Clapton entrepreneur turns pug passion into profit

A budding entrepreneur from Clapton is hoping to replicate the financial success of her Hackney idol, Lord Alan Sugar, although her business is slightly quirkier.

Pug-mad Veevee Hawes, 27, launched a range of mugs featuring the distinctive flat-faced dogs after she wanted to buy a similar item for her friend Lizzie’s birthday present.

“I looked in loads of gift shops and could not find any,” she said. “I rushed home, went online, and bought the website name ‘’ - completely forgetting to find Lizzie a present.”

Ms Hawes brainstormed pug puns and came up with various slogans including ‘pug of war’ and ‘pugs and kisses’. She asked her illustrator friend, Joanna Marks, to create the designs, and had 400 mugs printed.

Now, Ms Hawes is running her new business from her bedroom, which is crammed with boxes of pug mugs, although she still works full-time as a project manager in central London.

She told the Gazette: “I am inspired by living 50 yards away from where Lord Alan Sugar set up his first business. Also, being in Hackney, which is so creative.”

Ms Hawes was thrilled when doggy fashion shop Holly and Lil, which has been featured in Vogue, agreed to stock the pug mugs and her business is already making a profit.

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“There has been talk of expanding,” Ms Hawes said, “‘kittens on mittens’ being one of them - but my first passion is pugs and I don’t want to be doing something that I am not interested in.”

For more information, or to buy a pug mug, visit