When dogs and diamonds run deep in your DNA
Nathalie Knauf has a story to tell. It starts with a childhood incident that ignited her fondness for dogs and led her to become an enthusiastic champion of canine welfare. As an adult, she's taken this concern into her business life, successfully launching the online retailer Soho Poms and supporting the work of several dogs' charities along the way. Earlier this year, she became a major donor to the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, committing to gifting and raising £100,000 to help fund its welfare initiatives.
Nathalie was only three years old when she first experienced the unbreakable bond that so many dog owners share with their canine companions. Whilst out dog walking with her father, she was snatched by a bike-riding assailant who had every intention of kidnapping her. He may well have achieved this goal were it not for the family's loan Neapolitan Mastiff. Sensing the danger Nathalie was in, the dog raced after the bike, stopping her abductor and making a speedy rescue mission possible.
"It was so scary for all of us," says Nathalie. "No one expected something like that to happen on an ordinary street in Germany. Our family always kept Neapolitan Mastiffs, but none of them ever had to deal with such a tense situation. It was incredible how quickly he reacted to the threat and rushed to protect me. Who knows what might have happened without him?"
Founding Soho Poms
The incident had a profound impact on Nathalie, who's love of dogs stayed with her throughout school and her early career. Qualifying as an economic analyst, she later quit the world of finance and went on to launch Knauf Jewels with her husband, Philippe, in 2011. The couple were living and working in London when they decided a small dog, such as a Pomeranian, would make the perfect addition to the family for their young daughter and now they have 11 of them!
Nathalie's love of Pomeranians and dogs in general inspired the creation of Soho Poms London, a bespoke small dog apparel and accessories company, featuring coats, collars and luxury doggy-themed jewellery. When the company exhibited at Crufts earlier this year, Nathalie and her Pomeranian Misty, quickly made the headlines. As well as promoting canine welfare in an ethical business context, Nathalie also wowed the show's visitors when she revealed that Misty was modelling a £500,000 diamond necklace that had been specially commissioned by one of her Knightsbridge clients. "As a jeweller and gemologist, I'm passionate about precious stones. As a dog lover I adore Pomeranians. Creating 'Pomie Diamonds' was the perfect way to combine these two obsessions."
Aiming to support responsible breeding and welfare projects
Nathalie's family of Soho Poms are a constant reminder of the importance of breeding programmes that put canine welfare firmly above profit. Earlier this year, she decided to stand behind this commitment with a major gift to the Kennel Club Charitable Trust and becoming an Ambassador for the charity. "We are incredibly grateful to receive such an extraordinary level of support," says the KCCT Chairman, Revd Bill King. "As a charity, it is vital we do all we can to make sure that canine health and well-being is a priority for breeders across the UK. This generous commitment will make it possible for us to work positively with breeders and provide emergency care for dogs wherever welfare standards are being ignored."
A fantastic boost for our Ukraine Appeal
As part of her donation, Nathalie has also promised to give our Appeal for Ukraine a fantastic boost with a special gift of jewellery in our fundraising auction to be held at Crufts in March 2023. The Appeal, which has been running since February, has now topped £256,000 and gifts are still coming in. "Sadly, the situation for dogs in Ukraine is still painfully uncertain," says Bill King. "Once again, we are indebted to supporters like Nathalie, for helping us to raise awareness of welfare issues in the country and for contributing so generously to the fundraising efforts."
Watch this space this autumn as Soho Poms will showcase at Discover Dogs at London's ExCel on 15 and 16 October. Through the business, Nathalie has also pledged to give a percentage of all product sales from her web shop to the Trust and you'll be able to meet Nathalie's fabulous Pomeranians both on the Soho Poms stand and the Kennel Club Charitable Trust stand (Stand TS186). Do come and say hello!