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Setting the Foundations: Meet the owner Justine

Setting the Foundations: Meet the owner Justine

We recently sat down with the heart and soul behind Flinders Pet, a thriving dog daycare, boarding, and dog product business that has captured the hearts of dog lovers far and wide. As we celebrated their momentous first year anniversary, we had the pleasure of chatting with the warm and passionate owner and founder, Justine Wallis. Nestled in the beautiful South Coast region of Shellharbour NSW, Flinders Pet has become a beloved haven for furry companions, offering a safe and loving environment for dogs to play, rest, and connect with their four-legged friends. With their personalised care and attention to detail, it's no wonder they've become the go-to destination for dog owners seeking a family-oriented, friendly experience. Join us as we delve into Justine's journey, discovering the inspiration, challenges, and heartwarming moments that have shaped their small business into a thriving hub of wagging tails and smiling faces.

1. Congratulations on reaching your first year anniversary! How does it feel to look back on all the progress you've made since starting your dog business?

Thanks, to be honest, it's all a bit of a blur really. Setting up the business this time last year, I really didn't think we would grow as fast as we did. It has been really exciting to be on this journey.

2. Tell us about the inspiration behind starting a dog daycare and boarding facility. What motivated you to create a safe and loving space for furry friends?

We have a 10-year-old Cavoodle named Pepe. Like all family dogs, he is very much a part of our family. We always feel bad going on holidays without him and found it really hard to find a boarding facility locally that was focused on creating a home away from home, where Pepe would feel just as welcomed and loved as he is in his own home. Thats where the idea for Flinders Pet came from. I wanted to make it easier for local dog owners to find quality and individualised care for their dogs.

3. Building a successful small business requires a lot of hard work and dedication. What challenges did you face in the first year, and how did you overcome them?

Absolutely, I am in awe of all small business owners after becoming one myself. There is no magic button that sets everything up. its 100% all on the founder, from understanding business admin, to marketing, establishing a presence in the region and fulfilling the client's needs. There are just so many hats to have to wear, and the rest of your life doesn't take a break just because you are busy and focusing on something new. 

Luckily for me I have an amazing network of friends and family who have been so supportive over the past year. I also took the initiative early in the piece to set up a support group of similar small business owners in the region, so we had a community to bounce off when things got tough, or we needed advice and guidance.

4. Your business also includes a line of dog products. What sparked your interest in creating your own products, and what makes them unique or special?

Anyone who knows me, knows I never do things at half measure. A product line just seemed the next logical step to expand the business beyond the local Shellharbour community. What sets us apart is our focus on bringing Australian made, Australian Owned quality products and support other small businesses in the industry along the way.

5. We love hearing heartwarming stories! Can you share a memorable experience you've had with one of the dogs that stayed at your daycare or boarding facility?

It's hard to think of just one. It's never a dull moment when there are a pack of dogs around. For me the most warming moments are when we see the love our doggy guests have for their owners when they return. It is just so touching to see how excited and happy they are to see them again. But also, we love seeing how excited they are when they return to our service for their next visit. At times their owners struggle to keep up with them as they rush for the door to come in and begin playing with their friends at the centre. Thats the best review we can ever have.

6. Customer satisfaction is essential for any business. How do you ensure that both the dogs and their owners have a positive experience when they choose your services?

Thats easy, it's important to remember that everyone is different and has individual needs and wants. Listen to your client's so you can truly understand what has brought them to your service and what they expect out of you. Don't try to apply a once size fits all approach. 

7. As a small business owner, you play a crucial role in the local economy. How do you contribute to the community and give back to the people and animals around you?

From early in the business growth, we understood that community was important to us. I started by reaching out to other small business owners and creators in the local region, asking them what challenges they faced and how we could support them. Quickly that lead to stocking their products in our store as well as recommending their services to clients and our wider community.

We have also donated to not-for-profit groups and charities as well as offer our minding services to rescue groups when they need support.

8. Lastly, what are your plans and aspirations for the future of your business? Any exciting projects or developments in the pipeline that you'd like to share?

Well, we have just launched our new website, which has been a big task. So, I look forward to continuing to develop and improve our connection with our clients. We are also looking into some awesome new collaborations with other small businesses as well as continuing to expand our own range of products. So, keep a look out for those in the future!