Normanton-on-Trent business owners Amy and Gareth Fox began their business, The Canine Directory in January 2019. After working in Marketing for over 11 years, Amy felt ready for a new challenge; as huge dog lovers, their new business idea seemed like the perfect combination of their passion for dogs and Amy’s marketing skills. We spoke to Amy recently who told us more about their start-up journey.

Can you tell us a little bit about your business, The Canine Directory?

The Canine Directory is an online directory that promotes all things dog-friendly. We aim to support local and national dog-related businesses to connect with and promote their businesses to dog owners across the UK. We also provide an online shop for users to purchase a whole host of doggy products. We also offer a marketing consultancy service for dog-related businesses, so if they need help with website building, leaflet design and print or content creation we are here to help.

What attracted you to seek out help from NBV?

We heard about NBV through an internet search. We wanted to engage with a mentor who we could bounce ideas off, being a fairly new start-up.

How has mentoring support helped you?

We have only been working with our adviser, John Owens, for a short period but it’s great to have a friendly and professional adviser to talk through ideas with. We’re looking forward to working with John as our business goes through its next stage of growth. Running a business on your own can often feel like a fairly lonely place, so it’s great to know that John is at the end of the phone.

What does the future hold for The Canine Directory?

We are currently a team of two and are hoping to expand our staffing resources in the future. We are also aiming to become one of the leading businesses within the UK who promote businesses, services and enrichment opportunities for dogs and their owners.

We have also recently been successful in achieving £2,000 grant funding from the Bassetlaw District Council Enterprise Grant Scheme.   We will be using this money to bring in a professional Search Engine Optimisation company to improve the Google rankings of our site at   We will also be using some of the grant for offline marketing and event materials too.

Any tips or advice for others?

If you’re thinking about setting up on your own, we would say definitely go for it. It takes time to get all the fundamental elements into place but once you’re there you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

We also think it’s a great idea to get advice from an organisation such as NBV – their professional advisers such as John can really make a difference.

If you wish to follow in Amy and Gareth’s footsteps, contact NBV today to see how we can help your business grow: 0844 887 2568*

*Calls cost 5p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge