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General election 2015: PetsPyjamas CEO Gracia Amico – I’m voting as…

6 Mins

While declaring that she’s too busy to stop and worry too much about what the next government might look like, Amico, a former director of ecommerce at Hobbs, does have a few suggestions regarding what will work for business leaders.

Joining the crop of enterprise high-flyers giving their thoughts to Real Business, she let’s us know what has happened so far, where the company is going and the value of apprentices.

Who are you and what does your business do?

I am the CEO of PetsPyjamas. We are the UK’s number one pet lifestyle destination showcasing the best products and services for the pet loving owner of today’s world. We offer a unique combination of commerce, services and content. We have over 10,000 dog accessories on our website and also book pet friendly breaks for our customer choosing from a selection of over 600 dog-loving properties. In addition, we have an vast amount of interesting and entertaining articles on pets. As pet loving-people love sharing, we also have an area on the site which is called Petwork – where people upload images of their pets and engage with each other.

How has your business changed over the last five years?

We launched in 2012 with an ambitious vision. Over the last three years we have progressively rolled out the various elements of our model. We started with our pet products, from toys to breed specific food and beds to collar and leads and personalised products and even birthday cakes. We added pet friendly travel bookings to the site in 2014, which is hugely in demand and much loved by our customer base. Our content and community elements are continuously being developed further. The relaunch of our pet services is planned for later this year.

What are your growth plans for the next five years?

We have an aggressive growth plan as we are well aware that there is a real need for what we offer the pet loving owners both in the UK and abroad. We do a lot of surveys to find out what our customers want and need and there is a lot more we want to be able to offer them. We therefore need to make sure we can speed up our growth. To do this with pace requires investment both in terms of money and time. It is busy and it is going to be an even busier five years.

What kind of government would you like to see elected?

I would like to see a government that encourages entrepreneurship, which applauds (female) success and facilitates easier access to funding. It would be great to see that the risks entrepreneurs take are respected and understood. 

Being a woman and part of a mainly female board, it would be great to see the support for women continued at business level. More involvement and input from business women at government level would be so valuable. From a financial perspective, I have been thinking for a while that the government could be a lot more active in funding the right businesses. It would benefit so many people.

Read other “I’m voting as…” features:

Do you think government in general is doing enough to support businesses of your size?

I think the apprentice scheme is a good initiative. Although it is not perfect it can give a small company good access to potentially great people at the right level. The pitfalls are that as a company you need to spend a lot of time with the apprentices, teaching and training them many skills. For a small company that is not always easy as resources are always stretched. However, if the right attention goes in from both sides and it is the right person it has the potential to be a real way to long lasting talent retention. 

Has the impending general election caused any uncertainty regarding how you run your company?

No, mainly because we are simply too busy running company and to making it as successful as we can in the shortest amount of time. If I had more time I would possibly worry about changes in the current apprentice scheme for example. 

However, as there still are a lot of areas that can and ought to be explored by future governments I try not to worry about this and focus on the job at hand, trusting that the future government will have our best interest at heart.

In one sentence, please finish this line: “I’m voting as…”

I’m voting as a very ambitious business woman who would love to grow our business to the very best it can be in the shortest amount of time – helping and mentoring young talented people in the process and ensuring our company delivers the very best for our customers.

Do you agree with Gracia Amico? Is there anything you’d like to add? Please let us know in the comments box below.

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