Abi on starting up Longcroft cat hotel
"To be honest it was solving a problem. We had a little cat, we were trying to go on holiday and he needed somewhere to stay. I started looking for accommodation for him and was quite upset really at the level accommodation that was available.
"I wanted him to have somewhere safe and where he would be treated the same, as if he was staying with me and I couldn't find it. And as I had recently left my job, I set about creating Longcroft."
Quality vs practicality
"I wanted it to be the best, so with the building I did a lot of research - I didn't want to go for a timber building because timber is incredibly hard to clean. UPVC - the material we use today - isstate of the art. So in terms of the heating, accommodation, the materials we use are really at the top of our game."
There are 11 million cats in the UK and I believe that this number will grow
Funding the start-up
"My mum helped me out. I was very, very fortunate. She believed in what I was doing. There are 11 millions cats in the UK and I believe that number will grow.
"Our properties are getting smaller and cats are a little easier to look after than dogs. In terms of the numbers and accommodation, she was very happy. I did a mini business plan for her even though she was my mum, and actually there was probably more pressure on me because it was my mum and I wasn't going to the bank!"
Designing the longcroft brand
"I wanted the rooms to look like a hotel. We had some designs made and I gave my husband a brief in terms of look and feel, and he set about designing the rooms for us. I wanted a very clear definition between the bedroom areas and to have an outside area as well - so it just really evolved from there.
"Even our cleaning products, everything is of the highest quality that we can buy. That does mean that on a day-to-day basis, the work is very light. So everything is designed around time-efficiency."
"We had a lot of support from out local media. Our local paper came round, took some photographs and carried some editorial for us. From then on, it got picked up with the Daily Mail, the Express and it actually went worldwide in terms of media - we were on the radio a few times... So we were very fortunate.
"Apart from our website - we have SEO and Pay-Per-Click campaigns running - in terms of that, we haven't really done much marketing, our customers actually do our marketing for us."
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