Vendor Spotlight: Pawfect For You
If you’re anything like us, you love your pets… enough to dress them up in formal evening wear to attend your wedding. You love them so much, and can’t imagine your big day without them. But, who wants to use a pooper scooper in their big white ballgown? No thanks. That’s where Veronica comes in! Along with her qualified dog sitters, she can take care of your dog throughout your entire event while you enjoy the more glamorous side of pet parenthood!
We took a little time to get to know Veronica, and we are ready to spill the tea…
1. Before we get into what you do, tell us about you!
My name is Veronica and I'm the proud owner of Pawfect for You. I grew up on Long Island having never owned pets as a child. I went to Penn State for Mechanical Engineering, worked in Maryland for a while, and moved back to NY in 2011. You're probably wondering how did an engineer with no pet ownership history find herself in the pet industry delivering a very niche service? Keep reading to find out more
2. Tell us about your job, your passion, and your business!
At Pawfect for You, we help clients celebrate their most memorable days with their pets! And of course the most memorable day of our lives is usually our wedding day (although we've helped out with a few other types of events over the years). I tell most of our clients that our service is a mix of wedding planning and pet care. There's actually a lot of detail that goes into having your pet at your wedding!
3. Tell us about your journey. How did you get where you are now?
I adopted my little man, JakeBear, in 2014 and instantly fell in love with him. I found myself wanting to take him everywhere I went - restaurants, shopping, vacations. But I was often met with the response "no dogs allowed." Talk about frustrating (and sometimes downright upsetting)!! I witnessed several of my friends struggle to include their fur babies into their wedding day, but sadly, they couldn't find a pet sitter to bring the pup even for a few pictures. So I came up with Pawfect for You!
4. Tell us about the products and services you offer!
We have a very high emphasis on the planning portion for several reasons. We want to understand what the clients' ideal vision is for including their pup in their wedding day. Once we understand that, we then get really detailed! If you want your pup to be part of pictures, what pictures would you like? Show me some Pinterest inspiration! Is there anyone that has a special relationship with the pup? Maybe your Mom or Dad? Would they want pictures with the pet? If your pup is part of the ceremony, who's going to walk them down the aisle? What about during the ceremony? What about recession? We cover all the details - soup to nuts - so know exactly what to expect during the day. We also share our timeline with the other vendors so they know what to expect while the pet is there, and so that they can also help to deliver an outstanding service to the clients as well.
5. What do you love most about what you do?
Hmm... It would have to be when I hear clients say "wow, I didn't think about that." Not to discourage DIY, but most clients that try to hire a friend of a friend or ask a family member to hold the leash during the day, don't think about the implications of not having someone experienced care for your loved ones during a day that has a lot packed into it. We had a sitter that tried the DIY route (before we started the company) who forgot bowls for the dogs so they had them drinking water out of champagne glasses. Needless to say, the first thing she said when I met her was, "I wish you were around when I got married."
6. What is your biggest success?
My biggest success so far would be a promotion I received from Brides.com a few years ago. When I first started out, it was just me on a shoestring budget. To be honest, I thought when clients would flock to me as soon as the website went live. Boy was I naive! I quickly learned that I had to get my business in front of clients and show them the value that we offer. But how could I do that with almost no marketing budget? I began to email wedding planners in the NY Tristate area and luckily one of them called me with a last minute request that I was more than happy to take on (since I didn't really have a lot of business at that time). At that wedding, one of the bridesmaids tapped me on the shoulder and told me how happy she was that I was able to bring the dog to the wedding because he was such an important part of the couples' life. I smiled and that's when she dropped the best bomb ever! She was an executive producer at Brides.com and wanted to send someone to film me at my next wedding. About two months later, the video went live on Facebook and quickly acquired 2.3 million views!! After that. I incorporated the company, hired additional sitters, and I'm now able to offer the service to clients throughout the northeast!
7. What is your biggest challenge?
Well the pandemic didn't help, but we managed. Really, my biggest challenge is saying no. I hate having to turn away a client because we're booked or because we don't offer service in the area yet. We often book up during the peak wedding season, it pains me to turn away clients that call me the week before their wedding. I know it's easy enough to get a spot at a kennel within one week of a vacation, but we operate differently and have a limited number of sitters in each of the areas we serve. Plus we need time to plan and make sure we have the right sitter for the job. Some sitters don't take dogs over 100lbs, and some couples prefer a female over a male or vice versa. I try to encourage clients to book as early as possible, even if the wedding is two years out. That gives us enough time to work with you and plan accordingly with our sitter base. Plus it gives me plenty of bandwidth to hire additional staff if I need.
8. What is the best piece of advice you have ever gotten?
The best piece of advice I have received (and it took a while to sink in) is to take care of yourself. I've 'burned the midnight oil' often and found the return to be minimal. It left me tired and cranky. If I can't be at my best, I can't serve my clients and sitters the way they deserve to be. I now make sure that I carve out plenty of time for sleep and some daytime downtime - because this doggy mama needs some cuddle and play time with her little man each and every day!
9. Do you have advice for anyone trying to start their own business?
My best advice is just do it. Just like Nike! You aren't going to know everything right out of the gate. I certainly didn't and I still don't after 5 years of business! I learn something new everyday. But you need to take that first leap. Come up with a name. Start a website or a social media page. Do some research on similar businesses. From there, you'll figure it out. And I speak for my wedding day pet care business friends across the US when I say we all did and we continue to evolve our businesses each year.
10. Is there something you are currently working on, either personally or professionally, that you’re really excited about?
Yes, actually. I just bought a house in Huntington, NY. It's a much different area than where I've previously lived (very hilly, spread out, quiet), but I love it and so does JakeBear! The house needs a lot of work, but I'm enjoying it. It gives me some time to get away from the computer, but I can still put on my favorite podcasts or listen to a new e-book so I can hear about the latest trends or business tips and tricks.
So, there you have it! Visit pawfectforyou.com for all of your pet care needs on your wedding day! Veronica is pretty great, and her sitters are happy to do all the scooping your pup requires!