You have been working on redefining dog treats for many years, how did it all come about?
Just thinking of the early days of rescuing Yoko brings a huge smile to our faces. It was an exciting time. We had never owned a dog before, so everything was new and there were so many choices to make, from food, bedding, routine, etc. Yoko literally just had her casts taken off her legs. She was small and fragile, and although she was nervous it was clear that she just wanted to be cared for. She had been severely malnourished and dropped by her previous owners, leading to her breaking both of her front legs.
We didn’t know it then, but this story was the beginning of our dog business together; aptly named after the very reason it started, YOKO. We wanted to provide as much good nutrition and exercise to help her in the recovery process so we set about educating ourselves through books and online resources. The idea of having a dog business was never on the cards. We merely took the time to educate ourselves about nutrition for Yoko from an honest place as we just wanted to do what was right for her.
We began with knowledge from the rescue centre in New York, The Humane Society. They are an incredible group of volunteers and we owe them a huge amount for the support they gave both us and to Yoko.
Over a matter of weeks and months, we saw Yoko beginning to get stronger and happier. We gave her joint supplements and began looking closely at the ingredients and nutritional analysis on the foods that we bought. It was common for us to look at the ingredients on our own foods, so it was a logical step extending this to Yoko’s food. Essentially we informed ourselves rigorously about dog nutrition. This eventually led us to manufacturing our own range of healthy dog treats and supplements, not because we are driven by money but because we sincerely care about improving the health and wellbeing to support every dog.
We have taken a good few years to experiment with recipes and ingredients so not everything has remained since the early days, but this is a natural process of designing a business from scratch. As our company has developed we have always developed products that are organic, responsibly sourced and without addition of colourings, flavourings or sugars. We are continually informed by the health benefits of different ingredients and flavours. More importantly we use dog treats as a way to nutritionally enhance a dog’s diet, which quite often lacks in the full spectrum of nutrients from ordinary dog foods. However, one thing does remain the same from the early days which is our ethos; our products always need to provide an added value to both dogs and their owners lives as well as respecting the world we live in.
Can you tell us a bit more about Yoko herself?
Yoko is a nine year old Italian Greyhound. We adopted her seven years ago and she has changed our life in ways we never could have imagined.
Yoko is very easy to take care of as she likes to sleep most of the day, especially in the winter months. But more than sleep, Yoko loves food and seems to have an internal clock as she is always sitting waiting for her food in the evening. Yoko absolutely loves to test the treats. She is very enthusiastic about all of them, all of the time!
We also bring Yoko with us pretty much everywhere we go (office, restaurants, shops and even to the cinema!).
What did Yoko think of our newest product, the deep and durable Dog Bowl?
She is a huge fan! Her ears go up every time we touch the dog bowl - she knows that it is food time! The new Falcon bowl is super easy to clean after each meal and is a timeless addition to the home.
Do you use Falcon anywhere else around your home?
We have been huge fans of Falcon for quite a while now. Our latest additions have been the small tray and the 3 pint Jug (mustard colours), these proven to be very popular during summer picnics with our friends. We particularly admire the Falcon brand as it provides a classic homeware style for the home. The designs are clean, designed for function in mind and not superfluous.
What does Autumn/Winter look like for you and Yoko?
We absolutely love Autumn... The beginning of the season, the first time we take that jumper from our wardrobe.
Yoko loves early Autumn walks as she enjoys playing with leaves on the ground of one of our local parks (Greenwich Park is a must!). Yoko also loves to snuggle under her ARKET blanket while we all sit on our sofa reading a book or watching a movie.
Are there any local companies you'd like to shoutabout? Where do you personally usually eat, drink, and source ingredients in your local area?
We are big supporters of dog friendly venues, and make a point of spending our money in these places as we see the value of dogs in a community environment. If some restaurants and shops allow dogs, then we find it hard to justify other people’s reason why they do not allow dogs.
Particular favour spots are The Standard Hotel in Kings Cross or Hoxton Hotel in Southwark as they are both vibrant spaces of continually changing activity.
We like the general feeling of Arket in Covent Garden, especially the café. We just like being out in the city with Yoko – she loves the attention from people. Our absolute favourite place is La Boheme in Soho – it feels like a little gem which has always been there, with live jazz music and classic style.