One of the hardest aspects of starting any business is hiring the right team. This is particularly the case in the pet services industry, where providing outstanding customer service to dog and cat parents must be a top priority.
Cats and cat parents deserve the best
Before I opened Club Cat’s doors, I lost sleep over finding the right people to work at Club Cat. I had hired people over the years as a working professional in industry. The key difference is that when I worked for a large employer, the stakes were nowhere near as high for me. Make no mistake: hiring the right person was always important to me. However, as a new small business owner, I knew that finding the right talent could make or break my business. Especially when Club Cat has two types of customers: cats and cat parents. Both have dramatically different needs and yet both deserve the highest level of customer service possible.
Building the right team
Shortly after opening in March of 2019 it became clear to me that I needed to be very thoughtful about building my team. I was interested in hiring candidates who not only adored and appreciated cats but also could relate to cat parents and their struggle to find a safe, loving place to board their cats. And I also needed them to be trustworthy, competent, and passionate.
Not too much to ask, right?
I am extremely fortunate to have five fantastic team members that comprise Club Cat Concierge. Sol DeLeo, cat parent extraordinaire, is one of them. She is extremely attentive to our kitty cats and their cat parents. And she is also a very talented graphic designer who created Club Cat’s first year Infographic back in March. I hope you enjoy getting to know her a bit ?
CC: How did you initially discover Club Cat?
SD: I was looking for jobs and thought to myself, “I would love to work with cats.” The idea seemed too good to be true. Nonetheless, I searched for feline-related businesses in Orange County. Then—ta-da!—Club Cat appeared!
CC: What made you interested in working at Club Cat?
SD: The obvious answer is getting to play with so many kitties! My interest only grew as I found Shana’s reasoning for starting Club Cat. It was a service us cat owners needed and I related to how she grew tired of “corporate life.”
CC: What is your favorite aspect(s) about working as a Club Cat Concierge?
SD: Oddly enough, I enjoy the organization that goes into approving bookings and checking off to-do lists. Seeing my productivity vastly improves my day. I also get to meet fellow cat-lovers! Our customers are cat parents that want what’s best for their fur-babies, just like me!
CC: You are a graduate of Chapman University. Can you tell us a little about your background and experience as a graphic designer and how you provide value to businesses?
SD: I have a Bachelors of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Creative Writing and two minors—one in Graphic Design and the other in Television.
I do freelance graphic design and worked for a year in the beauty/cosmetic industry as an Imaging Specialist. My favorite design project so far has been the infographic for Club Cat, of course. Concerning value, visuals are one of the most important parts of a businesses. While there is some truth in the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” I don’t believe in it. I most certainly judge books by their cover and so do you, whether you realize it or not. The same applies to businesses. Visuals are the first impression and convey a message even before the text can. My experience as an Imaging Specialist works in a similar way but through photography. Though this I gained interest in photo editing and retouching. View my work and contact information on my online portfolio!
CC: You are a cat parent yourself. Can you tell us a little about your pets?
I have one kitty cat! But I live with two other cats and a dog. Snowflake is my 19-year-old baby (technically an old man but he’s a baby in my heart). I got him as a Christmas gift when I was 5 years old and living in Singapore. His fur used to be all white, thus the name. Once growing out of kitten-hood, he turned mostly orange with tabby-cat markings. I like to say the snow melted or he got a tan! He was the last of his litter to be chosen due to his kinked tail but that’s one of the best things about him! It looks like a “7.” Apparently this is a common trait amongst Singaporean kitties! Snowflake has been my constant companion. When not snoozing or eating, he wants to sit on my lap. (He’s currently sitting on my desk trying to get my attention as I type this.)
The other pets in our house are Yuki (tuxedo cat that prefers to be alone), Lorien (a black, energetic kitten), and Molly (a Shih Tzu/Poodle mix that wishes she was a cat). It’s never boring here!