I always knew I wanted to own my own business one day and I have always had a passion for dogs so I wanted to combine the two.
After getting married my husband and I rescued our first dog together, my husband’s first dog and my fourth Weimaraner rescue. Ringo joined our family the day after we got the key’s to our first house in Port Moody. As two working professionals and after our rescue dog Ringo escaped his crate and got into some mischief while we were at work, we looked for a dog daycare in Port Moody. Ringo loved going to dog daycare while we were at work and we loved that we knew he was safe and having fun.
Fast forward four years later with a baby on the way and another rescue dog, Watson, I began to consider the goal of owning my own business that would be focussed in the pet care industry. After leaving university I gained impactful experience in both the private and public sector on large and small scales. I was able to use those experiences to be able to take the leap to starting up my own business. I clearly envisioned a first class canine facility and I wanted to create a safe, fun, creative place for dog care in Kelowna. I spent one year on full-time preparations to open my business: Watson’s Hound Lounge Corp. I finalized the business plan and then directly worked with zoning, design, construction, financing, marketing and hiring – all before we even opened our doors to our first customer. Moving from a solo-entrepreneur, I hired a team to ensure we had the right group of people representing our brand and values and executing objectives to uphold the standards I set for the company.
Not only did I want to solve my own problem of needing a dog daycare for Watson, but I wanted to help solve that problem for other folks looking for what we wanted to offer.
Established in November 2013 Watson’s offers dog daycare, an indoor heated canine pool and grooming services in our 5,200 square foot indoor/ outdoor facility. We provide a transparent service, where our staff is always engaging and supervising the dogs. Owners can log in to our webcams from anywhere in the world to see their dog playing, swimming or even having a bath!
Entrepreneurship is path to a balance life…. A long path.
I opened the doors in 2013, it was myself a groomer and a daycare helper. I worked long days from open to close six days a week in the business, developing relationships, creating trust and building the business one day and one dog at a time. In 2015 we expanded to offer boarding, but after operating and physically being there 24/7 I realized that was not for me, especially with a then two year old at home. I decided to end the boarding service in the summer of 2016 and focus on providing the best dog daycare and grooming services. In 2017 we were elated to find out we would be welcoming a new baby girl to our family in October 2017. I was happy to empower my team of emerging leaders to take more responsibility in the business during this exciting time.
It is a very exciting time at Watson’s right now. Over this past year keeping in line with our Principles and Culture I have been able to implement a strong management team of two dynamic and smart ladies to help me to continue to grow and move the business forward.
With the opening of our canine pool in July 2018 we have been able to offer a variety of recreation swims for dogs. Kelsey, a Certified Veterinary Hospital Assistant and our Manager at Watson’s is currently working towards her certification as a Canine Hyrotherapist and our goal is to be able to offer rehabilitation swims in our indoor heated pool by this summer.
Mackenzie will take on the management of the dog daycare upon her graduation from UBCO with her Bachelor of Science Majoring in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She will continue her professional development with a Diploma in Canine Behaviour in order to provide the best environment and experience for the dogs that come to play!
I am excited to keep moving our amazing team forward as I complete my post graduate studies in Innovation and Entrepreneurship thru Stanford University. I am always looking at new and innovative things to bring to the business and it is my personal goal to dedicate time to that this year. With that in mind, self-care and finding balance is a priority as well. With my husband working out of the country, I enjoy being able to travel to take our little ones to see him at work and I make it a priority to be present with my children.
It has been an incredible journey to see Watson’s grow from an idea in my head, to a business plan in University, to entering our sixth year in business.
This year as a team we will look to streamline practices to promote efficiency without sacrificing results as well as continue to look at every aspect of the business where we can further implement environmentally friendly practices.
We are also very excited to be able to continue to be involved and grow our presence and impact within our community. This is something that is very important to me as an individual, to lead by example for my children and to incorporate into the business.
By empowering myself, my team and providing meaningful experiences to our clients I can’t wait to see what’s next!
Founder & CEO
Watson’s Hound Lounge