We first had the pleasure of meeting Serena from Lead the Walk when we first started Fetch & Follow back in our Netil Market days. We have since collaborated together on two special capsule collections themed around camo print. Since then Serena has gone on to train as a dog groomer and can be found cutting and styling dog's hair to perfection around the East London area (including the Fetch & Follow pups George and Frank.)
We spoke to Serena about how her French Bulldog Frankie and Staffie Stan helped her to switch her career path to focus on all things dog and start her brand Lead the Walk.
Tell us about Frankie & Stan and how they both came into your life
Frankie is a 6 year old French Bulldog who we’ve had since a pup. She has a very serious and protective nature, nevertheless she can be incredibly affectionate. Stanley is an elderly Staffordshire Bull Terrier. He came into our lives just over 2 years ago through a rescue charity. The more we learned about dogs and their welfare, the more we wanted to give a home to a dog that needed one. Stanley is a lovable and comedic character with a unique swagger.
How did owning a dog inspire you to start your own business
When Frankie was 6 months old, I spent hours trawling the internet looking for a well made, reasonably priced winter coat that would fit her short, broad chested little body. During my search, I found many well designed products from small independent businesses scattered around the world. I thought why not bring these little brands altogether so that people like me could shop great dog accessories with ease. Since launching our dog accessories business, Ive retrained as a dog groomer and now offer pet parents in East London an alternative to the traditional dog grooming salon experience.
How do the dogs fit into your general day working?
Frankie and Stanley get their first walk of the day before my first grooming client arrives in the morning. At lunchtime, Frankie goes out with her friends for an hour whilst Stanley joins me for our daily trip to the local post office to dispatch online orders. After my afternoon grooming session, Stanley, a former street dog, has a good pavement walk around the local neighbour. Frankie is keen to get back into the park in the afternoon to chase squirrels, chew sticks and play with her many friends.
When you’re not working where do you and the dogs like to hang out?
We spend much of our time in Victoria Park. In warmer weather, we enjoy walks around Mile End Cemetery Park. The shaded paths are ideal for both dogs. Occasionally we take ourselves off to Epping Forest or on special occasions the East Yorkshire coast.
What essentials do you always have on you when heading out for a dog walk and what do you carry them in?
I’ve always got pockets full of poop bags and usually take a bag containing water, a bowl and Frankie’s favourite frisbee, which is useful when needing to distract her attention quickly. I prefer a rucksack to a tote so I can have both hands free and not have to worry about it slipping off my shoulder.
What adventures do you have planned for the rest of the year?
Frankie enjoys getting muddy and loves exploring new places. Stanley is more sedate. A cottage in the country or a trip along the Norfolk broads would allow us to keep them both happy.
You can follow Serena, Frankie and Stan's adventures together on the Lead the Walk instagram page