Finding happiness through Happy Paws
On a quest for job satisfaction, Julia Ward decided it was time to quit investment banking and start investing in her own happiness. The result: Happy Paws Fitness! With its comprehensive and personal service, Happy Paws is a hit with busy Sydney pet owners.
Growing up in a dog-loving family, Julia was determined to not let her busy working life prevent her from being the best pet-parent she could. She always made her pug Lord Dudley a priority while she worked her way up the corporate ladder, spending time and money to see that he was cared for and entertained.
In the process of looking for the balance between investment banking and keeping a healthy, happy dog, Julia stumbled on a gap in the market: a full-service doggy day care.
“I saw a niche market, so it was an easy choice for me to leave something I wasn’t particularly passionate about to start something that I was.”
Happy Paws Fitness opened its doors in 2009, and under Julia’s direction is now one of Sydney’s most renowned doggy day care facilities. They offer doggy day care, walks, grooming and friendship for dogs in the Eastern Suburbs. Their mission is to help pups with busy parents live happy, healthy and well-rounded lives.
“We recognise our dogs as friends, companions and family members. They’re individuals with unique needs and personalities.”
What Happy Paws truly provides is not just a place for pet owners to leave their animals. It’s about providing peace of mind for the owners and removing any guilt or hesitation that may come with leaving a beloved pet at home all day long.
Julia has found a team of staff who truly love animals, and are passionate about their work.
“This job is fun, all the time! We get to play with puppies all day and you can’t ask for a better job, really.”
We certainly wouldn’t argue with that!
Making a shift from the corporate world to small business ownership was a big learning curve for Julia, albeit an exciting one. One of the first things that she learned was that you had to be everything, and everyone, in a small business.
“At Happy Paws I am Head of HR, Head of Operations, you name it – everything.”
At Happy Paws, it’s important for staff to know how their customers tick. A few years in, Julia was experiencing massive growth. She needed a comprehensive system that was user-friendly for her staff and could store the details of her ever-growing client list.
Timely allows staff to customise bookings and note which park Bronte likes to walk, or whether or not Boomer is happy on his lead. Customising bookings to be more pet-centric is vital for the business.
Timely is quick and easy for Julia’s staff to use, meaning they can get paws through the doors more smoothly at drop-off and pick-up time!
And since their clients don’t necessarily get queues, a faster check-in can prevent a lot of chaos.
Happy Paws has taken off in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and Julia can sense further growth. Over the next few years, she plans to open two other facilities in Sydney, a highly populated city with plenty of pet-friendly apartments.
Happy Paws allows Sydney pet owners have it all; a busy job and the joys of pet-parenthood. With a flat screen television and a room filled with toys, balls and treats, Julia’s created the ideal home away from home for Sydney’s pets, and the ideal business for her and Lord Dudley.