We had the good fortune of connecting with Christina Calautti and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Christina, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Living in Los Angeles and being a new pup owner 4 years ago, I searched high and low for the best place I felt my dog was safe but also where I can buy him really cute stuff. For some reason, every place fell short! I couldn’t believe in LA there was no place that was not only a second home sweet home for my fur baby but nowhere that sold adorable pet wear. I took my fashion and marketing background and started making a plan. I knew I had to create a place that people loved, felt at home, knew their pup was safe in their care, AND absolutely adorable! In Los Angeles, pets are our children. I wanted to create a space where other pet owners feel the same and want the absolute best for their fur babies

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Mr Specks is known for its unbeatable customer service and concierge. We make sure to make every client and pup feel like family because to us, they are! We don’t just say hi and bye. We learn about our clients and create a long lasting friendship with them. A Speck’s pup has an owner that wants the best for their fur baby, so we only provide the very best for them. It sounds like a no brainer, but many facilities just don’t offer the type of concierge you’d expect as a loving dog owner.

When it comes to our retail boutique, we have designer and fashion inspired items everyone goes crazy for! Our parody toys are also a hit. Many designs are custom made by me and local designers, so you can’t find it elsewhere. This drives many people to our store and online boutique to get the most awesome goodies for their pets, and love taking photos of their pups in our gear! Seeing customers get a good laugh at our funny pet items and get so excited as they enter our store is what makes me smile every single day. I strived to also make our boutique extra instagrammable. We all love taking selfies and photos with our pups, so it was a no brainer I needed to create the best photo op’s from the outside in for our fur babies and pawrents to enjoy and make memories!

Starting this business was not easy in any way. I took over the business right before COVID19 began. Little did I know the world would change very quickly. After Covid struck and made businesses like mine shut down, the riots happened. My original building was 6000 sq ft. It got caught in the riots. Although stressful and devastating, I knew my journey wasn’t going to end there. I had to relocate and rebuild quickly. On the bright side, it was the perfect opportunity to rebrand and revamp Mr Specks to what you see today. Going from 6000 sq ft to 2000 sq ft and needing to make sure we can provide most of the same services was a challenge, but we did it.

I had never run a business before Mr Specks. While all of these outside issues crashed on us, I was also learning how to run a proper business. I have learned, failed, experimented new ideas, and it took me 2 years to finally see some light after many sleepless nights. I’m a fighter and knew I had to make this work. We’ve won consistent awards yearly that we are so proud of. Even today, I’m lucky if I get 3 hours of sleep! But, Mr Specks is my entire world, and I have so many new plans in the works that I’m so proud of.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh wow! There are so many great places to go! I would definitely have them visit my go-to: the polo lounge at the Beverly Hills hotel. Of course ordering the iconic soufflé and walking through the hotel to see the history of Beverly Hills. For a relaxing day, I’d take my friends to Newport Beach or Laguna. There are so many adorable boutiques and restaurants, and can easily make it a beach day. A comedy club along sunset and a rooftop bar with a view would be a great way to end a trip with friends!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My father taught me from a young age to work hard. He is a hardworking Italian man who has supported me every step of my journey. His love for animals is also what made me an animal lover myself. We always had at least 4+ pets in the house!

When I took over Specks in 2020, many of the original team members stood by my side during the most tough year for businesses. Shoutout to them for getting Specks to where it is today, believing in its journey, and being by my side through the highs and lows!

Website: https://www.mrspecksplayhouse.com/

Instagram: @mrspeckspets

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/mrspecksplayhouse/

Youtube: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCD8_4yuWLJ2TWJD7rmXR2Kw

Image Credits
Professional store photos taken by photographer Steve Carrillo

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.