Interview with Nicole Werth

Welcome to a new interview in our blog series Friends of William #friendsofwilliam.

Here we regularly talk to exciting personalities who accompany, excite and inspire us. Today we are talking to Nicole Werth. Nicole and her husband Norbert are entrepreneurs, together they run the exclusive dog boutique Doginson in Hamburg, as well as a kennel in the beautiful Lüneburger Heide.

Dear Nicole, before we get to the most important news, perhaps you would like to introduce yourself briefly. You had quite a different career before you started in the dog business. What did you do and why are you doing exactly what you are doing now?

There has always been this deep love for dogs, which probably every dog owner knows. But I first had a classic career in sales and then in human resources development. For many years I was responsible for a large coffee roasting company in the area of personnel training for sales and purchasing and then for employee satisfaction - new German Employer Branding. Through the great support of my husband, I then became a self-employed business coach and went into companies with my dogs to train managers. After about 1.5 years we found our farm in the Lüneburg Heath and started our dog boarding kennel Doginson. A dream came true.

That is absolutely inspiring. It certainly takes great courage and a very good plan. Speaking of a very good plan, let's get straight to the news we talked about. You are expanding and will open a second Doginson in Grömitz at the beginning of July. Tell us, what is the status, is everything going according to plan and are you excited despite all your experience?

I don't know if anything goes according to plan in times like these, but through all these years we are practiced in flexibility 😊 No seriously, we were very lucky with our landlord, who not only provides us with these great premises, we were also able to flexibly get in there and plan and prepare everything. That's not something that can be taken for granted. But even though we're confident that all the cabinets will be assembled and filled with merchandise in time, a certain nervousness remains. Opening a store in Corona times brings many pitfalls, everything takes a little longer and you need more patience than usual, there are restrictions and much more - it's always a balancing act between brave and crazy 😊 But we are very happy!

Yes, a store opening in times of Corona is really anything but easy to plan! In any case, we are already very much looking forward to our first visit to you in Grömitz. Now we can't say that you have been bored so far, why a second store and why Grömitz?

We already wanted a second store when we opened the store in Hamburg. The business plan was already based on that, but just like in Hamburg, it takes a lot of planning. The ideal location doesn't just happen by chance. We have been working for some time with the Grömitzer Tierfuttermanufaktur, whose food we also sell in our store in Hamburg, so we already have a connection with Grömitz. In addition, this place has been very close to my heart since my childhood. My father, who passed away in 2017, loved Grömitz with its landscape and he passed that on to me. My husband and I have spent a lot of time in Grömitz in recent years to relax and also to plan our new dream.

Grömitz really seems to close a circle for you. We take that as a good omen. What makes a good dog boutique from your point of view, what can your customers expect when they visit your store?

A successful mixture of regional and loving manufactures. We know our partners and choose everything ourselves with great care. Our customers should feel at home and have the desire to browse undisturbed. We are there for our customer if he wants to have a consultation and he may also have high expectations of us, which we are only too happy to meet. We are constantly on the lookout for something special and over the years we have found many great partners who are also very supportive of the opening of our second store. In between we find then yes such pearls like you, or were we found? :-)

In this case you have been found in any case :-) You are one of the few selected stores where you can buy our products offline. Of course, there are good reasons why we want to cooperate with you. How do you decide who to work with and which products to sell?

Prio 1 quality, Prio 2 quality, Prio 3 quality and of course design, price and that certain "I absolutely NEED that". Our products should not be available on every corner, many customers come to us and are always happy about the unusual articles with "wow-effect" :-) Many products are in need of explanation and that is exactly where the future of stationary retail lies. With us you can touch, try on and some even taste ;-)

Three times quality and once design - we are definitely right with you. Another core argument is obviously the good advice on site - Nicole, you have advised many customers over the years, is there something that always strikes you, something that perhaps many dog owners collectively "wrong" or "right?

Collectively wrong.....the word wrong I don't like to hear so much. Let's just say that when a new puppy is supposed to move in, the nest-building instinct kicks in for most as well, and a frenzied shopping spree begins. YAAA, there we should be happy, but it is exactly the other way around. We advise then rather against it and the one or other is then also times a little disappointed. But it is such a shame about a valuable dog bed that could last the next 10 years, if these pointed puppy teeth check the tensile strength exactly. But what unites everyone, every owner and also the great people who want to make a dog owner happy and therefore come to us, is something very special, you always want the best for your darling.

Interesting, so you sometimes have to advise your customers to reason, very sympathetic, there you feel really well advised. You also run a dog boarding kennel with your husband, is there anything that every dog owner should consider when planning a vacation?

Yes, please take at least as much time for planning your pet's vacation as for your own. Consider in time that you yourself can rarely consider all your wishes with a last minute offer, this is just as with the vacation of your dog. If it is important to you where he spends his vacation, then think about the timely booking, because even your favorite hotel is booked up at some point.

This sounds very obvious. Finally, please finish the following sentence, "I love dogs because..."

...they surprise me every day, no one is like the other and there is something especially endearing about each one.

Great final sentence! Nothing to add except, thank you so much for your time and the great insights into your exciting life around the dog, it was fun.

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