From a fun project to keep busy in lockdown to hundreds of thousands of households worldwide – the world’s first-ever edible dog card is taking the pet industry by storm.
Scoff Paper founder Gemma Connolly had no idea of the entrepreneurial path she was embarking on when she started experimenting with potato peelings in lockdown trying to make edible paper for her dog Loki.
Fast forward almost two years and the 37-year-old from Lancashire really is top dog – she has done deals with everyone from Pets at Home to John Lewis and now has enquiries coming in from all over the world.
“Dog lovers and their dogs just love the fun that Scoff Paper brings,” Gemma explained. “We are all about fun that we can have with our four-legged friends and I think that is something that’s really missing in the doggy world.”
And the products really do have more bite than bark with personalised edible cards for all occasions that are already winning the business award after award.
But the path to success hasn’t been plain sailing for Gemma. She was just 27 when she collapsed at work and was rushed to hospital, two days later she had her pacemaker fitted.
“I had a heart attack when I was in my twenties which was brought on from stress at work so ever since then I’ve always dreamt of working for myself and being able to live and work on my own terms,” she explained.
“I’ve always loved dogs, and having raised and trained 12 guide dog puppies, the doggies are
a huge part of my life.
“Because we only get a guide dog puppy for the first 12 months of their life, I always throw
lots of parties and celebrations for them. It was when I had a dog called Loki that I threw
him a birthday party and he tried to eat his card – at that point I had a bit of a brainwave
and – could I make cards that dogs can actually eat?”
Gemma and her partner and co-founder Matthew Fairhurst set about devising ways in which they could make edible cards a reality.
“We originally started experimenting with ingredients on the kitchen table not really imagining how far we could take it but I just had this feeling it could be something.
“After months and months of testing and trialling different methods, we were confident enough to go to local pet stores and see what they thought of our crazy idea.”
Gemma started selling the cards on Etsy and approached local pet stores and garden centres in her local town of Chorley to see if they wanted to stock them.
“It’s grown really organically week on week since then,” Gemma explained. “It’s amazing that within our first year of trading we are already working with the likes of Pets at Home and Clintons. I can’t quite believe it!
“We’ve recently gone international too, having visited our first trade show overseas,” she explained. “We’re having conversations with firms all over the world – from the USA to Australia. It’s amazing!”
It’s no surprise that Scoff Paper has already won pretty much every pet industry award for innovation and creativity, too. From Glee 2021 – Best New Product to Pet Industry Federation – Excellence in Innovation and BiBAs – New Business of the Year.
From starting on the kitchen table in lockdown with just 48 cards at a time, the company now has a two-floor, 10,000 sq ft unit where more than 20,000 cards leave the doors every month.
“It’s still very much a family-run business and that’s how we want it to stay. We really care about Scoff Paper, our products, our customers and of course, their dogs!”
All Scoff Paper products are made with natural ingredients as well as vegan and gluten, grain and wheat free. There’s also zero rawhide.
There is a choice of flavours – bacon, beef, cheese, chicken and peanut – or cards can be unflavoured if preferred, too.
Find out more and order yours at scoffpaper.com