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Niche market . . . Nic Carter and Karly Pearson, with Ollie the dog and daughter Madeline (nine months), have started a new pet cremation business Little and Loved Cremations, from their home near Hampden. PHOTO: ASHLEY SMYTH

Nic Carter and Karly Pearson have always known they wanted to run their own business.

What they did not know, until more recently, was pet cremations would be that business.

Little and Loved Cremations, at their home near Hampden, has been running for about a month, offering a service that, until now, could only be offered by the local veterinary clinics in North Otago.

Miss Pearson, who was on maternity leave from her job as an accountant, and Mr Carter, who also owned Carter Construction, were looking for their own “niche” business.

The couple were at last year’s Kaikoura Hop classic car show, and met some people from Whanganui who ran a pet cremation business.

Recognising a gap in the market in North Otago, they did some research and were encouraged by the feedback they received, particularly from the local veterinary clinics, when pitching the idea of launching their own pet cremation business.

“They were having major delays, like if you took your animal to the vet, you might not get it back for six weeks people quite like to get their animal back faster than that,” Mr Carter said.

The Veterinary Centre had been “brilliant” and had been the source of all their business so far, he said. People could also approach Little and Loved Cremations personally.

Pets were important members of the family, and owners liked to have something to remember them by.

If the cremation was organised through the vet, a package was made up for the owner, including a certificate of cremation, a poem, and the ashes were set into a scatterbox or urn, depending on the owner’s preference.

There was the option of timber or stainless steel urns, and also laser engraving.

The couple were also in talks with a company that was working on turning ash into jewellery, and were hoping to offer that by February.

A point of difference Little and Loved offered was that it guaranteed only one animal was cremated at a time.

Some pet owners were not aware, but often cremations were carried out with multiple animals in the cremator at one time, Mr Carter said.

“We did our research and bought the sort of top-of-the-line latest thing we physically could.”

The machine produced less emissions and offered people that more specialised service.

“We sort of went to do it, we might as well do it properly’.”

The pair, due to get married in February, said it was impossible to plan in advance when they would be busy. It was also something they had mixed feelings about, Miss Pearson said.

“You want to be busy, but at the same time, it’s kind of a bit morbid .. you don’t really want people’s pets to die.”