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Your dog’s new best fur-end: Pip & Paw

Meet Phillipa Purdy: the talented North Tyneside entrepreneur who swapped a global career in retail for a new profession as a dog groomer

Fresh from three years of working for H&M in Australia, Phillipa Purdy returned to her home of Whitley Bay last year ready to swap her 22 years in retail for a brand new venture – and em-bark-ed on a months-long journey of training and examinations to finally realise her dream of working with dogs as a professional groomer.

Fast-forward a year, and Phillipa now has a her own dedicated premises at Whitley Lodge: Pip & Paw. And she’s ready for business.

‘This has been the culmination of many years of work and I’m absolutely delighted to finally be realising my goal of working with animals,’ Phillipa beams. ‘Opening a new business in the middle of pandemic is not how I originally saw the business starting out, but Pip & Paw is now ready and I’m looking forward to meeting some new furry friends in need of a haircut!’ 

Pip & Paw represents a major change in direction for Phillipa, who began a high-flying career in retail 22 years ago as a window dresser. Joining global retailer H&M, Phillipa began working nationally to manage new store openings before her services were required to expand the brand internationally. After working in Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore to help provide a seamless expansion of the brand into new markets, Phillipa accepted a role on the west coast of Australia, where she remained for three years.

‘My retail career has taken me all over the world and I’ve been able to experience jobs, locations and a lifestyle that I never would have imagined when I first started out in the ‘90s,’ says Phillipa. ‘Although Whitley Bay has always been my home, I was offered a promotion to remain in Australia so I began the process of applying for permanent residency in 2019. Sadly, at the same time, my husband was travelling back and forth between Australia and the UK for work and we felt that perhaps the time was right to return on a more permanent basis and make Whitley Bay our home once again. With the only roles available to me involving regular commutes to London, I took a look at my life goals and felt it was time for a more permanent change of pace. So I embarked on learning something I’ve always dreamed of doing: dog grooming!’

Phillipa’s globe-trotting career in retail never allowed her to indulge in her love of dogs.  Now that she’s back in her hometown, she has not only been able to welcome her own dog, but she also gets to spend every day meeting new four-legged friends in the comfortable surroundings of her grooming salon. 

‘I offer puppy settling-in sessions, as well as regular grooming services at Pip & Paw, which is at the former Westway vets building in Whitley Lodge,’ explains Phillipa. ‘I can also help nervous or more anxious dogs access grooming services, as I always like to create a calm environment for the animals in my care. 

‘There has been a huge increase in dog ownership locally following lockdown, as more and more people find that working from home supports their ability to own a puppy. It has been lovely getting to meet so many new customers recently and I can honestly say my new career is everything I hoped it would be!’

To book your pup in for an un-fur-gettable trim at Whitley Bay’s paw-some new groomers, visit Pip & Paw’s Facebook page

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