Layla Flaherty's animal model agency supports Gucci campaign with Harry Styles
Five years ago, tired of the party lifestyle, she decided to combine the three things she knew and loved best – modelling, TV and animals - to launch her own business.
A spokesman said: “Urban Paws UK is now the go-to animal agency for luxury brands and leading high street names wanting to add anything from cats to camels to their campaigns.”
Retailers including John Lewis, IKEA and Aldi have all featured Urban Paws animals in commercials and her pet supermodels have ‘walked’ for high fashion labels like Tom Ford, Burberry, Gucci and Stella McCartney.
They have appeared in videos for chart megastars Rihanna and Little Mix, as well as in theatre and films where, apparently, they are given their own chill-out green room to relax in between takes.
Leeds-based Ms Flaherty also has a roster of social media influencers who can command five-figure sums to post a photo of themselves posing with the latest product.
She said: “I spent a year training and creating a business plan before I launched Urban Paws. I thought it would be small and local at first.
“But after year one it just took off and we went international straight away.”
After starting off using mostly friends’ cats and dogs for photographic work, Urban Paws now has a wide range of models on its books, including dogs which the agency claims are considered to be the Kate Moss and the Cara Delavigne of the canine world.
Urban Paws has a range of animals available for bookings including birds, snakes, rabbits, pigs, hedgehogs and camels. One of Ms Flaherty’s most sought-after chickens appeared in a Gucci campaign alongside Harry Styles.
“The business now has a worldwide reach so if a company is launching a product and they want it to be promoted in Europe and the US, we can place it with our influencers,” said Ms Flaherty.
“For instance we could offer them two dogs from the UK, two from France, two from Germany and two from the US, all posting the same kind of content on their social media accounts."