Wakefield-based Purr and Mutt's custom pet portraits win over thousands of fans with Peaky Blinders, Harry Potter and Star Wars themed animal pictures
It has been a ruff year in business for many, but one Wakefield business has won over thousands of fans with their unique take on pet portraits - which just might be the ultimutt gift for animal lovers everywhere.
Purr and Mutt produce hundreds of custom portraits each month, with models including dogs, cats, rabbits, horses and falcons having made an appearance in their artwork.
As well as more traditional artwork, the team also produce novelty gift items, such as pets in costumes inspired by historical events or popular film and TV shows, including Peaky Blinders, Harry Potter and Star Wars.
The shop was originally part of a wider project by Calder Park-based WRM-Media, but after noticing a particular interest in pet portraits, the team launched Purr and Mutt in January of last year.
Commercial director Gemma Rawson says demand for the portraits has "completely changed" the business, which was previously concentrated on data processing, but has now shifted its focus to e-commerce.
She said: "It started off as using one person's project. We tested the site, we allowed one guy to work on it for six months solid and it just took off.
"And from that now we’ve got six people and a team of freelancers too. It’s just kind of grown.
"People go crazy for them. Before we knew it we were doubling and tripling turnover.
"It’s a gift with a difference. Everybody has pets. People love their animals. How hard is it to buy your dad a gift for Father’s Day? But if it’s a dad who loves his dog, people love it."
Gemma admits that the pandemic has been good for business, with orders rocketing during lockdown and reaching a peak of around 250 orders a day by Christmas.
Purr and Mutt have also earned thousands of followers on social media.
But business has continued to expand in recent months, with the company recently launching international delivery to areas including America, New Zealand, Canada and Europe.
Gemma said: "The pandemic has really helped us. Shops are closed and people have seen these gift alternatives. We know that people generally buy it as a gift.
"We introduced different variations of the frames and canvas, and we're about to introduce mugs, blankets, cushions and phone cases.
“What we did was choose a few designs of pets and character outfits. To begin with it was a renaissance theme. When a customer came to the site the idea was they’d upload a photo of their pet. We would hand draw that pet onto the character’s body.
"It just really took off. Even my dog has got a few of these portraits.
"You won’t believe how particular customers are, picky about specific shades on small areas of fur and things.
"It can be really high maintenance, but by the same token the feedback we get is amazing."
Visit the Purr and Mutt website to find out more.