AN entrepreneurial Colchester pair have launched a business inspired by their passion for pugs.

Thanks to funding secured through a Government business loan Bradley Sheldrick, 25, and Michael Gaga-Hale, 24, realised their dream of setting up TopDog Harnesses.

The business sells reversible harnesses which have been designed by Mr Sheldrick.

Four different harnesses are on sale with £1 from each purchase going

to support a different good cause - Make a Wish, the Pink Ribbon Foundation, the Thrive rehabilitation project and, aptly the Bubblbecca Pug Rescue.

Mr Sheldrick said: “We have two black pugs called Alfie and George.

“Generally when you buy a harness with pugs on it, it is always fawn coloured ones. We couldn’t find anything with black ones.

“I wanted to create our own so I drew the first harness and we were looking to get one made but we were told it would cost £100.

“The person who was making it said the more you buy the cheaper it gets so it snowballed from there.

“The black pug on one design is actually based on George, I traced around a photo of him for it.”

After spotting a gap in the market, the advertising worker started creating more harness designs and Mr Gaga-Hale, a paramedic, worked on securing start-up funding for the new business.

Mr Sheldrick said: “We managed to secure a Government loan to purchase our first order.

“We are extremely grateful for the support. We would not have been able to do it without it.

“I designed all of them and Michael was the one who sourced the supplier and sorted out the loan.

“Most of our competitors source designers or prints to use but we have done all of them from our own thoughts and ideas.”

The business hosted a special launch party at Colchester Canine Creche, in Moss Road, Stanway.

Colchester’s MP Will Quince and his sprocker spaniel Charlie were invited as the guests of honour.

Mr Sheldrick said: “The launch event went really well and we had

a queue of people waiting to get inside.

“We were not really expecting to sell any but we sold lots on the day.

“We are a third of a way to making enough revenue in order to place another order and we are already working on new designs too.”

TopDog Harnesses are available to purchase online and will soon be available in Made and Found, in Scheregate Steps, Colchester. The

duo also plan to sell them to fellow dog-lovers at meet-ups across Colchester.

He said: “At the moment it is not our full-time jobs but something we love to do together.

“It stops us just sitting in front of the TV in the evenings.

“Maybe that will change in the future.”

To find out more, visit or search @topdogharnesses on Instagram.