Decora Klips Mobile Pet Spa, Lakefield
Opened May 2020
I’ve always wanted to start my own business, ever since I was younger. I just could never think of what to do. When we moved to Lakefield from Texas to be closer to my husband’s family, I found a full-time job, but I wanted something else that I can keep in the family and my kids can take up if they want to. During the first year after we moved, I did some research and thought about what could benefit the community. I love dogs and a lot of people have dogs around here, but there aren’t a lot of groomers. I worked as a groomer at PetSmart and I really did enjoy it. But I didn’t want to have a shop. I wanted to be able to go out to the farms and homes. If there’s elderly people, it’s hard to get in car with their dogs. And for elderly dogs, it sometimes stresses them out to go the groomer. Mobile grooming sounded like something that would really benefit the area.
I started looking around online to see what opportunities there were out there to help someone get started. What if someone didn’t have the large amount of money you usually would need saved up to get a business started? Who was focused on developing the community around here? That’s how I found Southwest Initiative Foundation. I came up with a business plan and brought it to SWIF. They thought it was a good idea as well.
SWIF provided me with the resources I needed to get started and resources to stay in the know with what’s going on with the pandemic. They provided me with a QuickBooks instructor who is helping me learn to monitor my financial situation; we have weekly meetings where we go over anything I have questions on or might need help with. SWIF has also helped me with getting advertising out there as well to let the community know I exist.
My proudest achievement is being able to get the business started in the first place. You think about it for so long and you have these ideas, but you don’t actually put it together and get it started. Choosing a name was hard. I didn’t want something someone else has. I wanted to stand out. I like things from Japan, and there’s a certain style called “Decora.” It’s a collection of cute fashion and bright pastel colors. I figured that would stand out around here because no one’s seen that before. Klips, I just decided to add that on there with a “K” because it’s different. Plus, the letters at the beginning of each word stands for my first name and my husband’s.
I’m a self-taught groomer. I learned from other groomers when I worked at PetSmart. I also watch a lot of videos and do a lot of research online. Right now, I handle everything, and my husband helps me from time-to-time with bigger dogs. I love dogs, so making them come out looking super cute is fun and satisfying. We have an Australian shepherd named August and a Maltichon named Dio. Dio’s hair grows back really fast, so I experiment on him. Sometimes it’s straight, sometimes it’s curly, sometimes it’s just wavy, and sometimes it’s like cotton. Because he has such an interesting coat, I can try out different hairstyles before trying it on my clients dogs that are small like him.
What motivates me in my business is making sure I can provide for my family, being able to work for myself and have my own schedule and control how much money I’m bringing in. The biggest challenge I face is people getting accustomed to my pricing. Since I am different from a lot of groomers around here who are working out of their homes part-time, my prices are a little higher. I have to add in my maintenance and gas; there’s more money I have to put in to keep myself running. The other challenge is building my clientele, which has been difficult through COVID-19.
I really want my business to expand to where I have people on a waiting list and need to hire another groomer. Being able to expand and to give back to the community is important to me, making donations or hosting little fundraisers. The community growing is a big interest of mine. The more we have going on, the more opportunities there are for everyone – whether that’s housing, jobs, kids’ activities or community events. It brings us together in different ways and makes stronger connections. We have a baby girl on the way this year, and I want her to have lots of ways to be involved.