Meet the Traders: Nat West and Anna Harch, Doggy Dooz and Doggy Diversity
Nat West established her then-solo dog grooming operation in Seddon in 2000, and at that time she says you could have “shot a cannon down the street”.
She took a punt on a shopfront with cheap rent in an area that had not yet ‘come up’, and which was home to a milk bar and not much else. It’s a stark contrast to the thriving village it is now, and she admits it took some time to feel established.
“At first it was like having a party and no one coming,” she laughs. “It only took about six months for the community to get behind me. I have not looked back ever since. I had a hunch that this suburb would grow and become a thriving metropolis. It didn’t take long at all before other local traders really impacted Seddon.”
Nat, who grew up around small business, likens her determination to succeed with an appropriately animal-related analogy.
“I always equate things back to dogs and I think I have a bit of terrier in me - I am a bit tenacious!”
Fast forward to 2019 and Nat has expanded her grooming operation to include Doggy Diversity, a dog grooming training business which operated out of a separate premises nearby until 18 months ago, when the two merged into the current site on Victoria St.
Nat has been joined in the business by her partner Anna Harch who, along with their gorgeous rescue Schnauzer-cross Lolly, come to work each day to groom animals from all over the west and beyond, run a retail operation and take on four grooming students per month as well as owners who want to learn how to take care of their own pooches’ maintenance.
The businesses now also employ 23 staff, and the pair are constantly trying new ways to diversify their business and are in the midst of creating an online training program as an adjunct to their practical four-week course.
Nat and Anna say that even though there is some truth to the old age that you should never work with kids or dogs, coming to work each day is a new and exciting adventure.
“When I turn the key to the door I never know what I can expect,” says Nat. “We work with some amazing people and we have wonderful clients and some really interesting people who come to do the course. I have never had a time where I thought I don’t want to come to work.”
Anna agrees that their workplace is a pretty fun place to be.