A bakery for dogs? Four Legged Fancies' canine confections are going down a treat with pet lovers and winning celebrity fans
You might not think twice about treating your friends and family to a slice of cake, but would you do the same for your dog?
It may sound like an indulgence too far, but Victoria Stent, owner of the Four Legged Fancies bakery for dogs, says a positive message lies behind her tasty treats.
And her business is going down well with pet lovers, securing a deal with the Pets at Home chain, as well as winning over some celebrity fans - including Gogglebox's Steph and Dom, model Georgia May Jagger and actor Warwick Davies.
Gogglebox's Steph and Dom fed Daschund Gigi Victoria's peanut butter marbles
Victoria came up with the idea for the bakery after becoming increasingly concerned about the 'nasties' that lay within regular treats for dogs.
The 35-year-old, from Somerset, started off selling her homemade doggy treats at farmers' markets, but the success of her products has led to a deal with Pets at Home, which sells her signature 'Bangers N Mash pupcakes'.
She admits that for those who aren't quite as pet-obsessed, cakes for dogs may seem like a gimmick.
'I do think people who have never had dogs in their life would think like that but as soon as you have one you realise how much you love them and how much they are part of your family,' she says.
'Why wouldn't you want to treat them to something fun?'
Another criticism is that the concept of a canine bakery is simply unhealthy, in an era when between 30 and 60 per cent of dogs are overweight.
But Victoria insists that her homemade creations, which are preservative and colour free, are healthy.
'When people approach the stall and you can see they aren’t too sure what to think we explain to them that all of our treats are wheat-free, natural and hand-made. People are actually very savvy these days when it comes to pet nutrition so they know what they are looking for.'
A bakery with a twist: Victoria Stent's cakes are perfect for pets and have built her business
After her doggy delights started life at farmers' markets around the South West, they soon grew in popularity.
Victoria said: 'I would trundle off with everything stuffed in the back of my boyfriend’s car and come home with just about enough money to buy the ingredients for the following weekend.
'I was so pleased with the comments I was getting and the amount of repeat customers I was getting, especially as so many people were coming to me with specific allergies their dogs had and I knew there was a real market for something natural, healthy and fun for dogs so decided to go for it.'
Doggy delights: These baked goods may look like a treat but they contain natural ingredients
Since she went full-time in 2014, Four Legged Fancies has attracted quite the celebrity following.
Model and Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger's daughter, Georgia May Jagger, treated her dog to some of the biscuits as part of a Valentine's Day Hamper, while actor Warwick Davis's dog Sherlock enjoyed a 'woof bar' as part of his Jeans for Genes day goody bag.
The cast of Gogglebox have also got in on the action with Buster, vicar Kate's greyhound, tucking into the 'Greedy Chops' hamper, while Steph and Dom's daschund reportedly loves the peanut butter marbles.
Canine companion: Georgia May Jagger treated her dog to a Valentine's Day Hamper
Four Legged Fancies' most popular offering is the £1.50 'Bangers N Mash pupcake', a gluten-free chicken cupcake topped with sausages.
But for those who really want to spoil their canine companion there is the personalised birthday cake, decorated with your dog's name in puppy chocolate for £20.
And for the dog that has everything, Victoria has just launched a 'doggy party package' which includes an edible pass the parcel, birthday cake and playlist.
Over the past few years, her bakery has won six awards at agricultural shows including a recent first prize from the Usk agricultural show for best trade stand.
Family affair: The entrepreneur has roped in her parents and fiance to help with the business
The entrepreneur explains: 'We do not have a physical shop so move around the agricultural shows and food festivals which is great because I get to travel around with my products rather than having the overheads of a store.
'I have always made an effort with the way the products are made and presented and make an effort to make the stall look beautiful.
'I know that the dogs may not appreciate the presentation and decoration that goes into each cake but people do and they enjoy being in a stall that looks beautiful.'
Business has boomed over the past three years and Four Legged Fancies' projected turnover for 2016 is £103,000.
At present, it is still very much a family affair, with Victoria's mum packaging up the treats, her dad overseeing mail orders, and her fiancee helping out at trade shows.
Victoria: 'I knew there was a real market for this'
However, she says this is going to change: 'I will definitely take someone on next year as the business is growing so quickly I can barely keep up!'
Victoria's products are now sold in small farm shops and pet friendly hotels, as well as specialist online retailers.
Of course, success attracts rivals looking for a slice of the action, but Victoria says the competition doesn't phase her.
'A big issue has been copycats - people see my business and think it looks easy. They copy my ideas, my products and even my stall layout and it used to really bother me, now I see it as a compliment and as an opportunity to up my game.
'Copycats come and go and once they see just how much effort goes into running a business like this they realise it isn't for them.'
Victoria's life was quite different before she started the bakery - although naturally animals played a big part.
She worked as a researcher on the National Bats and Wind Turbine Project, using her sniffer dog 'Ozzy' to find bat carcasses beneath wind turbines to monitor the effect wind farms had on bat populations.
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Although not a dog owner herself, Victoria has been around them all her life as her family trains guide dogs for the blind.
She says: 'Some of my earliest memories are playing with little puppies and being surrounded by dogs. They have always been such a huge part of my life from the day I was born so it's been a natural progression for me.'
Even now her business has taken off, Victoria still works as a volunteer rescuing injured or sick bats and hedgehogs to fix them up and return them to the wild.
Starting her own business been tough, but she says it's worth it for the satisfaction.
'I love being my own boss. I can be as creative as I like and always bring a bit of fun to the shows I attend. Plus I get to play with dogs all day for a living!
'This business has consumed my life but it's a success because I love what I do. You can’t just reach 5pm and switch off - I regularly lose my weekends as I am always at shows and it can be tough trying to balance work with friends and family.'
The next step will be to expand Four Legged Fancies' distribution network and take sell the treats in shops all over the country.