainbow packs – that stood out from the standard options available, and it took off from there.”
He added: “We began supplying PetPlace during the pandemic and love everything they stand for; they are a model customer and have really got behind our brand.
“We grew 600% during first year of lockdown and another 200% in the last year, passing the 20 million sales mark in the UK alone, which as well as being great for us as a company has had a big impact on the environment.
“People are switching from plastic and it’s having a knock-on effect, this is where the industry is going which is great to see and so important.”
Another to work closely with PetPlace over the last year is Gillian Thomas-Jones, owner of Mountain Garden Botanics, based in New Brighton, Wrexham.
Having already created handmade shampoo and soaps for pets and humans – all palm oil, cruelty and plastic-free – she is using raw ingredients to create unique lines including an anti-pecking spray for chickens, and a calming mist for dogs and horses.
“It has been a steep learning curve, working long hours to develop the branding, a website, coming up with new ideas and doing all of that while ensuring this is a completely natural series of products with natural packaging,” said Gillian.
“With the support of customers like PetPlace, who are a breath of fresh air, we can work together to manufacture and supply products dedicated to the health and happiness of animals and their owners, which will always be our number one priority.”