Paws and Tales Puppy Playgroup is a Black owned pet daycare business that provides daycare for the furry members of families in the New York metro area.
The company is owned by certified dog handler, Curtis Giddings, whose mission is to provide a safe and healthy space daycare and for pups to learn to socialize with other dogs as well as humans.
According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), pet ownership rose to an all-time high of 70% due to people seeking companionship while sheltering in place as a result of the pandemic. As a result of the company’s growth, Curtis recently added grooming services.
We caught up with Curtis to find out more about his business.
What inspired you to get into the dog training business?
I grew up in a New York apartment that didn’t allow pets but once my family and I moved to New Jersey, I was able to finally get a dog.
My love for dogs grew into a passion for learning about how to support a happy pup, as well as all the different attributes of an effective dog trainer.
When I was older, I went through a dog training program in Queens, NY, and was eventually hired as a dog trainer at a local pet sitter Paws & Tales, which I took over as owner in 2017.
When you took over the business in 2017, it wasn’t doing well. Explain what was done to bring it back to life?
The business was in a rut, and I made it my mission to bring it back. I was perfectly qualified to run the dog training aspect of it, but not so much the business side. That’s when I discovered Rising Tide Capital where Cynthia Pullen, an RTC mentor, guided me through the process of registering the business and expanding its reach.
Unfortunately, she has since passed, a loss I wasn’t prepared for. But Cynthia, along with the Rising Tide family, was an integral part of my success as an entrepreneur and my growth as a person.
She provided much needed guidance to me, and it is of the utmost importance to ensure that I continue to make her proud. The business itself has been around since 2009 but I’ve been expanding over the years. My two locations are in Jersey City, where I have ample space for neighborhood pups to run around and socialize safely.
They are located in McGinley Square for small dogs up to 30 lbs and Downtown Jersey City for pups 30 lbs and over, serving Jersey City and the surrounding areas.
How has the pandemic affected your business?
During the pandemic, I recognized the importance and worth of my work. While the world was in limbo, dog owners stayed home with their dogs and many families adopted new dogs.
But due to COVID-19 restrictions, many were unable to socialize their dogs or develop a healthy regimen for when they returned to work.
We’re in the process of implementing new services such as pick-ups and drop-offs, which follow coronavirus guidelines. Many of the businesses that provide similar services aren’t as comprehensive as what we offer.
Our mission is to be a leader in the pet care and socialization industry and place a priority on the mental and physical needs of pets.
Where do you see the business 5 years from now?
We are currently doing market research for an upcoming rebrand that I’m really excited about. And in 5 years, my team and I see ourselves as a micro-franchise that provides a myriad of high-quality services.
We want to support the dog owner’s lifestyle and are looking to offer products and services that cater to this demographic in the form of educational services where dog owners can consult with me for personalized advice on dog ownership, as well as branded apparel.
Additionally, we will be moving towards more of a structured daily routine for the dogs. Based on the feedback from clients, I want to ensure their dogs go home with the benefit of emotional, physical, and mental stimulation from a hands-on approach.
We’re also adapting our approach to a more customized method so that, in addition to free roam and play, each pup gets individualized, focused attention.
We have been working to improve our internal processes so that every client’s needs are met with grace and consideration, particularly being that we have hired more experienced staff to assist in this transition.