Launching a dog grooming business was not in Brian Bishop’s retirement plans, but the former school teacher is relishing being his own boss.
The former Hawick High biology teacher spent two years as a ‘man of leisure’ before wife Janette decided both needed a new focus after she took early retirement from the Care Inspectorate.
Combining advice from Business Gateway with years of experience grooming and showing American cocker spaniels, including success at Crufts, the duo from Hawick set up Bubbles & Bones in May.
Providing a holistic approach to pet care, the business in Palma Place, Melrose, offers the full range of dog grooming services and sells a wide range of cat and dog food, including organic, hypoallergenic brands.
Brian, 60, said: “Although I was hoping to be a man of leisure when I retired, I realised quite quickly that I wasn’t ready to become a full-time pensioner. So when my wife got the opportunity to take early retirement, we decided to start the business together.
“My wife, who has trained with world champion groomer Colin Taylor in London and will complete her professional diploma shortly, uses the downstairs as a dedicated dog ‘parlour’, while I take care of the ‘housekeeping’ on the upper floor.
Brian added that moving from teacher to businessman had been a ‘huge change’, but said the workshops at Business Gateway helped greatly.
Sandra Campbell, an adviser for Business Gateway, said: “Retirement has provided Brian and Janette with an opportunity to turn their passion and hobby into a business that not only lets them spend time together, but also provides a much needed service to the local dog owning community.”
Having always owned dogs, the couple decided to breed and show dogs seven years ago.
Brian said: “American cockers are a challenging breed to groom and success in the ring can be influenced by presentation, which drove us to improve our grooming skills.”
The couple have won breed classes at Crufts on a number of occasions.