A new pet gift business has been launched selling original homeware items made from plastic which can be recycled.
Shadow Shapes was set up in December and combines people’s love for their animals and flair for interior design.
It is a spin-off from Bruce Adam’s long-established business Marketec which has been operating for the past 26 years.
Bruce, from Ferryhill, has been designing and making specialised visualisation and planning tools for all types of businesses ever since.
He said: “My business, Shadow Shapes, offers environmentally friendly ‘shapes’ that are flexible and can be displayed in a range of places in the home, garden, or shed – anywhere with an empty ledge.
“Many of our customers place their displays on top of work monitors to liven up their home office or on top of their bookshelves and doors as a decorative piece of artwork, inspired by their pet.
“The shapes – available in two set sizes, either a five-piece shorter set or a seven-piece longer set – are designed to match each customer’s requirements.
“We currently stock over 40 breeds of dogs and have begun building a cat selection for feline family members.
“We have all the popular breeds from dachshunds and labradors to cavapoos and Jack Russells. But we are good at turning our hand to any breed or shape of dog – you name it, we will do our very best to supply it.
“For less common breeds and crosses, our customers are often keenly helpful in providing photographs and images to help us complete our design sets.
“We look for suitable poses of the breeds lying, sitting, standing, walking, running and jumping – all the kind of things dogs do.
“It really is a lot of fun and very inspiring for us to see how passionate our customers feel about their pets.
“The shapes are designed for easy assembly and re-assembly. Customers are required to simply click the base rails together and slide each of their dog shapes along it.
“They spark those memories or stories and create a relevant scene that you can change and interact with – giving your memories and stories legs!”
Bruce says pet gift business Shadow Shapes is entirely the result of having to get creative and “think outside the box amidst a bleak 2020 for business”.
“The pandemic forced me to take a closer look at changing trends,” he added. “I realised the need to diversify to meet changing consumer needs was essential.
“I attended a business-focused webinar where the upsurge in dog ownership was highlighted as being one of the few areas outside healthcare that was booming.
“As I had already done some work with silhouettes and shapes with our first diversification into corporate and commemorative clocks, it felt like a natural progression to arrive at Shadow Shapes.
“And crucially, we were able to design and make things very quickly as it also utilised the same materials, skills and equipment that our core business has been honing over many years.
“With regards to promotion – for a small, local business such as Shadow Shapes, we felt our online presence was key so we prioritised online marketing.
“We developed our website, social media channels, and of course our Etsy store.
“I am delighted that we have recently partnered with a local store here in Aberdeen, Dog Days Emporium, who have very kindly allowed us to set up a pop-up stall in their shop in Constitution Street.
“Dog Days owner Kate is dedicated to supporting local businesses and I am extremely grateful to her for giving us an opportunity to tap into a captive audience to promote Shadow Shapes to a wider market.
“I am hopeful as the business continues to grow, that we will be able to employ a larger team.
“I believe it’s important to invest in local talent. I would love to have a team of homegrown designers from our diverse north-east corner.
“There are so many local design enthusiasts and professionals ready to develop their skills, so I would love to shine a light on quality local talent and be able to give design students or recent graduates the chance to kickstart their careers.”
The North East Now initiative shares Bruce’s drive to support local businesses and talent.
Driven by Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce and backed by creative agency Hampton and Aberdeen Journals, the campaign has been encouraging people to do what they can to support the local economies in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire since its launch last June.
Bruce said: “I know that many of our customers have expressed an interest in supporting local businesses.
“To have a bright and fresh platform available like North East Now, to help small business owners get our name out there and develop a wider awareness of our new products is fantastic.
“The response we have had so far to Shadow Shapes has been very encouraging. People really seem to like our product as it’s truly unique; there really is nothing else like it on the market.
“It’s quirky and fun, and I think we could all use some fun in our lives at the moment.
“The shapes bring a different dimension to your home or office space and really help to lift your mood.
“I also think the fact that it is a product that people can attach positive emotions to really helps. The display connects to the real feeling of pride and joy held by all pet owners.
“I love the responses we get from customers when they tell us the shapes look exactly like the silhouette of their own pet.
“It definitely makes us feel like we’ve done our job right and that we are spreading joy at a time when it is most definitely needed.
“Looking ahead, I’m excited to keep working hard to grow Shadow Shapes to its full potential – and to remember it’s a process and take it step-by-step.
“Despite all my years in business, I am realising that in order to have a successful medium-sized business, I first need to work on growing a successful small business.
“I am going to keep working on building our success day by day and look to the future as a profitable medium-sized business owner with a talented team supporting me.”
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