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Former news editor follows new business ‘lead’

Victoria WestA freelance journalist and former weekly news editor has set up her own business selling bespoke dog collars and leads.

Victoria West, who worked on the newsdesk of the Hemel Hempstead Gazette until March last year, has founded Leading Puppy to allow dog owners to create unique accessories for their pets.

The business lets customers make everything from plain leather collars to more extravagant designs featuring Swarovski crystals and pearls.

Victoria, who took voluntary redundancy to focus on setting up the business in the wake of the Johnston Press-owned title’s decision to go officeless in January 2014, stills works for local newspapers on a freelance basis.

She was inspired to start Leading Puppy after getting a new Jack Russell dog named Chester.

Customers on the website can choose from three different leather types, which each come with a wide range of colour options.

All accessories are custom-made from the collar size to the type of buckle and colour stitching with other special requirements also available.

Said Victoria: “The anticipation of bringing home a new puppy meant I went into shopping mode buying all the things a dog could possibly want or need.

“But I was disappointed by the selection of collars and leads offered by major pet chains and struggled to find something that stood out from the many mass-produced products that are on the market today.”