FROM dachshunds to pugs, most people can’t help but smile when they see a dog in its element, and this is what former locals, Evan Lowden and Tom Weston have utilised to begin building their business into an empire.
Moving to Melbourne in 2011, the boys kick-started their business in 2014, Sausage Dog Central, with a clever method of building their presence on social media, which now has over 640,000 plus likes on Facebook and more than 196,000 followers on Instagram.
Seeing a gap in the market for their products, which include items for humans such as clothes, homewares, jewellery and gifts, as well as items for the hounds themselves such a toys, treats, beads, clothing, one of the more successful and innovative items the boys created and began selling was a dog ramp called the ‘DachRamp.’ The ramp helps little sausage dogs climb up and down furniture with ease, helping to prevent against damage to the spine, which the dachshund breed is prone to.
Evan said, “The idea came to fruition around June 2014 where we decided to begin work on the social media pages. The biggest thing I had learnt from previous (failed) experiences was to build your audience first via social media. Once it was at a level we thought was significant enough we then started selling our products. When we launched the website we already had about 40,000 likes on Facebook and 8,000 or so on Instagram.
“My family is pretty crazy about dachshunds and my parents have 2 at the moment and my brother and I share 2 boys Herbert and Homer.
“The idea behind the business is fun and happiness, the emotions people feel about their dachshunds and when they see one. One of the best parts of my job is responding to people who say they love our social media pages because it made them smile. We want people to smile and laugh when they visit our digital channels, making them more likely to hear our message when we are selling something.
“Our best-selling item, the DachRamp, came after myself and my girlfriend’s dad, Mick Sinclair noticed that it was really difficult to ship big bulky ramps and as dachshunds are very susceptible to back injuries due to their unique shape it was important that there is a safe way for them to move up and down couches and cars, rather than jumping. After some design tweaking we created a ramp that has adjustable heights and is portable so people can use it for different sized furniture and take it with them on the move. Mick makes them wholesale for us and we on-sell them around the world!
“For those who are wishing to start their business or slingshot it to success is to, if possible, build your audience before you start selling so you already have people interesting in what you are offering. You should definitely go for it, the worst thing that can happen is you stop doing it and you will have gained experience/knowledge that will make you a lot more employable to another business.
“The feeling of our success so far tastes like a cold one at 5pm on a Friday afternoon (pretty good).”
Tom said, “Dachshunds are among the most popular breed in the world and have very distinctive long body that sets them apart from any other ‘k9.’ The cult following of the dachshund was the main driving force behind choosing them specifically.
“We have also already launched Pugs Central, which felt like the next logical step and we knew the business model.”
To check out the products on offer, or to have a great laugh, find ‘Sausage Dog Central’ and ‘Pug Central’ on Facebook and Instagram or visit www.sausagedogcentral.com.au or www.pugscentral.com