Hays Travel’s Petersfield branch manager Fiona Jeffery spoke to Jennifer Morris about her team raising money for a much-loved local charity by making and selling bandanas for dogs.
Q: What is Handmade by Hays and who came up with the idea?
A: Handmade by Hays is a fundraising project put together by the staff at Hays Travel in Petersfield. We are designing and selling hand-made dog bandanas with 100% of the profits going to the Hounds for Heroes charity, also based in Petersfield. We spent a lot of time planning what we could do for our chosen charity, and wanted to think of something that would be an ongoing fundraiser. It was important to think of something people would associate with the assistance dogs, hence the decision to make the bandanas. All Hays Travel branches are encouraged to support their local community and it is great that we have the opportunity to become involved with a charity of our choice.
Q: What is Hounds for Heroes?
A: Hounds for Heroes provides specially trained assistance dogs to injured and disabled people from the UK Armed Forces and the emergency services. It is a local charity with a prominent presence in Petersfield - the volunteers are often seen in the High Street training the dogs. We are all dog lovers and we believe that what the founder, Allen Parton, has created for people who have committed themselves to protecting members of the public is so admirable, we want to offer our support in whatever way we can.
Q: Who makes the bandanas?
A: I studied textiles at sixth form college so it was decided that I would manage the making of them. We also have a Facebook page Facebook.com/handmadebyhays, which we run ourselves, plus we do need to keep track of stock, shop for materials and lots of other little things, so everybody has a job to do. The bandanas are only £5 each.
Q: How have your customers responded to the campaign?
A: We have a bandana being modelled in the front of our shop by Russell (a life-size Jack Russell plush) and we have also created a dedicated display in the side window, which has attracted quite a few buyers. A lot of our clients have also expressed an interest not only in the bandanas, but also in becoming ‘puppy parents’. Anyone who lives within 25 miles of the Hounds for Heroes training centre in Petersfield, is home most of the day, has a secure dog-friendly garden and use of a car to attend puppy classes once a week, can apply to be a puppy parent.
Q: Has the fundraising been good for staff morale?
A: We all enjoy running the fundraiser and are driven to do well. The people who support us – not only through buying the bandanas but by talking about the project or liking and sharing our Facebook page – really do help us to succeed and we couldn’t do it without them. We are hoping to continue fundraising indefinitely.
Fiona's sales tips
2008: Joined Hays Travel (Bath Travel) in Petersfield as assistant manager and became manager later that year.
Previous: Joined Lunn Poly in the 90s and enjoyed a long career with Thomson.
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