Rural Women NZ: Sled-dog gear venture

Rose Voice has won the supreme national award for enterprising rural women. She was honoured with this year's Enterprising Rural Women Award for her business, The Real Dog Equipment Company.

"The Real Dog Equipment Company is an example of what can be achieved when you have a passion and are willing to follow your dreams," said Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) national president Liz Evans.

Voice set out by making harnesses and collars for her sled-racing dogs. This has grown into a business producing quality animal equipment designed by Voice, and manufactured by her and her husband at the company's purpose-built premises near Ranfurly.

"What started as a hobby has grown into an impressive venture producing a wide range of equipment for dogs, alpacas and horses. The Real Dog Equipment Company even exports sled-dog equipment to Alaska, the home of sled dog racing," said Evans.

The judges were impressed by Voice's innovation and dedication to producing high-quality products with good growth potential. They also appreciated Voice's community involvement, often repairing sports gear for local children.

Voice also won the Fly Buys Online Business Award 2012 category. Most of her company's sales are conducted through the internet, which has allowed her to move from the city back to her roots in Central Otago. She also uses the internet to upload instruction videos on training dogs and using her equipment.

RWNZ also announced winners in two other categories. The Telecom North Island Award 2012 was won by Kylie Gibbard of Emkay, a specialty bra manufacturing business based at Koputaroa, near Levin. The judges were impressed by Gibbard's drive. "Kylie has a strong vision and a can-do attitude that have helped her to take a problem, find a solution and turn the answer into an enterprise with huge potential," said Evans.

After launching the Emkay bra just two years ago, the company has already broken into the Australian market and is rapidly building its stockist base in New Zealand. The Emkay bra is sold solely through stores, following retailer training.

The Access Homehealth South Island Award 2012 winner was Jenny Scott of Livestock Office, a stock agent brokering software company. The business is based in Bannockburn, near Cromwell.

"Jenny has over 20 years' experience in the market, a solid client base and a proven product," said Evans.

Livestock Office is used by livestock brokering firms throughout the country, and is the only specialised livestock brokering software developed in New Zealand for local conditions.

- Hamilton News

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