A Derbyshire couple who started a creative business in their shed two years ago are so successful that they now employ ten people.
Jaqueline Hart, 47, and partner Lee Whittaker, 49, founded QT Products, a luxury personalized pet accessories company, in the summer of 2018.
It was founded after home mother Jaqueline started making small items in the family garden shed in Hilton.
In the meantime, the two of them have moved to the Hilton Industrial Estate and are currently looking for even larger premises for their constantly growing workshop.
The mother of a Jaqueline said, “It all really started when we needed a pet bed for our Boston Terrier Wilson that would fit in a specific area.
“We realized very quickly that if we couldn’t find one online, we had to do one ourselves.”
The couple then posted a picture of Wilson in his new dog bed on their private Facebook and received a flurry of requests from friends to do something similar for their pets.
Inquiries began to evolve into a variety of other accessories, such as custom size feeders, as each breed of dog requires a different size and shape.
Lee described the deal as a “rolling project” for the couple, with an ever-expanding range of products.
“A lot of people come to us looking for a dog bed that goes with the sofa.
“So usually they send us a picture and tell us the fabric and we’ll do our best to match it,” added Jaqueline.
Personalized dog beds start at € 59.99 and luxury embroidered cushions start at € 29.99.
In 2019 the company relocated to the Hilton industrial park and began adding an apprentice and a seamstress to its workforce.
In early 2020 they set up camp in a larger unit on the same property, and although production was initially slowed down by the pandemic, the company has recovered better than ever and the team now has another apprentice, carpenter, manufacturer, etc., a quality control specialist , Engraver and secretary.
According to Lee, they are now receiving at least 50 orders a day.
The company also seeks to support local artisans and works with Derby College to get its students into employment.
QT products was recently named Most Promising Startup by the East Staffordshire and South Derbyshire County Councils at the Business Awards on November 11th.
The category was rated according to aspects such as business innovation and opportunities and development.
Lee believes one of the reasons they received the award was because of their flexibility with their employees, many of whom have busy private lives and children to care for.
The organization is currently looking for an even larger building to expand its product range and order capacity.