Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in pet care business, but not sure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Elise Vincentini, owner of Downtown Dog Lounge, DDL Bakery, and Dog Yard Bar, located in Seattle, Washington.

What's your business and who are your customers?

I started my business in 2002, wanting to create a better way for people to connect and care for their dogs. My customers are Seattle dog owners who travel, work, or have commitments requiring them to get special services for their dogs while they are away or busy.

My dog needed care, and as a single person, I had no family locally to help. My dog was/is my family, and I wanted to give her the best life. So I created a full-service dog Daycare, Boarding, Grooming & Training facility with 24-hour supervision, live webcams, and lots of interaction and communication so parents could feel "peace of mind" with their dog in our care.

Tell us about yourself

What motivates me every day is making a difference in people's and pets' lives. I was inspired by my own needs for my dog. But after many years, I've grown a trusted relationship with my guests and their fur parents.

Some people haven't traveled in years simply because they didn't feel comfortable with the offered care. We love making pets and their parents happy!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Two years ago, my answer would have been opening multiple locations and receiving accolades from the community. But today, my answer is surviving in a pandemic while opening 2 new concepts with everything going against us in uncertain times.

We temporarily closed locations and made it through, although we are still on a path of recovery. We've stayed true to our roots and our mission, and I'm proud to have gained such a respectful reputation in our dog community.

My latest opening of DOG YARD bar brings me pure joy. Watching people smile and engage with their dogs in a place that was not available previously. I like taking things and making them unique and surprising, always keeping safety at the top of the list.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

For me, the most challenging things in being a business owner are constantly having to put your best foot forward, bite your lip, truck on and never give up. I love what I do. I believe the concept is much needed, and it takes enormous dedication to run a 24 hour business that never closes.

I don't think I've had a really good night's sleep in 20 years, but that is because I want everyone to be safe, and I want to be involved. I want people walking out with a better feeling than they walked in, and I want to always 'WOW' them with stellar service.

That's a tall order, but my heart and dedication are very much in the details and day-to-day operations to keep our standards high. Putting myself and mostly my family second is by far the hardest. I'm lucky I have such a supportive daughter, and she's now a part of our family business.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

Research, do more research..then research some more. Find your niche and differentiate yourself from everyone else. Hunker down and get ready for a wild ride and your life's greatest commitment. Stay true to your dream & mission.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Celebrate your wins...always, no matter how big or small. You deserve it, and you're doing great; keep going.

Where can people find you and your business?

Downtown Dog Lounge:
Dog Yard Bar:
Downtown Dog Lounge Bakery:

Downtown Dog Lounge:
Dog Yard Bar:
Downtown Dog Lounge Bakery:

If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share then email, we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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