We recently launched some new pet tags, meaning you can now get a Hiro + Wolf pet tag in ALL of our designs! Our original pet tags are made for us by another local business - Hoobynoo. They are a wonderfully creative business, making unique gifts for pets and people. We recently sat down with business owner, Chiara, to learn more about how Hoobynoo started and what Chiara and her team love most about what they do.
Tell us a little about yourself!
My name is Chiara, I started Hoobynoo back in 2012, I am originally a Graphic Designer, but I've always loved the idea of having my own business, even since I was a kid :)
What inspired you to start Hoobynoo and is there a story behind the name?
Hoobynoo is actually my third business, I started it when I was pregnant with our second child, I wanted to create a job for myself that was more flexible in terms of working hours and could fit around family life better.
It was originally Hoobynoo World as we started our product range with cute acrylic animal character jewellery that each came with their own little story, I wanted something cutesy and my husband is a children's author so we just made something up :)
We ended up making tags when our own dog needed a new one and we decided to use one of the characters on a tag. We would get so many compliments when out walking him that we decided to launch them as a product. My husband joined the company after a year or so when I could no longer manage on my own and my Mother in law comes in when there are too many orders for us to pack ourselves.
Phoebe joined back in 2017 as part of the design team and we haven't looked back since :)
What is the process like for producing a tag?
In terms of design, we try to launch new designs once a month, so we will have a brainstorming session to decide on a new theme. Then we will create some rough ideas, Phoebe and I will work on these together then we might ask our social media followers to vote for their favourites. We manufacture everything in house and photograph everything in house as well as we want to ensure the very best quality and customer satisfaction is very important to us.
What is your favourite Hiro + Wolf pet tag design?
Can you tell us about your own pets?
Sadly our dog Jake passed away a couple of years ago, we haven't felt ready to get another dog just yet so we now have Guinea Pigs, which the whole family love to death. I even asked my Dad to build them a huge two-story deluxe Guinea Pig hutch for my birthday the year before last. Barbara sadly lost her dog Kye a year ago as well and now has a beautiful Romanian rescue dog Kovu, who has modelled for us on occasion. Phoebe has a horse called Tia and a Shetland Sheepdog called Robbie, so we have quite a variety of pets :)
What do you love most about running your own business?
I love the flexibility it gives me with my home life, I love to come up with new ideas and we get really excited the first time a newly launched product sells, I think running your own business can be very challenging at times but also very rewarding, especially now we are at the stage where we can employ other people, the fact that we have created a livelihood for others as well as ourselves makes me feel very proud.
How has Covid changed your business and what challenges have you had to overcome?
It was very scary in the beginning as we thought that might be it, but as we are an online business sales have been consistent which was a huge relief. During the first lockdown we moved back to working from home, with Phoebe working remotely. This was extremely difficult as we were also trying to homeschool our two children. We came back into the office from the 1st of June and David stayed at home to carry on the homeschooling. We are lucky in that we have a pretty large space so we can all social distance without too much issue.
We had some problems over Christmas as Royal Mail was understandably feeling the strain and some items were taking up to 10 working days to arrive 1st class, so that was tricky but our customers were very understanding about everything so it wasn't too much of an issue.
A huge thank you to Chiara for taking the time to chat with us, and to the whole Hoobynoo team for their wonderful work. You can shop our full range of pet tags here, including the newly added designs!