It all started with a dog named Cider who lived with Lorraine Henrietta in an apartment in St Kilda. Now Cider was not your average white-fluffy apartment dog and Henrietta was certainly not your average dog owner.
Henrietta worked tirelessly to train Cider is as white and fluffy Maremma weighing a whopping 56kg. With an enormous task at hand, she found the biggest struggle was finding a grooming product that Cider didn’t react to. We’re talking red, hot welts! Poor baby!
So, as you do, Henrietta took it upon herself to create the ultimate natural, cleansing ‘dog wash’ around. Sourcing the best, most natural, ethical and sustainable ingredients she could get her hands on. And, to her amazement and relief – no more reactions, leaving her with a delicious smelling, silky soft, 56kg ‘lapdog’.
Discovering at the local dog park this was a common problem among many dogs (One of these chats even led her to meeting her now partner Tim and his Italian Greyhound – Cutee!), here she started making small batches for her doggy friends and suddenly the requests started flooding in. Thus Cider & Basil the Australian Lifestyle Brand for dogs and their humans was born! From the original ‘dog shampoo’ to healthy and sustainable dog treats, quirky candles and even ‘human wash’ these are products that are truly for people who call themselves dog lovers rather than just dog owners. So, if your dog is your family – then you are ‘Cider & Basil’ people.
Being a dog lover, we couldn’t wait to get to know more about Cider & Basil and try their beautiful products. We had the beautiful pleasure of getting to know more about Henrietta and her flourishing brand.
Why Cider & Basil started?
Cider & Basil started because I found it difficult finding good products for Cider. A lot of the products smell great but when you read the list of ingredients, there are pretty shocking chemicals in there that are harmful to dogs in the long run. I bought a nice smelling generic shampoo and Cider had a bad reaction to a commercial product bought from one of the big pet companies here in Australia. A bad skin reaction for an almost 60kg dog is a lot of skin surface to heal. I was so surprised at how few good products were in the market back then. Hence, I decided I wanted to curate products that are good for dogs and their owners. And to give owners access to better choices.
How Cider & Basil evolved into what they are today?
When I first started out, I focused purely on selling grooming products. We did a few tradeshows and events and I noticed that there were a few other dog grooming businesses around, and the owner of the businesses was actually qualified groomers. I did not want to compete with that. At that point in time, “lifestyle” brands were starting to become a trend, more in the fashion and homeware industry, but I noticed a shift in the trends. Hence, I merged my dog business into a lifestyle dog business. And because I realized grooming products was too niche a market for me, I noticed what the customers were buying and looking for, hence, Cider & Basil evolved into what it is today. It represents who I am as an owner of many pets and as an individual. I wanted my business to reflect my love for my pets, and that they are a huge part of me and my life. If I was to start a business, I wanted it to reflect that we are not just about the dogs but we also have the humans to care for. Especially all the work it takes to care for a dog.
Tell us a bit about your beautiful boxes and what you aim to achieve with them?
Oh I love our boxes (I may be biased), I believe receiving a box from us is not just about the lovely contents in the box, but also the experience of opening it. We fill each box with a lot of care and love and hope it translates for the customers. If you order human products from us, besides just the experience, when you open it, a huge wave of lovely fragrances will great you.
Who are your companions (furry friends) and how do they shape your business decisions?
My partner and I have two dogs and two cats. Well, he had one tiny dog haha (which is how we met) and I had the rest. I’ve attached some pictures to put a face to it. We are also expecting to add a little furry four paws sometime next month haha and we are joking if we should get a matching cat for the new pup. They are everything to us and they definitely shape our business decisions. They are the root of all our products. We sell things that we would need for our pets, things that we would love to find in stores that we cannot (hence I integrated the human shopping option to our online store, because when I shop for my pets, at times I want to spoil myself with pet-related products and there were none) or things we feel our pets will love and hence we get down to brainstorming.
As a small business owner what are some of the most important lessons, you’ve learnt along the way?
It’s ok to ask for help, always listen to your customers as they are the voices behind the brand, always trust your gut instincts and lastly keep your social life active and brainstorm with people you trust.
Is the future to you aim to branch out into other animal products?
For now or at least in the next year or two, we will be focusing on products just for dogs and their owners.
The idea is to eventually have just as many products for dogs as well as their humans. Expand the human range a little more. And make sure the human range is natural and dog friendly too. We are working on matching dog bandana and human headband and a few other exciting products. And we are launching our new bath truffles for humans and we are also going to be launching bath truffles for dogs over the next week or two.
What are your sustainable practices?
Our core values
Eco-friendly & Sustainable
A commitment to sustainability and acting in an environmentally friendly way. To help reduce our impact on the environment. Committed to selling only good products.
Good & Efficient Customer Service
The idea is, if we won’t use it on our pets and ourselves, we will not sell them.
What are your Sustainable practices?
We have swapped to using recyclable materials in our product packaging. For deliveries, we recycle packaging materials like boxes or bubble wraps and paper fillings and let our customers know we are also encouraging people to reuse and recycle our products, currently in the midst of putting together videos and articles about recycling our candle jars.
If your dog is your family – then you are ‘Cider & Basil’ people. Explore their beautiful range or treat yourself / friends and family with a beautiful gift box for both your furry friend and yourself.
www.ciderandbasil.com | @ciderandbasil