Updated: Jan 9
We couldn't be happier to feature Sally Southgate and her passionate creations over at Sally Southgate Arts in our next Furbaby Spotlight! Sally founded Lauder Tails as a pet sitter and dog walker in Fort Lauderdale, FL in 2015. With such a clever name for her business it's no shock she eventually started expressing her creativity in other ways. Using the success of her pet sitting business as her backbone, she soon began painting portraits of pets in her care. It's incredible how she was able to capture their special personalities through her beautiful original artwork. We know you'll love these unique watercolor portraits so sniff around her website for more information! We just had to know what drives Sally and her passion for pets so we asked her a few questions.
What is the most fulfilling part of owning your pet business?
The most fulfilling part of owning my pet portrait business, Sally Southgate Arts, is seeing the joy that each completed commission brings to those who have chosen to pay tribute to pets through my art. I love to hear the stories that are shared which enables me to get a feel for the pet that means so much to their owner. It gives me so much pleasure to deliver each piece and they are often received with tears of joy. People are very emotional about the pets that have become part of their family. I am truly fortunate to be able to provide memories that will last forever.
What is personally the most challenging aspect of your business?
The most challenging aspect of my business is ensuring that I do each pet justice through my art. I rarely have the opportunity to meet the pets that I paint but I want to make sure that the personality of each pet shines through. I study each photo carefully, to make sure every fine detail is captured, especially the eyes and unique characteristics which make them who they are. I often revisit a painting many times before the final version is presented as I want each one to be absolutely perfect.
What will be the biggest challenges facing the pet industry over the next five years?
I have no doubt that the many areas of the pet industry will continue to grow rapidly over the next 5 years and the biggest challenges for the pet industry will be finding ways to satisfy the demands of an increasing number of people are welcoming pets in to their hearts and home with an overwhelming passion. As the industry expands the number of business competing increases and it is important to maintain the level of services and quality of products.
People are keen to understand pet behavior and continuous research is being carried out and shared. This, together with new technology is creating many new products for both pets and their owners. Spending powers are increasing and people are willing to spend more and more dollars, the challenge is to make sure they continue to receive value for money.
What caused you to get into the pet industry?
Pets have always played an important place in my life. After spending many years in the corporate world, I decided to follow my heart and started a successful pet care business. At the time I started my pet business, I also discovered a passion for art and began painting portraits of the pets that had been in my care. When I realized how much pleasure my artwork was giving devoted pet owners, I knew this was something that I wanted to pursue and Sally Southgate Arts was born.
I love that people gain comfort from commissioning portraits as a tribute to either their own pet or as gifts to friends and family who have pets who have brought so much joy and unconditional love in to their life. I receive many commissions to honor beloved pets that have crossed the rainbow bridge. The whole process from searching through photos and relaying stories and special memories before receiving the final art seems to help with the grieving process. A pet portrait is a permanent memorial to pets who hold a special place in our heart.
What do you think will be the most important pet trends over the next five years?
As the pet trends continue to boom and people become more conscious and educated about pet behavior, pet needs and the environment, I think more attention will be paid to natural pet products and speciality customized pet services and products. As pets become an integral family member they are being made welcome in more places as they adapt to facilitate the increasing popularity of pet ownership. Pet owners are keen for their pets to enjoy the same luxuries as themselves and willing to spend to ensure that they do.
There is also much more public awareness of pet rescue which is changing attitudes towards responsible pet ownership. Social media has played a large part in the need to provide funds for the shelters and the push for adoption and finding loving homes for the many pets who deserve a second chance at life.
Pets are also providing the ultimate therapy and stress relief to satisfy our emotional and physical needs. New services are being created all the time to allow people to take advantage of the comfort that pets provide. From emotional support dogs to cat cafes, there is clearly a future for the provision of health and wellbeing through the access to pets and the comfort they provide.