How Cortney Moody Leaned on SCORE on Her Path to Startup Success with Comfort Paws Mobile Canine Spa
A Q&A with a client of SCORE serving Southeast Michigan.
Tell us about your business.
My name is Cortney Moody, and my business’s name is Comfort Paws Mobile Canine Spa LLC. I operate out of a self-contained mobile grooming unit that allows me to groom dogs in the comfort of their driveway, without needing access to the client’s water or power supplies. My focus while I work is on the dog’s well-being, not just the haircut looking good (which is another high priority of mine!).
How has SCORE helped you along your journey as an entrepreneur?
SCORE has been instrumental to my current level of business ownership. Certified Volunteer Mentors David Broner and David Hennessy have been very helpful, and I have always felt comfortable asking any questions that come to mind. I have met several knowledgeable people through networking in this organization that I would not have met if I had tried to do this on my own. Before contacting SCORE, I just had this idea in my head to start my own grooming business, but it never felt real. I have wanted to do this for years, and I feel that I needed some accountability from someone to really take my dreams seriously. Meeting mentors at SCORE made it so that I couldn’t just give up after some half-baked planning because my excuses of not knowing what the next step should be disappeared.
What should other entrepreneurs know about SCORE that might surprise them?
I think most people who aspire to run their own business would be surprised to learn that meeting with a mentor at SCORE does not cost anything. I would also like them to know about all the wonderful seminars and workshops available, which cover such a wide variety of subjects. Setting up an appointment with a mentor was easy, and if someone wants to know what steps they need to take to get to the next part of their journey, it is worth their time.
What will your business look like in 10 years?
As my business is just starting, I try to keep my focus on the present and the next few years. It is hard to say where I will be in ten years because I have so many things I want to accomplish, and in that time period my dreams may change. As of now, I hold several goals: I want to learn canine massage therapy, which I believe will be a perfect accompaniment to my grooming abilities. I would like to learn how to groom cats and offer services out of my business for them. I also have the option of adding a second groomer to my business later and having them work out of the van on my days off. Building on that idea, I could start a fleet of vehicles, all with groomers who put the same amount of care and effort into the pets’ well being.
Passing on my knowledge is important to me, as this is a trade best learned through apprenticeship. In the future I would also like to be a mentor to fledgling groomers, educating them on proper care of the animals and professionalism in our industry, along with the typical education that becoming a groomer contains. As of right now, pet grooming is an unregulated field, ripe with poorly trained groomers and, sadly, either purposeful or accidental bad treatment of the animals entrusted to our care. In my future I would like to start some sort of grooming group that is a way for groomers to network, build skills, and maybe figure out how to further legitimize our industry.
What else should we know about you?
I have always loved animals, and as soon as I was 15, which was old enough to volunteer at the Virginia Zoo, I took a volunteer position there in the barnyard section of the zoo to begin building my resume of working with animals. At 16, I moved from this to working at a veterinary facility that also houses a kennel as a kennel attendant. This was my first official job with animals, and at first, I was taken aback by how difficult the work was. Despite the mental hardships of the position, I stuck with it, determined to continue working with animals despite not knowing exactly what career I wanted.
I was lucky to have made friends with a girl who went on to work at a grooming salon in a pet store called Care-A-Lot Pet Supply, and when they had a position open up for a bather, she pulled some strings and got me the job. After a year and a half of doing this work, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. Due to some family issues, I had to move to Michigan with my now-husband, and I was fortunate to get a job as a bather at PetSmart. I made it clear in my entry interview that I wanted to be a groomer at their company, and I worked hard to prove myself. After six months, I was moved ahead of another bather to be sent to PetSmart’s grooming academy, and I stayed there for a couple years fulfilling my contract to them.
During my time at PetSmart, I learned about mobile grooming, and it intrigued me. I decided I would spend the next several years working at several different salons, so that when I ventured out to start my own business, I could have that knowledge of how different salons operate. Several years of different salons went by, until last summer when I decided it was time to take this dream of mine seriously and follow through.
So here I am, at the beginning of this beautiful journey. Although I am just beginning, I feel so fulfilled, like I am doing what I am meant to. I wish for everyone to find a place in life where they are as satisfied as I am in mine.