Talking all things Hygge with Petprenuer – Kohsi

I really hope you’ve enjoyed my previous two Petpreneur interviews – All links at the bottom of this blog.  I’m thrilled that all my subjects so far have been females – not to put the men off getting in touch of course – but there is significant research into how, as a female sometimes we can be more risk averse and humble in really putting ourselves out there in business. What makes it even greater is when asked what advice they’d give to other entrepreneurs out there. The initial statement out of all of their mouths have been the same – “Just do it”.  Hmm seems Nike were really on to something with that strapline!

I was really excited to speak to my third subject, Shelby from Sheffield based Kohsi.  Being in full time employment and having her own business on the side, I personally wanted to know how she did it.  I’m therefore really hoping anyone with a side hustle will take something from this interview

Kohsi pretty much launched on Instagram the same time as The Wholesome Hound. Shelby got in touch with me and kindly offered to sponsor our Autumn 18 cover dog competition. We discovered we were both small Yorkshire businesses and a mutual appreciation was born. I also fell in love with her tags and bought Willow one immediately.

So who are Kohsi?

Kohsi – The ‘baby’ of Sheffield based product designer Shelby Cound, make the most beautiful handcrafted leather dog tags with a real emphasis on quality, sustainability and being eco friendly. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is all they will ever do. Kohsi have just launched handmade rope leads and have big plans to branch out from there. 

What I love in particular about this brand, is that within a very crowded market of dog accessories, Kohsi have real stand out.  That stand out being what lays at the heart of the brand – Hygge.

Now if you’ve never heard of Hygge – quite simply, for us to be friends, you need to get on it!  Hygge is a Danish concept that means something slightly different to all of us, and being a fan of it myself, I  was really excited to discuss it with Shelby. 

So without further ado, lets dive straight into our chat.

Tell us firstly about your love of all things dog.

“Growing up, I was really closer to my Nan and she always had dogs, so I was brought up with dogs always being around. I’ve always been obsessed with any all animals. I studied design at university which is what I do as a day job now, we were often asked to do various design assignments or briefs, mine were always animal based. I don’t have a dog at the minute as I’m out of the house too long with my job and commute. I’m constantly trying to persuade people at work that we all need office dogs”

So how did Kohsi come about?

“I’ve always worked in design and had a job I really loved, I was made redundant so I just thought, right I need to do something else and the original idea was Dog beds. I got a new job really quickly but the idea for Kohsi was already formed. I decided to run with it as a hobby. The dog beds idea I couldn’t get off the ground as its a very overcrowded market and it was really important to me to use the best quality materials, be 100% handcrafted and it would have meant the price point would have been high versus what is out there, so I opted to do the dog tags. Its a hobby I am fortiunate enough to make money from but it was always my intention to branch out into other products.  

The same week we interviewed Kohsi, a post showing their gorgeous rope leads appeared on our feed so there’s definitely more great things to come from this brand.

We have to ask about the name Kohsi – It’s quite unusual.

“I’m obsessed with the Danish way of living, and anything Hygge. Kohsi is pronounced cosy and influenced by Hygge. For me, its about snuggling on down with your dog, a relaxed way of life and bringing you back to nature. The Kohsi name in my logo is designed to look like rope and I only use packaging suppliers that work with natural materials.

It’s also really important to me to give back. Since launching Kohsi, its always been in my plan to support the animal shelter for all those dogs that don’t have those comforts” 

A day job, plus what is quickly becoming a very successful empire, how do you manage this?

“Time management is key.  I work in Manchester so have a commute too. I’m out from 7.15am and get home at 7.30pm, so I have to manage my time well whilst also having a life too. As I have a long commute on the train, I use that time to reply to emails, prepare posts for social media. When I get home its all go making the tags, but the great thing is that I can make my tags whilst I’m watching TV and it’s actually quite relaxing”

“When I see the orders coming in, I’m super excited but also a little panicky about how i’ll get them all done. It’s really important to still have a life and not burn out. For me, when the fun stops, then you’re burning yourself out and need to re address” 

Are people at your day job aware of what else you do?

 

“Yes, they’re all really supportive. I talk about it openly at work and my colleagues are always really interested in how Kohsi is going which is nice”

“A lot of people assume that because I have ambitions for Kohsi, it must be because I’m unhappy or unfulfilled in my day job and that couldn’t be further from the truth. I absolutely LOVE what I do, but Kohsi is my baby”

This is really interesting and resonates strongly with me.  When I tell people of my plans with The Wholesome Hound, I’m often greeted with comments such as ‘oh I didn’t realise you were unhappy at work’ I get that for some, escaping an unfulfilling career is the driving force behind launching your own business. However it seems there’s an alternative breed of people such as Shelby and myself who choose to take the bits we enjoy from the day job and think of what else we can do.

Where can we buy Kohsi tags and who are your customers

 

“I sell through Etsy, and surprisingly 60% of all my orders are all overseas, especially America which I’m thrilled about as I know anything British and handcrafted is really sought after over there. I’d love the make a map of where all the dogs wearing Kohsi tags are based.  I’m really proud to be from Sheffield, its known for having a strong history of industry and I really wanted to honour that. I use the hastag #madeinsheffield on instagram”

“I also take a lot of time to engage with my customers. Still now, when someone places an order, I have a party inside and I’m just super appreciative for every customer who buys a Kohsi tag.  I always include a little note in every order. I also say to people once they’ve placed an order to follow me on instagram as I will post photo’s of their dogs tag been made” 

It’s these personal touches that has elevated Kohsi from ‘dog tag sellers’, to a caring dog brand with heart and goes towards explaining the amazing reviews on their Etsy page

Lastly, we ask all our petpreneurs for advice for others. For you specifically that advice would be for anyone working full time starting or thinking of starting a side hustle.

 

“Just do it, You’ve got skills already, transfer them to something you really want to do. Develop strong time management, remember to have a life and avoid the burn out. Try and also keep the day job and your business separate, be present for both”

We can’t help but feel its the obsession with all things Hygge that make Shelby a very balanced individual. What I really got out of our chat is a real understanding that the pet businesses – or any start up businesses really – that have longevity are the ones built with solid roots in a personal belief, for Shelby that being a deep love of anything that bring you closer to nature.

If you enjoyed this interview  – let us know and also check out our other inspirational petpreneur interviews

Week one – Bow Wow Vow

Week two – Paws With Opulence