Project Reach, User Stories

Pets, paws, and passion

We love showcasing the many passionate entrepreneurs and small business owners who use Sideline. Recently, we sat down with Erin Hennen, owner of Fancy Pants Pet Salon, to hear what motivated her to start her Wauwatosa, Wisconsin-based passion business, and how Sideline makes running a chaotic small business that much smoother.

This isn’t the last time you’ll be seeing Erin. She helped us test some of our new features so she’ll be featured again later on in our Project Reach journey.

Q: What motivated you to start your own business?

A: I’ve been a dog groomer for the better part of 15 years, but I kept leaving it for office jobs thinking I needed some formal career where I sat at a desk all day. But in the end, I kept going back to grooming.

Opening my own business started with a push from my long-term clients. I had some grooming equipment in my basement and was taking customers here and there, but it was not very convenient. One of my customers suggested I start looking for a commercial space to use.

But, my main motivation for starting my own business was my two-year-old daughter. When I had her, I realized that some of the other jobs I had didn’t give me the flexibility I wanted. I knew as my daughter got older, I was going to say, “You know what, on Wednesday I have to make it to her soccer game.” I realized that if I owned my own shop, I would have the freedom to do that. I would have the ability to create the schedule and environment I truly wanted to be a part of.

I’m crazy passionate about dogs and their well-being.

Q: What is a word or phrase that sums up you or your business?

A: Passion. Even on those days where I don’t necessarily like what I do, if I’ve been bitten or peed on, or something else not so fun, I still want to go into work every day because I really, genuinely care about these dogs and what I do. I love dogs. I’m crazy passionate about dogs and their well-being.

Q: What are some of your business goals?

A: My goals have changed so much. In the beginning, it was just to open the salon and to be able to groom a handful of dogs. Now that I’m really involved in the community, I think my goals have evolved to serve the part of the city that’s really desperate for pet services. I quickly went from being just a groomer to offering full retail. I’ve evolved to become a one-stop dog shop in my neighborhood.

Having the ability to text people to make, change, or cancel appointments is absolutely game changing for me.

Q: What are your favorite Sideline features?

A: First of all, having the ability to text people to make, change, or cancel appointments is absolutely game changing for me. The Sideline features I use most are Auto-Reply and Business Texting. Being able to Auto-Reply to a phone call…it’s brilliant. A grooming shop is really noisy, so I can’t always hear my phone. If I can hear my phone, I likely have both hands on a soapy dog in a tub and can’t stop what I’m doing just to answer the phone.  My Auto-Reply text message lets people know they can text me, which is usually more convenient for everyone.

Being able to text and efficiently communicate with my customers means I’m scheduling appointments faster. Sometimes by the time you’ve returned a phone call 4 or 5 hours later, they’ve already called a different salon and made another appointment. By being able to immediately communicate with my customers, I absolutely believe that I am getting and retaining more customers.

Auto-Reply also allows me to step away from work if I need to just be a mom, wife, or dog lover.

Q: How has Sideline empowered you as a small business owner?

A: Sideline’s Auto-Reply has allowed me to spend my time actually being a groomer, taking care of my furry clients, not being a receptionist. Auto-Reply also allows me to step away from work if I need to just be a mom, wife, or dog lover. It’s really given me the opportunity to live a life I want to live.

Q: What are your future goals or dreams for your business?

A: I’d love to be able to franchise at some point. I’ve started training other groomers, not only for myself but for a couple of other businesses in the area. There’s a shortage of groomers in Southeastern Wisconsin.

I’d like to be able to sit back and spend more time training new groomers and allow my employees to do what they do best. My other groomer, Jessica, is exceptionally talented and my goal for her is to be the manager here so I can step back and focus on some bigger projects. I really think with the help of Sideline, we’re going to get there pretty quickly.

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