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“If I listened to everyone who told me what I was about to do was a bad idea, then I never would have started," Anneke tells North Shore Living. "I still remember typing emails and speaking on the phone to clients while breastfeeding."

   The Mosman-based mum of Saskia, eight, and Saxon, seven, has always been passionate about pets - having approximately 60 to-date - and in 2007 decided to combine that with her background in brand and product management to form Rufus & Co, setting up an office in the spare bedroom and packing orders in the garage.

    "I think it's about finding, understanding what you're good at and making sure there's a market for your idea," she says.

   "My mission was to create a brand that stood for high quality pet products good enough for your fur babies.”

   However, trying to organise a business, home and children is a constant juggle, and one that takes military precision, even though it doesn't always work out as planned.

   "I've come to accept it's not possible to do everything with the same level of detail that I once could," she laughs. "You become very good at prioritising all aspects of your life. You get comfortable with the chaos."

    More than 63 per cent of Australian homes have a pet, and the success of Rufus & Coco motivates Anneke to encourage young girls to follow their dreams. "There are many benefits to running your own business," she adds, "and you are a master of your own time. People work hard and play hard - I don't think of it like that I think of it as one big melting pot. The only day you have is the one you're in."

Rufus & Co is available nationally in Coles and Woolworths and has a gorgeous co-branded pet range with Peter Alexander. It's expanding Into North America and works with more than 60 annual non-for-profits. And with donations to the World Animal Protection, the company assists vaccinating dogs in impoverished countries against rabies, and to-date has helped more 6,000 dog lives.

    "At the end of the day we're all responsible for our own journeys and our own stories," adds Anneke, "and I think it's not about what you have, It's about what you've managed to create, and what you've managed to create for other people."


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