Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in pet care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Damarys Aguirre, Founder of Happy Tails Toronto, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Happy Tails Toronto provides a loving home away from home for your family's best friend. Boarding, sitting, daycare & foster with a personal touch. Located in York, Toronto. Our customers come from all parts of the city and beyond. They know that all the dogs in our care are treated like our own. We offer a crate-free environment, 24/7 supervision, regular playing, walks, and attention, and a very small number of dogs at a time.
Tell us about yourself
We started as foster parents for THS as my husband and I couldn't commit to having a dog of our own. Then it became a part-time gig for years (I was a dance teacher at the time, which it's actually my professional background). COVID suddenly changed my plans, and Happy Tails became my main business. Caring for dogs isn't all about playing with puppies or a walk in the park. It's hard work at times, but the reward of being loved unconditionally is incomparable. We get to experience different breeds and personalities, lots of cuddles, and slobbery kisses, and I'm happy that these dogs are not left home alone the whole day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Happy Tails provides a unique service at one of the best prices in Toronto. We have clients coming from as far as Shelburne, St Catherine's, and Peterborough. I think that our biggest accomplishment is seeing the dogs super happy every time they come to visit us, and in some cases, they don't even want to leave!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Coming from Cuba, a communist country where we were not allowed to have our own businesses, was very hard for me at the beginning, and it still is. From paperwork and administration to technology, social media, customer care, etc. - it's a never-ending learning road. I also have another side business as a soap and candle maker called Lambton Valley Soap which means that I'm always working or thinking about work. Sometimes it's really tricky to find some downtime to relax and recharge.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- If you don't try, you'll never find out if it's meant to be. Just start somewhere.
- Believe in yourself first of all and in what you do; otherwise, people won't take you seriously.
- Never stop learning.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
There will be times when you just want to quit. Don't let an event or a person deflate you. Handle every situation like a dog; if you can't eat it or play with it, just pee on it and walk away.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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