Julie Thomas had been working for LaSalle Bank for ten years when she got her final assignment. She was transferred to Chicago to sell the bank-essentially, to sell herself out of a job.
In that situation, most people of Thomas’ ilk would have begun the search for another corporate career. But with new-found freedom and a little extra cash, Thomas took a different route. She decided to follow her idiosyncratic dream– to start an eco-friendly doggy daycare. Earth Pups was born.
Thomas’ dream started with the two dogs she calls her babies. Since adopting them from a rescue agency, she had nursed a budding dream of owning her own dog day care.
“I never thought I’d have the courage,” she said. “But then, you get handed the choice. I could jump back on the corporate treadmill… or, I could do what I want to do.”
Thomas’ husband supported her decision and desire to build her business her own way.
“I knew I’d be here 24/7,” she said. “So I wanted the standards to be something I’ be happy with. We live in a green way, so we built this green for ourselves.”
Though everything from the paneling to the paper is eco-friendly, Thomas and her husband don’t make that the selling point of their business. Their clients are not a niche bunch of hippy dog owners. Instead, Thomas and her husband market Earth Pups as a specialized small dog care facility.
“I don’t think [the fact that we are a green establishment] is attracting people. It’s not the number one priority [for them],” she said.
Instead, the business targets doting owners of small dogs. Thomas determined her clientele and location with the aid of a consultant who owns several dog day-cares. He offered great advice but he also happened to be against the idea of going green-business owners rarely make up the cost of being eco-friendly. But Thomas was committed.
“This is important to me and this is my business,” she said.