Jenny Matthews is living the dog-lover’s dream. As a boutique owner for furry friends, she aptly, and proudly, says she starts her day on the floor, surrounded by puppies. Her stores, Love My Human and Love My Human Townhouse now occupy two properties along the King’s Road.
“We first opened our shop, Love My Human, at 308 King’s Road in June 2018, and then on the strength of Love My Human, we opened Love My Human Townhouse three years’ later, which is a dog-friendly café, offering luxurious dog day care, holistic care rooms, and a grooming room for puppies and older dogs.”
Having set up just two years before lockdown, the business has spent most of its life under Covid-19 guidelines, though this hasn’t stopped the company from remaining versatile and flexible to emerging challenges:
“When lockdown happened, we weren’t sure where we stood, because grooming wasn’t essential, but the boutique sold food and care products for dogs, so we worked quickly to add to our stock of essential products for dogs and turned it into a dog supermarket.
Whilst lockdown affected the business initially (Jenny tells me that over 50% of the business was from grooming) when reopening occurred, she saw the business continuing to offer local residents a bit of normality. “People were bringing their children in just to come in. it was a real community hub.”
“We recovered quite well from lockdown;he only challenge is really around the dogs! Lockdown puppies who weren’t socialised have a lot of separation anxiety but we’re very well trained to deal with this. I hope our style of resilience has added to the strength of our business. We’ve witnessed everything possible, we know how to deal with these issues, and we know how to advise owners.”
That idea of ‘full care’ for dog and owner has continued beyond the lockdown years, and beyond the menu of dog grooming options. Love My Human was joined in 2018 by Love My Human Townhouse, offering a café for owners waiting for their dogs’ groom, or many owners and dogs who enjoy the canine-friendly environment. Jenny tells me it has left the company stable and with a strong and returning customer base.
“Love My Human is a very holistic company, we don’t just push goods to dog owners. We like to think that we take care of owners. The café provides a community hub, where people can come, sit and recuperate. We like to think that we provide nutritional care for dogs and for their owners, too!
“For customers that join us without dogs we find that people come in because they’ve moved over from another country, leaving their pets behind and just want to be around dogs because they miss their own.”
They say that if you love what you do then you’ll never go to work in your life, and Jenny finds it difficult to name just one part of the store she enjoys.
“I love every part of the business. It’s what keeps me going. From the moment I walk in and I see the dogs in the shop, I have to greet them. Then I do my rounds, I pop into the grooming room and to really lower the blood pressure, I go to the creche. When you walk in its puppies galore, and you’re mobbed.”
And when Jenny isn’t in the store, where does she enjoy visiting on the King’s Road?
“Oh my goodness! Well I love Designer’s Guild.. I really love all the independent shops, but I’m also a big fan of Peter Jones which is my ‘go-to’ for everything practical. Their kitchen and lighting departments are amazing. Then the Duke of York Square on the weekends, (I pretty much eat my way through the market!) I knew a lot of the shops on the King’s Road before we moved here, which is why we opened there. It’s always been my favourite all time road for shopping and eating.
“I mustn’t forget The [Café] Colbert , which is incredible, though I can never get in! I also have to mention 50 Cheney which is my one of my favourites. Then The Chelsea Pig, Bluebird… all of it!”
Love My Human is open 10am – 6pm Monday to Saturday and 12pm – 5pm Sunday, at 308 King’s Road. Love My Human Townhouse is open 9am – 6pm Monday to Saturday and 10am – 5pm Sundays, at 330 King’s Road.
Look out! Love My Human Townhouse will appear on an upcoming episode of The Apprentice, BBC 1, Thursday evenings at 9 pm.