Cards your dog can eat: Lancashire woman launches successful edible card company after suffering heart attack in her 20s

A Lancashire woman has turned a fun project to keep busy in lockdown into a succesful global company, as she has created the first-ever edible dog card.

By Aimee Seddon
Sunday, 26th June 2022, 4:55 am

Scoff Paper founder Gemma Connolly, 37, started experimenting with potato peelings in lockdown trying to make edible paper for her dog Loki, but fast forward two years and she has done deals with companies like Pets at Home and John Lewis, and has enquiries from all over the world.

Gemma, a Guide Dogs for the Blind Ambassador, said: “Dog lovers and their dogs just love the fun that Scoff Paper brings. We are all about fun that we can have with our four-legged friends and I think that is something that’s really missing in the doggy world.”

The business sells personalised edible cards for all occasions, and has already won numerous awards, but Gemma says her path to success has not been plain sailing.

Gemma Connolly from Lancashire founded 'Scoff' during lockdown, a company which sells occasion cards that your dog can eat!

When she was just 27, Gemma collapsed at work and was rushed to hospital, where two days later she had her pacemaker fitted.

Explaining how the experience inspired her business, Gemma said: “I had a heart attack when I was in my twenties which was brought on from stress at work so ever since then I’ve always dreamt of working for myself and being able to live and work on my own terms.

“I’ve always loved dogs, and having raised and trained 12 guide dog puppies, the doggies are a huge part of my life.

“Because we only get a guide dog puppy for the first 12 months of their life, I always throw lots of parties and celebrations for them. It was when I had a dog called Loki that I threw him a birthday party and he tried to eat his card – at that point I had a bit of a brainwave and – could I make cards that dogs can actually eat?”

Gemma is a Guide Dogs for the Blind Ambassador and all-round dog lover.

Gemma and her partner, co-founder Matthew Fairhurst, set about devising ways in which they could make edible cards a reality.

She added: “We originally started experimenting with ingredients on the kitchen table not really imagining how far we could take it but I just had this feeling it could be something.

“After months and months of testing and trialling different methods, we were confident enough to go to local pet stores and see what they thought of our crazy idea.”

Gemma first sold the cards on Etsy and then in pet stores and garden centres in her local town, Chorley.

Scoff has made deals with companys like Pets at Home, John Lewis and Clinton Cards.

“It’s grown really organically week on week since then,” Gemma explained. “It’s amazing that within our first year of trading we are already working with the likes of Pets at Home and Clintons. I can’t quite believe it.

“We’ve recently gone international too, having visited our first trade show overseas. We’re having conversations with firms all over the world - from the USA to Australia. It’s amazing!”

From starting in the kitchen with just 48 cards at a time, the company now has a two-floor, 10,000 sq ft unit where more than 20,000 cards leave the doors every month.

Gemma added: “It’s still very much a family-run business and that’s how we want it to stay. We really care about Scoff Paper, our products, our customers and of course, their dogs!”

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Scoff Paper is the world’s first-ever natural (rawhide free) edible dog card, with all products being made with natural ingredients, primarily potatoes, as well as being vegan, gluten, grain and wheat free.

The cards come in bacon, beef, cheese, chicken and peanut flavour, or unflavoured if preferred.

In terms of awards, Scoff Cards have been named Pet Industry Federation’s Innovation Business Winner 2021, Best Start-up Winner 2021 at BiBAS, Best New Product Winner 2021 at the Virtual Pet Index Awards, and Best New Product Winner 2021 at GLEE.