What exactly is your business?
Allie’s Walkabout provides off-leash doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, training and pet photography. Off-leash means our guests spend 70% of the day at play in one of our many indoor/outdoor play yards. All play is supervised by our extensively trained staff.
How did you come up with your business idea?
When Allie was 9, she asked her dad for spending money. Her father told her, “no, but I will teach you how to earn money.” Neither of them had any idea how that moment would impact their family.
Her dad told her to go knock on every door in their neighborhood and ask if they had a dog and offer to walk him. If they agree, charge $5 for a 20-minute walk. She and her brother left (he was 7 at the time), and when they came back she had earned $7.
Since then, with the help of family, many friends, and now employees, Allie’s Walkabout has grown to over 1,800 customers and is as busy as ever. We now operate from a 12,000 sq. ft. facility with 5 big play yards for all our guest’s Off Leash care.
How did you find out about Aviatra?
We attended a graduation where we heard the compelling and inspirational stories of so many and we knew we wanted to be a part of what Bad Girl ventures was doing.
What is your inspiration?
Being a small part of making life better for our clients and their pets. It means a great deal to us when we hear the amount of stress, worry and sometimes guilt our services eliminate. The other is seeing our staff develop. Like Sir Richard Branson, we want to train our staff so well that they can go anywhere and treat them so well that they will never want to.
What has been your biggest accomplishment with your business so far?
Scaling the business from a home-based business to a 12,000 sq. ft. commercial space, which took us from a handful of employees to over 20.
What was the most valuable thing you gained from your experience with Aviatra?
The resources that we didn’t realize were available to us as a small business in this region. One such resource was the Small Business Development Center at NKU, and specifically Rebecca Volpe, she has been a tremendous blessing to us.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting your business?
Starting in our home, we didn’t face many of the traditional challenges of a startup. Our biggest challenge was moving into the commercial space and realizing our processes in the home didn’t translate or scale, so they all had to be reinvented quickly.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
Our overall plan is 25 by 25; 25 locations by 2025 so in five years we expect to have 8-10 locations through the greater region including Louisville, Lexington, Columbus and Indianapolis.
Any advice for future Aviatras?
Always be growing and changing. Stay curious and constantly ask yourself how your work will be done 10 years from now. Also, build processes that can be replicated