Ensuring Pups make your big day too !
We were delighted that the Press & Journal ran a feature on Julie from Spotlessly Chic in their Weekend supplement.
IT'S A DOG'S BIG DAY TOO
Jacqueline Wake Young talks to Julie Hunter, who runs bespoke wedding dog care service Spotlessly Chic, and finds out what a busy day involves
Julie Hunter is sitting in the kitchen at Elsick House in Aberdeenshire minding a lovely little cockapoo called Teddy when she takes my phone call.
His owners are getting married at the venue and wanted him close by throughout the proceedings and around for any photo opportunities.
Julie will keep him company at the venue during the day, making sure he’s fed, watered and walked while his owners can relax and enjoy their special occasion. Julie runs Spotlessly Chic, a bespoke wedding dog care service that is so adorable it’s enough to make a person want to get married all over again just so they can involve her in the wedding.
One of the services is pet sitting where she will look after someone’s dogs during the event, which is what she is doing when we speak, but it’s her role as a wedding dog chaperone that really sets her apart.
She explains what chaperoning dogs involves: “I pick them up from their homes in the morning, take them back to mine and normally groom them and get them all ready for the big day. Then I take them to the wedding venue for the photographs or they may well be ring bearers, depending on what the requirements are, which sometimes includes me walking them up the aisle ! We hang around for the photographs then come back to mine. I give them their tea and they get a walk and then they overnight at mine and then I drop them back off at the hotel the next day. For the pet sitting service there’s no grooming involved, I just go to the dog-friendly location, for example at Elsick House today. It’s a dog-friendly location and I’m here from 1pm to 9pm today which is the full-day service but I also a half-day option too, it just depends on what the owners want. This year I have had a lot of requests just to pet sit at the actual wedding location, most of them are pet-friendly these days. It’s to avoid people having to go check on the dogs, like at Logie or here at Elsick House, I stay in the kitchen with the dog keeping them company and I’ll take them out for pee breaks – I’m just about to take him out actually – and then at 9pm I’ll shoot off. I’ll get him in his bed and someone will come and check on him later on.”
Asked why she started the business Julie says simply: “I love dogs.”
She has three dogs of her own, Winnie, Cooper and Cielo, the latter so-named because it’s the Spanish for ‘heaven’ and he is a rescue dog from Spain.
The idea for a wedding chaperone started to form after her own wedding when a service such as Spotlessly Chic would have been ideal.
“I didn’t have anyone because my sister normally looks after my dogs but she was also at the wedding,” says Julie.
“It was actually a friend’s mum that came and looked after them so I only got one picture taken and I would have wanted them to be part of the day a lot more.”
Julie started the business in 2017, having pursued a number of high-level jobs before that. She worked in oil and gas for Subsea 7 as a department lead in personal logistics, travelling crew to and from vessels and in charge of a team of around 20 people.
“Travel is my background,” she says. “I used to work for the British Airways Travel Shop in Union Street. “It was opposite the Music Hall on Union Street and they had 24 shops in the UK. “Regent Street (in London) had about 100 staff and we had about 10 and we were the second-highest revenue shop in the UK next to Regent Street.”
Julie also did a two-year stint in the police to discover it wasn’t for her and then jumped ship from the police back into travel.
“There’s no point in sticking at a job that you absolutely hate,” she says.
“When I got made redundant in 2016 I had always wanted to do the dog grooming side of things and then I wanted to diversify into different areas that involved dogs so when I was trying to think of other ideas I thought, ‘well I didn’t have that at my wedding’.
“At the time I had the dog grooming and I got my dog boarding licence through Aberdeenshire Council so it was kind of like a one-stop shop and I just thought there was a niche in the market.
“I did the Grampian Wedding Directory Exhibition the following year and it just snowballed, everybody wanted to do it, saying ‘what a great idea’.
“Folk thought I was mad but I think I’ve proved everybody wrong.”