Former Leading Hand Brian Downham, left the Forces after completing 22 years’ service in the Royal Navy, and he has now built his own business, the K9 Playground! This unique playground for dogs has over 25 agility obstacles for dogs and their owners to use. The K9 Playground also offers the option for owners to use their dog day care centre if they want to go into Par market (St Austell).
When and why did you join the Forces?
1974, to be independent.
How many tours/deployments did you do and where?
HMS’s Daedalus (Lee On Solent), Heron (Yeovil) Seahawk (Cornwall), Hermes (x3) and RFANSU (RFA Naval Support Unit) RFA’s Fort Austin and Grange (including the first Gulf war).
What made you decide to set up your own business?
I have been around dogs since I was 15 months old and my grandmother had boarding kennels. Whilst I have 2 diplomas in Canine Behaviour and Psychology, a lack of professional experience meant I still couldn’t get a job with dogs, so I decided to start my own business.
What advice would you give to other people, thinking about becoming an entrepreneur?
Market research is very important, you MUST know your market. Even with non-dog owners I’ve had a 100% positive feedback, but as this is the first of its kind I also have the curiosity factor on my side.
Allow more than enough time for suppliers to deliver, nothing runs smoothly.
How has X-Forces helped you?
I have always wanted to work with dogs, a dream I’ve had since I was 10 or 12, 2 years ago I had an idea, and now thanks to X-Forces my dream is now a reality!