A new shop specialising in customised indoor enclosures and bedding for pets has opened in Freshwater.
The shop, Wight Animal Enclosures, is based in School Green Road and run by Martin O’Connor and Laura Harding. The couple’s venture started after Martin, a carpenter, was laid off from his job with a Cowes boat company during lockdown. He explained: “I’d built something for our own rabbit and other people had asked me to make bits and pieces for them. We started to put things online and suddenly it just took off and we were getting orders from all over the place. We decided to open up a shop because we were running out of storage room.
“I build and design the enclosures and they are customised to suit each particular pet. We make stackable boxes for small rats and ferrets and bigger enclosures for larger pets. We want the animals to be comfortable and have plenty of space and we encourage owners to have the enclosures built bigger where possible.
“When I’m approached by someone to make an enclosure, I will pay them a visit and see their layout then I will make a 3-d design to show them exactly what they will be buying.”
As well as the enclosures, Laura designs her own bedding, pillows and swing pet hammocks. She said: “I get asked to do all sorts of designs, including Harry Potter hammocks. I’ll buy the material and sew it all together, we also have a machine which makes the custom vinyl transfers.”
The couple have an autistic son, Bruce 5, who is often in the shop helping feed their goldfish and play with their mouse, Julius Cheeser.
Martin added: “We encourage people to come in with their pets and we have had a couple of ferrets running around inside, George loves to see the animals.
“We’re also working with the RSPCA and West Wight Men in Sheds to help promote their goods, so we are looking at giving something back locally.”