You may have noticed that we were away at a Trade Show over the weekend 26-27 March. PATS (Pet and Aquatics Trade Show, we believe) is held twice a year – a spring show in Sandown, and the main show in Telford in October.
These shows are important to us for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we can meet suppliers face-to-face. There is nothing better than a good old natter with a chance to discuss past business and the future. Secondly, it’s an opportunity to meet potential new suppliers and to see new products coming onto the market.
As we live and trade from our narrowboat, our stock room is very “compact and bijou”! So our potential for expanding our range is obviously limited. However, we constantly review the items that we stock so that by dropping less popular lines we can add new ranges. A few suppliers offer “drop ship”. This is fantastic for us, as they send out the products direct so that we don’t have to stock them!
The Doggie Boat is a small family business, and we like to support similar suppliers wherever possible. Visiting a trade show is a great way to find these businesses! This was the first time we have been to the PATS Sandown Trade Show – previously we have visited the Telford show later in the year – which is a much bigger event, so we will probably be going there in October.
So here is a little run down (in no particular order) of the stands that interested us at the PATS Sandown Trade Show this year:
One of our newest suppliers, WufWuf is a small family business based in Richmond – not too far away from where we are at the moment! We stock their own-brand treats, toys and interactive feeder, and we can also get a few other third party items from them. Their treats have proved very popular, as they are a softer chew – perfect for smaller dogs or those less able to cope with harder bites. Our boys just love them because they are super tasty!
Pet Product Marketing
One of the trade publications, Pet Product Marketing is where we can read about new products and gain insight into everything doggies. They’ve asked us to write an article for them, as they were intrigued by our business model!
We are always on the lookout for new products, and the Pet’s Up stand attracted our attention. Well, to be fair, it was Loki & Ozzie who expressed the first interest! Their noses were inextricably drawn to the Collagen Chews, but then we spotted the Coffee Wood chews and were given a couple of samples. These are now being enjoyed by the boys on an ongoing basis, and they are proving very hardy. We have been asked for these in the past, so we have placed an order which should be coming in soon.
Now this was an exciting find! ProTrainings offer online training courses which we can sell through our website. Amongst other courses, they offer various qualifications in Pet First Aid. We will be working on adding these to our shop shortly.
James & Steel
Another supplier that was of interest was James & Steel, as they supply a good range of tough toys for dogs with powerful jaws! Solid 100% natural rubber, so environmentally friendly and sustainable. We have their price list and will be looking at stocking a small selection. Take a look at the catalogue on their website, and let us know if you see anything of interest.
We have had an account with Beco almost since we took over The Doggie Boat, although as yet we haven’t purchased anything from them. This is mainly because we prefer to support smaller suppliers, as well as the fact Beco products are readily available in most retail outlets. But we had a useful chat with them, especially about their environmental credentials, and will certainly consider stocking some of their products. Again, if there are any of their items you would buy from us, let us know.
A new start-up business that we first met at PATS Telford last year, PoochSnax have reinvented the Pig Ear. Whilst tasty and popular treats for our pets, the aromatic after-effects from a Pig Ear can be rather less enjoyable for the owners! The Porky Ear is an ear-shaped piece of pig skin that has been air-dried. They have been very well received by our customers and we look forward to a growing relationship with this supplier.
Now, this is the sort of supplier we like! Woolf Snacks state that they only supply independent retailers. They have an extensive range of healthy treats, so we will be looking further into their product range.
Another new range of Healthy Chews. NAW, from Sniffers Pet Care, these are pure air-dried treats. Something we may well look into at some point in the future.
Simply 2 Pet Products
This was a supplier we added to our portfolio after the 2022 PATS Trade Show in Telford. We were impressed with Simply 2 Pet Products ProFleece range of pet bedding, which is made to order and shipped direct. The circular stand bottom right is covered in ProFleece. We have had brilliant feedback from customers who have bought their product through us, so we know we made the right decision. They also act as a distributor for a number of other products which we may add to what we sell at some point. As you can see, we got a very warm welcome!
There’s something fishy going on here! Fish4Pets is a large, independent company which, unsurprisingly, specialises in fishy treats and dog food. Whilst we don’t have the space to stock the food, the extensive treats rangei s of interest to us, and another product range that we may consider stocking in the future.