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ADVERTORIAL: From bedroom to boardroom – Find out why BullyBillows is the fastest growing canine accessory brand in the UK

todayApril 19, 2022 2

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In order to create a successful business, entrepreneurs need to uncover a gap in the market, fill it with desirable products and harness those to a strong work ethic. And for one Nottingham-based enterprise, that started out as an Instagram page sharing snaps of a family dog, all three boxes have been ticked and today it’s a thriving business worldwide.

Founded by managing directors, Benjamin Billows and Anthony Koumi back in 2018, BullyBillows creates and offers sturdy and stylish dog accessories and apparel that not only looks great and made to last, but also offers superb utility for daily use or training purposes.

After creating an Instagram account and taking pictures of Bam, Ben’s first dog, Ben and Anthony decided to give back to the social media community and create a charity calendar to raise money.

The proceeds raised were donated to small organisations/charity that helps rescue, shelter and rehome abandoned dogs which was the catalyst for the successful business venture.



Dog accessories
Managing director Benjamin Billows his Bull Terrier, Bam

Ben said: “The idea for the business actually came about very naturally to us. When I moved out of my parents’ house I got a dog and I started taking photos and putting them on Instagram. Dog lovers really enjoyed and engaged with the content and it created a nice community.

“My doggy Instagram page was starting to build good traction and I spoke to Anthony and we saw that this is something clearly that people wanted to see as we kept getting more followers.

“Anthony said: “Our first donation was to Beds4Bullies, we raised a little over £1,500 for them as well as giving them products such as bedding and food for the dogs in their care at the time. The owner of Beds4Bullies, Liz, was ecstatic with our donation and to this day we still donate to various charities, organisations and even gift products to the homeless for their dogs in and around Nottingham.”

“From the success of the charity calendar, we wanted to broaden the scope and go into canine accessories, continuing that same ethos of community and supporting charities along the way, and also grow into a reputable business.”



Dog accessories
BullyBillows operates from a 7,200sqft warehouse in the heart of Nottingham and employs more than 15 full-time and part-time staff

During this time both Ben and Anthony had different career paths. Ben was working as a plasterer and then in the probation service, supervising offenders in the community, while Anthony was running his own door to door fruit and vegetable business in Nottingham named Anthony’s Fruit & Veg Boxes with his then business partner, Chris James, which is currently still operating.

Ben said: “We started working from my spare bedroom initially with my partner, Natalie. Natalie helped us in a wide range of areas in the beginning stages of the business including handwriting names and addresses of orders, as we required that professional look with a personal touch, especially as we had intricate international addresses, as at this stage we did not have an automated printing system like we do today.

“We eventually grew and knew that one bedroom wasn’t enough, so we went from our garage to another room and then self-storage, then Anthony’s conservatory, then a small office and have gone strength to strength from there.

“We’ve gone through that dramatic change when all of a sudden you’re looking at lease agreements in different locations around the globe. I think if we had the pleasure of having an experienced CEO onboard throughout the growth we could have grown slightly quicker but instead we have learned ourselves along the way through relentless commitment, trial and error which has had a positive outcome for BullyBillows as well as our personal development.

“As a result, this has benefited the business massively as we have built up solid foundations in preparations for scale and expansion which fill us with a huge sense of pride for achieving such a great brand and amazing community.”

Anthony said: “After moving into our first office space in the latter end of 2019, we thought that this would last us for a while as we have plenty of room to grow, but within months we outgrew the office space and had to move to a larger premises which was an 800sqft unit.

“Within six months of being in our new unit, we had to start looking to move again as the business was growing at such a rapid rate each month. We are now operating the business in a 7,200sqft warehouse in the heart of Nottingham and employ over 15 full-time staff and a number of part-time staff, as well as a team of more than eight app and website developers, and we are still growing.”



The team at BullyBillows

At the start of the journey, both Ben and Anthony spent countless hours conducting market research and finding gaps in the market for dog collars, harnesses and other accessories that are not only really comfortable for dogs, but built to last.

Anthony explained: “We did a ton of market research and found that people would buy anywhere from 5-10 collars a year and constantly complain that there was nothing out there that was affordable, robust and actually looked good.

