DURING her school days, Elle Whittaker suffered from bullying and mental health problems.

She fended off these troubles on the football pitch, playing football for Crosfields JFC and taking on coaching and refereeing roles as well as players’ representative on the committee.

She was named the FA’s Rising Star of the Year for the north west when she was just 15 in recognition of going the extra mile as a young volunteer in the grassroots game.

Fast forward five years, and the 20-year-old, who lives in Birchwood, has taken that drive and determination into the world of business, launching El’s Pawfection Dog Grooming.

On National Love Your Pet Day – Tuesday, February 20, which is a whole day dedicated to our fur babies and feathered friends and giving them a little bit extra love and attention – Elle shares her experience of opening up a new business as a teenager.

She tells us about The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme and the support they provide and how a passion for animal welfare led her to open her own business.

If you would like your business to feature in the Warrington Guardian, email heidi.summerfield@newsquest.co.uk

Elle has always been passionate about animal welfare

Elle has always been passionate about animal welfare

What’s your full name?

Elle Whittaker

What’s the name of the business?

El’s Pawfection Dog Grooming

What’s the address?

260a Padgate Lane


WA11 3LA

Are you the owner/manager?

I’m the owner

When did you open the business?

I opened the business in June 2023.

Has it always been in the same location?

No. I originally opened up from home but then relocated last month to the new premises on Padgate Lane.

Are you local to the area? Did you grow up here?

We have lived in the area since 2007. I was four-years-old when we moved here.

Tell me a bit about your business

I operate an holistic dog grooming business. I also offer a drop off and pick up service to people who can’t get to the shop.

Elle opened her new premises in June last year

Elle opened her new premises in June last year

What do you do? What services do you provide?

I provide all aspects of dog grooming from full grooms and de-sheds to nail clippings. All the services are carried out using the best products on the market which means I can offer the best possible care to the animals.


Warrington's top ten pet businesses on National Love Your Pet Day

Why did you decide to open your own business?

Having worked in some groomers in the past, I had seen how care wasn’t always at the top of people’s agenda. Equally, the quality of the products that were used weren’t always the best. I wanted to open my own business and offer the best of everything as it’s only what the animals deserve.

What’s your business background?

I was accepted onto The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Scheme and I’m mentored by people on the programme. The scheme has helped more than 90,000 young people to start their own business, working with 18 to 30-year-olds. They provide help and support every step of the way when you want to open your own business.

Why this type of business?

I’ve always been interested in animal welfare so this is my dream job.

Elle sends photos and videos to customers so they can see their dogs enjoying their pamper session

Elle sends photos and videos to customers so they can see their dogs enjoying their pamper session

Were you open before/during/after the Covid-19 pandemic? How did this affect your business?

I trained during the Covid-19 pandemic and opened up after the birth of my little girl. She who was 11 months old when I opened the business last summer.

What makes your business different to others in the same area/field? What sets your business apart from your competitors?

What sets me apart from other similar businesses is the personal touch that I offer. I am an animal lover at heart and always want the very best for all the animals in my care. I treat every dog as if he or she were my own and I love building up a relationship with each of them. If a dog is nervous, I will take time to meet with the owners and get to know their dog. I also offer videos and pictures during the grooming sessions so owners can see that their dog is in safe hands.

Why do loyal customers return to your business?

If you look at the reviews we have on Facebook, you will see they like the personal touch and the care that’s been given at all times. I feel that is our USP.

What’s next? What do the next few months hold for you and your business?

We are looking at potentially taking on another groomer. I also want to open longer hours and over more days to cope with demand.