denise elphick and rufus and heidi

The co-founder of tells us all about their new pet trend report! 

Words: Simon Glazin             Pictures: Rikki Percival

It's unusual for me to be distracted from two oh-so-cute dogs when I arrive at someone's house (even though they were barking at my ankles). Ordinarily I would be lavishing them with strokes and cuddles. But Denise Elphick's house stole my attention.

From the outside, it's a handsome white pile that's not out of place in the area of South London she lives in. But inside, although the white theme continues, it's like a super-chic art gallery - and not just because of the paintings hanging majestically on the walls. You'll find a gold pig statute on the mantelpiece, glistening chandeliers, lovely 18th-century furniture, a grand piano, and lots of pink upholstery. Plus a rather large pink four poster bed! (Above)

Denise has an eye for detail. She is, after all,'s creative director. And before that Denise and her entrepreneur friend, Karen Hanton, co-founded TopTable, the restaurant reviewing and booking site. She clearly knows what works and what doesn't. Interiors and all. 

Denise and Karen launched Pets Pyjamas in 2011, offering up amazing pet accessories from brands not stocked anywhere else. Glossy editorial soon followed, and now the site is popular for its dog-friendly travel section - book a trip through the site and get exclusive deals and perks. Denise says: “Rufus and Heidi are our pet inspectors. They turn up in little tweed coats and hats."

Before her foray into the online world, Denise worked in PR before becoming a journalist after having her daughter, Camilla (the shoe designer who featured on site recently, here). She wrote about lifestyle and travel for the Evening Standard and the Sunday Telegraph. 

Scroll down to hear about the current pet trends on and all about Rufus's talking! 

"Having two dogs means having two best friends who are always reliable and loyal."

On having dogs: Having two dogs means having two best friends who are always reliable and loyal.  I love their company and like nothing better than curling up on the sofa for a Netflix night with them! Having Rufus and Heidi means lots of walks and as they are very social and steer me towards all our favourite cafes - their favourite is Hallys, at the end of our road.

On PetsPyjamas: I got involved with PetsPyjamas as a previous founder of TopTable, the restaurant booking website. I was invited to join by Karen Hanton as she knew I had Rufus and was mad about dogs so it made perfect sense! I think to do what we do you have to really love pets. I am responsible really for the look and feel of the site and liaising with travel partners and media.  Its always fun and challenging and we are so delighted that people seem to love our pet concierge service which books pet-friendly holidays.

On pet trends:  We have just published a pet trend report - the findings show that people want to take their pets with them everywhere! On holiday, even on honeymoon, to breakfast, brunch and dinner!   We were also amazed at just how many people had met their partner, friends or even business contacts through their dogs.

In terms of trends in fashion and accessories - personalisation and pet tech are the top trends - our top sellers include personalised pet birthday cakes, blankets, towels and pet treat boxes and on the pet tech side we are now selling a new tracking device that you can use to track your pet’s fitness. 

Rufus and Heidi’s top treat is being taken away for pet-friendly weekends - they have been to Cliveden, The Old Swan and Minster, Bailiffscourt, the Four Seasons Hampshire - they love all the fuss they receive and always behave beautifully.


On her interiors style: I love white boards and a clean Swedish look with pops of colour. I got a lot of my ideas from my friend Lena Proudlock. She came up with the idea of mirroring the doors and sourced a lot of the chandeliers.  

On her daily routine: I get up really early to take the dogs for a walk and then we pop into cafe Hallys. If I am going into work at Shoreditch I drive in early (or sometimes take the boat to Blackfriars) with the dogs in tow. They love it at the office and its sometimes hard to get them to leave. If I am not taking them in they go to Richmond park with Barry, the dog jogger who they adore.

On career advice: My advice would be always take a chance, it might just work. Also don’t be put off by the naysayers - there are always people who will discourage you. My daughter Camilla recently set up her shoe design business which is going really well so far.  Another piece of advice is not to give up too easily - things never go according to plan so just keep going!

On her favourite Heidi & Rufus tale: I love their enthusiasm. Norfolk terriers actually speak (or at least make a sort of howling noise when they want your attention),  I love it when Rufus makes this noise when he wants one of his toys from the toy box in the sitting room. This was one of my best buys - it’s a rattan bone shaped box that keeps all their toys tidy and it's fun when Rufus demands it is opened and picks out his favourite toys. Then the two of them have a fun tussle with it.

On the breed of dog she'd be:  Definitely a Norfolk terrier - they are so full of fun and a power for the good. They make people smile.

One thing people should know about her: I hope they know that I am always positive and try to see the good side of everything!