“We had our own knowledge as well and knew that this is something we wanted to give our all for and run with, but we haven’t become complacent. We are still as hungry as ever and looking at ways we can improve new and existing product ranges along with offering products with great utility.”

Ben said: “We remember when we ran a competition giving away some free products and had four entries on our social media post. Now when we launch a competition we have over 10,000 entries which is great to see as we have a great community with over 200,000 followers combined online.”

What can I get for my dog?



BullyBillows provides a wide range of dog accessories and apparel, from premium harnesses that do not restrict natural movement to nylon and foam lined products. These products are designed to help dogs as they offer anti-allergy materials as BullyBillows accommodates all dog breeds.

There are accessories for dogs of all sizes and shapes, including a range of leads and strong combat collars which are tested to withstand extreme pressure and have a handle to give you maximum control in emergency situations.

Whether you are after a comfortable collar, a training harness for extra strength or a vegan Billowthane collar there is plenty of choice accommodating all types of breeds.

Each accessory has been made to not only provide peace of mind for dog owners, but also to be as comfortable as possible for your four-legged friends, this is a reason why BullyBillows has become very popular online in the pet industry space.

Certain items are also customisable all in house with their specialist machines, including the dog tags, collars and fleeces, meaning you can choose from a range of colours and get your dog’s name embroidered on them.

With worldwide shipping available customers can also get 10% off when using the code: BARK

BullyBillows has grown from strength to strength, going from revenue of more than £87,600 and processing 3,661 orders in 2019 to an impressive revenue in excess of £4.5million and processing more than 100,000 orders in 2021 alone. The business hit a valuation of £20 million.

The team works tirelessly to ensure that each product is designed meticulously and pays close attention to all customer feedback.

Ben said: “We are always looking at ways to improve. Analysing customer feedback is key because you want to see what people like and how you can improve. We have been working on a tech-savvy product over the last 18 months which we estimate will be our first launch Q4 2022 which is very exciting for us.

“As a business, we want to grow and you have to listen to what your customers want so you can’t get complacent and we never will. We are always looking at which direction the market is moving and we are always one step ahead.”

One of BullyBillow’s most popular products is its harnesses which the team has seen increase in popularity over the years as they don’t cause any restrictions to movement that can result in injury over time.

Harnesses can support a dog’s natural movement and the team prides itself on creating products that stand out from other companies thanks to a unique range of designs, colours and material combinations.



Hours of market research and product design at the Nottingham head office goes into every accessory
Hours of market research and product design at the Nottingham head office goes into every accessory

Anthony said: “From the ever-growing demand for our products we now have teamed up with a logistics and distribution centre in Korea which processes and ships our products to Korean customers to help further build brand awareness overseas.

“We are also in the process of setting up our first official distribution centre in the Czech Republic which is over 5,200 sq ft in size which will create even more jobs and the warehouse will be our main processing centre to all of our European customers as we will be diverting our European sales from the backend of our UK systems to our Czech warehouse system.

“This expansion will enable the business to grow exponentially as the market size in Europe is over 5x bigger than what it is in the UK for dog owners. Especially as we would be able to offer next day delivery in and around these countries. Also benefiting from zero import charges for customers and multiple website versions to display native languages and currencies for a much quicker and easier checkout process for our European customers.”

Ben added: “We are constantly working on different designs all the time and looking at why some brands’ products break easily and how we can incorporate our ideas and make something soft, strong and stylish.

“Working closely with our supplier we only put products out that are the highest quality after months of extensive testing.

“The amount of work that goes into our product development is incredible. Even the collars have been specifically designed to enhance certain elements such as utilising anti-allergenic materials and rust proof hardware. We incorporate foam and neoprene for comfort which is a similar material to wetsuits. This means our product ranges are breathable, quick-drying and stay hygienic.

“We also use reflective materials so that walkers can feel safe during the winter knowing that they can still be seen – we leave no stone unturned.”

To find out more about BullyBillows wide range of dog accessories and apparel, visit the website at www.bullybillows.com and follow them on social media by searching for @bullybillows.

Written by: thehitnetwork

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