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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 20 November, 2014

Gerbils to dogs: Donegal students hope for success with pet coffin business

The Donegal students said many people are willing to spend a bit of money to give their pet a good send-off.

Conor McBride (16), left, and Shaun Sweeney (16) from St. Columbas, Stranorlar from County Donegal with their business idea for pet coffins.
Conor McBride (16), left, and Shaun Sweeney (16) from St. Columbas, Stranorlar from County Donegal with their business idea for pet coffins.
Image: Mark Stedman

LOSING A PET can be difficult for many people, with many not knowing how to go about burying their beloved pet.

A group of young students from Donegal, who entered this year’s Student Enterprise Awards, hope to make a go of their new business venture – coffins for pets or Peffins, as they call them.

Peffins was established in October 2013 by five students , Conor McBride, Carl Dunnion, Shaun Sweeney, Darren Bonner and Oisin O’Brien from St Columba’s secondary school in Stranolar in County Donegal.

Family pet

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Conor McBride said they came up with the idea of coffins for pets when one of their close family friend’s pet died.

“They were looking for a coffin of some kind to bury their pet in, but they couldn’t find anything in the local area,” said McBride.

Similar products online were quite expensive, so McBride said they knew that reasonable pricing was key if they wanted to make a success of the new business venture.

“We knew that if we priced it too dear then people wouldn’t buy it, but we also need to make a profit,” he said.

The wooden coffins come in all sizes – small enough for pet gerbils or hamsters and larger ones for cats and dogs.

Large coffins for medium-sized dogs cost from €40. Coffins can also be customised so that you can leave a personalised message to your pet.

Oisin O’Brien said that while a few people laughed at the idea at first when they were conducting their market research, they have had great feedback from people.

Burial

“If people care about their pets, many people are willing to spend a bit of money to give them a sending off in the best way possible,” said O’Brien.

McBride explained that since they were nominated at the Student Enterprise Awards, they have continued to work on the business, saying that each member of the group is responsible for  different aspect of the business such as production, finance, sales and marketing.

“We have a number of stockists in Donegal and Sligo, but we are hoping to expand into neighbouring counties also and then nationwide if possible,” said O’Brien.

“We really enjoyed the whole process and we hope to make a go of it,” said McBride, who said that they hope to launch their website soon.

When asked if the next stop was Dragon’s Den, McBride said, “you never know”.

If you would like find out more about Peffins, visit their Facebook page here.

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