As animal lovers, we have a lot of pets in our lives. There's not much that we love more than finding new, quirky, fun products for pets, so you can only imagine our excitement when we came across greetings cards for dogs that are EDIBLE! That's right, Scoff Paper make beautiful greetings cards for dogs that are entirely edible (and delicious). We just had to know more about this incredible brand and so we reached out the lovely Gemma, founder of Scoff Paper, to have a chat...
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m Gemma Connolly and I live in Lancashire. I’m the founder of Scoff
Paper – the world’s first natural, flavoured and totally rawhide free edible greeting cards for dogs!
How did Scoff Paper start life?
Scoff Paper started life as I was throwing a party for one of my dogs.
I undertake a voluntary role as a Puppy Raiser for Guide Dogs, so the dogs
we have are not with us for very long before they move on to their
advanced training and forever homes – I only usually get one birthday,
one gotcha day and if I’m really lucky, maybe one Christmas with each
So I really do go to town on any party I have for my doggies.
It was one such occasion, for Loki, a very handsome blond lab that we had
with us, it was his 2nd birthday party and I got him a personalised card and obviously I tried to get him to pose with his card and all his pressies.
In this picture you can see Loki posing, and around two seconds after this
photo was taken, he took a massive bite out of his card!
It was a bit of a Eureka moment for me and my partner Matthew, and from
there we kind of thought there must be something in the idea of a card
that dogs can actually eat?!
The more we thought about it, the more we thought that people buy
things like cards for their dogs, but the dog doesn’t really get to enjoy any of it – it’s pretty much all for the human.
So... from there we started devising wild and wonderful ideas as to how
we could make edible cards a real thing.
Matthew has a background in production and manufacture, so that helped
a lot, and the other inspirations came from us basically being massive dog
lovers and always wanting fun and healthy treats for our doggies.
Fast forward 18 months, and we’ve sold over 120,000 edible cards to lots
of happy dogs across the UK – so it looks like we’re not the only crazies
Do you have any pets of your own?
As I mentioned, I undertake a voluntary role as a Puppy Raiser for Guide
Dogs, so, we have the pups from 8 weeks to 12-15 months, we’ve had 13 so far and we’re currently foster Mum, Dad & big brother to Holly.
She’s a golden retriever and knows it!
I’ve volunteered for Guide Dogs for the Blind for 10 years now and I can honestly say that dogs have saved my life.
When I was in my late 20s, I was working in a very highly stressful job in an Advertising Agency and I ended up having a heart attack one day and next thing I knew – I was fitted with a pacemaker.
I realised then that I needed to reassess my life, so I turned away from the ultra-pressured job and turned to dogs.
And now, 10 years later, I’ve helped 13 dogs go on to help people with sight loss and I feel very proud of that.
Raising such highly trained dogs is obviously not easy, and people always ask me how I cope when the time comes for them to leave.
But, I always tell them that it’s ridiculously hard to see them go, and it never gets easier, but I do always remember the good that they do and that makes me feel happy... and then I get all excited when the next one comes to live with us!
We know you're a family run business, how is it working with your
nearest & dearest?
Working with my partner Matthew is fine... mostly.
I think sometimes he’s the only person who will put up with me, and I am definitely the only person that would put up with him.
In a business sense, we both bring such different things to this business. I’m very much the creative driver whereas Matthew is more of a logical thinker. We’re both very experienced in different sides of business and I think that’s what makes us tick a lot of the time.
The reality of running your own business is that you never ever switch off from work, so with us both being like that, we can often be found at around midnight with laptops out at the kitchen table trying to work out something or other.
Interestingly – as we’re both working so closely with the business – its funny how we’ll both get massively excited over weird things.
The last time we did this was when we found that we could use a particular colour of orange in our envelopes.
Weird, I know.
Scoff Paper is such a unique brand concept, did you face many challenges when creating your cards?
Like a million challenges a day.
As we invented this whole thing we had to be the manufacturers alongside the ones who devise the brand and conceptualised the product.
The manufacture process has gone from making 48 cards on our kitchen table (which took us about a week to do) to us now receiving orders for 48,000 cards.
Then you’ve got the flavouring process.
Then you’ve got the design process.
Then we had to get all kinds of tests done.
Then we moved to a snazzy new facility– which means all kinds of expensive tests and equipment.
Then we had to brand our product and create packaging – which means sourcing everything.
Then the branded packaging needs to be tested.
Oh yeah, and alongside all this, we made a website that can make custom cards.
We also scaled up production (pretty much on a weekly basis). Then after all that, we had to reach out to retailers, we had to do very expensive trade shows. Fill in forms till your arm falls off. And it just goes on and on and it never stops. We absolutely love it, but yeah, it’s got its challenges.
What is the most fun part about running Scoff Paper?
It’s got to be seeing the doggies eat the cards. When you’re so bogged down in all the work, it’s easy to forget that at the very end of all of that hard work, there is a dog and a human that are really pleased with something you’ve created. Whenever we get sent a new video of a dog scoffing our cards, we genuinely do stop the office from working and all watch. We really are in the business of packaging little bits of joy – and we all absolutely love that.
What has been your greatest achievement with your business?
To be honest, the whole business is our greatest achievement. We started 18 months ago with an idea that had never been thought of before and now we’re in pretty much every corner of the country. Not only that, but I’m even being asked to give talks at international pet industry trade shows, to talk about the innovation that Scoff Paper has brought to the world. When we started, we really thought we’d have done a good job if we got our cards into a few pet shops here and there, so go be stocked in Pets and Home, Pets Corner, Clintons Cards and over 200 independent UK pet retailers is way beyond our wildest dreams. Now, we’ve already established an excellent distribution network in Ireland and we’ll soon be available across mainland Europe, Australia, Asia and USA. It’s all one great big crazy achievement.
Do you have a favourite flavour & design?
So... our regular flavours are bacon, chicken, cheese and peanut butter... But we do have some seasonal ones that we have available for a limited time only. We do turkey flavoured cards for Christmas (obviously) and at Easter, we do a special chocolate flavour. I have to say that, during the chocolate flavouring process, our Scoffice can be awash with that smell of rich chocolatey goodness. It’s really good for curbing those cravings!
Where do you see the future for Scoff Paper?
We are working on Scoff Paper being available across many countries across the world. It’s not an easy thing to do and we are currently scaling to meet the demand. As it currently stands, our factory has the capacity to produce 3 million cards per year, and we are still growing. We are also working heavily on our technology to enable more and more customisable cards for the people who buy directly from scoffpaper.com. So the future is, more Scoff Paper cards, more designs and lots more happy doggies.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
We’ve always got new cards coming out and we’re continuously trying out tasty new flavours, so we’re always on the lookout for top taste testers, so if you would like your pooch to be a taster, then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The dogs need to be over 6 months old and based in the UK.
A huge thank you to Gemma for taking the time to chat with us! To learn more about Scoff Paper & to shop their amazing range of cards, you can visit their website.