We had the good fortune of connecting with Krista Castro and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Krista, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My original thought process behind starting my own business was…what can I create that will increase the joy in my life AND provide joy to others? I was great at the “corporate game” in sales and management, but it really didn’t create any joy in my life. I had a very happy life, but I was stuck in that stereotypical rat race of corporate, and it was just this waste of space in my life that was “meh” at best. I looked at the next 30+ years and thought…this just isn’t good enough. I have this one life, and I want it to be filled with joy. And what brings me joy? Working with dogs! I have been surrounded by dogs my entire life (personal pets, rescue work, pet sitting, dog walking, etc.), and I knew that dogs created this natural and fulfilling joy not only in my life but in the lives of others. Living in Los Angeles, we have this beautiful dog culture here. Although we have a Dog Daycare on just about every corner, I knew I could create a new and genuine concept that not only provided an elevated experience for the dogs but also provide genuine peace-of-mind for their owners as well. With so many health and safety risks in the Dog Daycare and Boarding industry, I was completely shocked to learn this industry is not regulated in Los Angeles (no limits to the number of dogs in a facility, no guidelines as to how many staff members are required to supervise groups of dogs, no staff training requirements, no cleaning requirements, etc.). This terrified me as I was bringing my own puppy to local Dog Daycares thinking she was safe. I quickly learned the dark side of this industry when I started asking questions and doing research once I wasn’t satisfied with my own personal experience with my puppy. I wanted to provide a new concept of Dog Daycare and Boarding, so I took two years to research, shadow other business owners across the country, study every new trend, learn even more about dog psychology, study the safest practices of dog handling, and really thought about what would be good enough for my own dog. If I was going to do this and chase that “joy” in a completely new career, I was going to do it the right way! I put everything I had into building PAWparazzi, and it was the biggest risk I ever took in my entire life. The journey into Entrepreneurship was beautifully difficult, and I have never once regretted it. Even on the toughest days, I find joy. Since opening PAWparazzi, my husband and I welcomed our beautiful daughter. The pride I feel for chasing this dream and capturing that joy seems immeasurable when I see the way she looks at her joyful Mama when I’m working. I want to teach her to take risks, be passionate, be genuine, work hard, find your joy, and help create joy for others!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve climbed the corporate ladder with a huge organization, and I have helped a small company from Australia launch their US branch here in Los Angeles. Both definitely had their challenges (relocations, extremely difficult Managers, lack of processes, etc.). Having a large corporate experience combined with helping to launch a small business branch has uniquely positioned me with a wide range of experience and a diverse skill set to start my own small business here in Los Angeles. As the owner of a small business, I know and understand that my business is only as good as my Team. Every person I hire must meet or exceed my high standards regarding the care of our dogs, and our sincere approach to customer service. We love to build relationships with our customers as we want them to trust us to care for their precious fur babies. It’s an honor to have that trust, and we sincerely value it. I didn’t start this business to just be another Dog Daycare in Los Angeles because I see every dog as a dollar sign. I started it because I felt there was a need for sincere and genuine care that actually put the health, safety, and well-being of every dog as the highest priority. I want to ensure every dog is happy and stress-free in our facility. Not every dog is meant for Dog Daycare or Boarding (and that is ok!), so we require every dog to pass a Temperament Test before they can enroll in any of our services. Why do we do this? Because we will be completely upfront and honest if we do not feel your dog is able to have a relaxing stay with us. This reinforces our genuine approach to dog care as we provide you with peace of mind when your dog is staying with us. My passion is to help provide joy to our dogs and their owners and building those sincere relationships and that trust is absolutely everything!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If they brought their dog, I would have them to book a Boarding stay to have a super fun “staycation” at PAWparazzi for a few days while we explored the few areas of Los Angeles that might not be as dog friendly! A few hotspots for me would be a few beach destinations (smaller beaches of Malibu, eating fried seafood and enjoying a cold beer at Neptune’s Net, driving up and down PCH, exploring Manhattan or Hermosa Beach), exploring the current exhibits at the Getty Museum (which also offers a beautiful view of the city), walking the Venice Boardwalk is a must to see the diverse culture, grabbing dinner at any of the fabulous restaurants around Abbot Kinney Blvd, hiking around Malibu, ice cream sandwiches at Diddy Riese by UCLA, maybe grab a celebrity-inspired hotdog at Pink’s, and just eat and drink our way around the city!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My fellow ODDers! (Owners of Dog Daycares Facebook Group) – This peer and mentor group of other Dog Daycare Owners around the world has been crucial to my success offering advice, networking, friendship, annual conferences, comradery, and sanity in the often crazy world of Entrepreneurship!