Where It All Began

Joy Jewell

I always wanted a dog. For as long as I can remember, dogs fascinated me. I grew up having cats as pets, and loved them dearly, but I knew that as soon as I was able to I would be adding a canine companion to my family.

Two and a half years ago, after I stopped renting and finally had my own home, that's exactly what I did. A nine week old Airedale Terrier called Bruce entered my life, and turned it upside down. That first year with my puppy was more challenging than I ever imagined, and more rewarding than I could have dreamt.

It was a few months into being a new puppy parent that I started my dog blog, Paws and Prada. It started off as somewhere I could wax lyrical about Bruce without driving my friends and family mad, and to my amazement it took off. A year later I was writing about dog blogging for Blogosphere Magazine and being shortlisted for a blog award by Cosmopolitan Magazine. This year has been just as much fun, I said goodbye to my fashion and beauty writing clients and decided to focus on the world of dog blogging and writing instead.

I didn't think I could get much more involved in the world of our canine besties, until one day I felt like getting creative. I took a photo of my beloved Bruce and decided to make some illustrations from it. Digital design has been a hobby of mine since my teens, and it felt so good to put my many art and design qualifications to use. I started thinking to myself that it would be fun to start selling a few of the designs on Paws and Prada, but the more I thought about it the more I wanted to set up a separate business with a very specific angle. Mugs.

Mugs that feature fun, colourful, cute designs of dogs, with the option to buy a personalised mug featuring a one of a kind illustration of your own hound. Once the idea was planted into my head, I couldn't forget about it. Then the idea came for coasters to complement the range, and tote bags for picking up your tea and coffee. I spent every moment making notes and brainstorming ideas, I was obsessed. 

The idea of starting up an online shop terrified me and, frankly, it still does. Sometimes though, you just have to make the leap. If there is one thing that my exuberant, life loving, enthusiastic, confident, fearless dog has taught me, it's that life is for living.

Bruce does everything at level ten, from sleeping with his legs in the air and dreaming of chasing cats, to making friends with every dog, man, woman and child he encounters on his walks. He may not have the most exciting life in the world, but for Bruce every second of every day is to be lived to the fullest. So, I'm taking his lead, and here I am. With my first online shop, following the dream, and that dream has four paws and a tail.