"No-one loves dogs more than us" - how Sidmouth emporium is pet perfection
PUBLISHED: 12:30 01 June 2019 | UPDATED: 09:54 03 June 2019
The Herald has been featuring different local businesses in the paper, celebrating the town's diversity. This week we hear from Jennifer Jennings-Wright of Toto's of Sidmouth, based in Libra Court.
Tell us about yourself.
I moved to beautiful Sidmouth 18 months ago with my family, having previously co-run a children's shop in Bath. My academic background is housing law and design but I haven't worked in this field for some time. Nowadays I prefer a life filled with dogs (and other animals).
Tell us about your business
Being a dog owner, I quickly discovered the joys of having a pup in Sidmouth, hence the idea was born! Toto's of Sidmouth, named after our dog, opened last December, and caters exclusively for canines of all shapes and sizes. Handmade collars, jumpers, bandanas & coats can all be found in our tiny emporium, as well as eco-friendly toys, grooming products and Lily's Kitchen food and treats. All are welcome and we even allow humans
What makes you different and special compared to other businesses doing the same type of thing as you?
Toto's aims to offer products you may not necessarily find in other pet shops. We have hand-made jumpers created exclusively for Toto's, as well as other local hand-made items. Many hours are spent looking for unusual and location appropriate goods, such as floating buoys and anchors (sourced in Brooklyn, NY). We offer a measuring service to ensure your dog has the best possible fit - Toto's operates a 'try before you buy' system so you can walk your dog outside with a harness or lead to make sure it's right for them. We are small, central and have a great knowledge of other local businesses. If you can't find it at Toto's, we'll know someplace you can. Oh, and nobody loves dogs more than us.
Where do you see yourself in five years? What are your aims and goals?
It would be fantastic to grow the business, perhaps to include felines, space permitting. I would love to see dog-friendly screenings at the local cinema and perhaps being involved in this in some way. Whatever I do, I aim to continue working with dogs as they are such a huge part of my life and continued happiness.
What's the most interesting part of your job?
Meeting all our customers and their humans. Each day is as different as the dogs and I really enjoy hearing the stories of how they came to be together. Also the continual realisation that every dog has their unique personality.
Tell us something that might surprise people about yourself or your business?
As well as running Toto's, I also help coach young children with rugby skills, which is completely different and involves no dogs whatsoever..
I also love cats and Toto shares his home with moggie Miss Boudicca Yum Yum.
In middle age I am finally learning to play the piano, so listen out for very amateur renditions of 'Hound Dog' as you walk by.