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When I became serious about setting up “Front Page Gifts” as a business, I didn’t even have access to design software on my personal computer.

After 30 years in the publishing industry, I had used plenty of design programs.

I am so old that the first program was actually a knife and ruler on a comp bench - and we stuck copy to a page using a waxing machine!

Technology has certainly changed and it was time for me to buy design software.

I downloaded a 7-day trial of a program – and with only one week to decide whether or not to buy it, I knew I had to keep busy and make the most of my time.

I found some pretty cool design features but wanted to produce a “REAL” mock front page to see what it looked like.

I was contemplating calling around to see if anyone wanted to be the guinea pig and feature on one of the products for marketing purposes prior to the launch.

Then I looked at my little dog.

A friend had already suggested that maybe pets could be included in the Front Page Gifts range so I thought, why not?

Lucy is a maltese, silky, shitzu/poodle cross – so she is little, fluffy and cute.

She was almost three years old so it seemed a good idea to pretend I was planning a 21st birthday party for her as she would soon be 21 in dog years.

I wrote a story and designed a page.

I then headed off to see a couple of business people to see if they were interested in stocking an example to put on display.

Off I went to Urban Village Homewares and then to Caz’s Pet Indulgence (both in Cannonvale where I live), with the front page of “The Pooch Herald”.

The response was so good that pet pages are now on display at both these outlets in the Whitsundays.

Next, it was time to have some photos taken to promote the business on facebook and my website which I hadn’t even started building yet.

I needed a prop for the photos so “The Pooch Herald” now also features in many of those.

Lucy still has no idea what is going on but she has become my marketing assistant as she now appears on the facebook page, the website, in retail outlets and on the back of my new business cards.

She is very grateful to Linda of Urban Village Homewares and Caz of Caz's Pet indulgence for making her famous.

She is extremely grateful to Deb of Tropix Photography for not only making her famous but also for making her mum look younger!!

She knows that if it wasn't for Bill Smith, who founded the Whitsunday Times more than 35 years ago, pet pages may have never been considered as part of this project.

It was his idea. What a great newspaper man - he knows what sells!

Lucy is pretty busy now so it would be appreciated if some people who placed orders for special people or pets in their lives would agree to their “Front Page Gift” being available for use on the website and facebook page so that she can have a break.

And after all, its not all about Lucy.

Oh hang on, she thinks it is!!

PS. If you are reading this on September 25, it is actually her birthday today but we haven't had time to plan a party!

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Happy birthday Lucy

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