We sat down with AWE Loan clients, Perla Pereira and Myrna Saramago to learn more about their new business, Oh My Dog Spa located in Edmonton, AB.
Myrna and Perla were both born and raised in Brazil, however, in 2013, the two met for the first time in Edmonton.
Perla was temporarily living in the city, while Myrna had re-located to Edmonton full-time with her family. Myrna, a Business graduate and Perla, an Engineer had no idea five years later, they would be opening their own dog grooming salon in Edmonton.
"My family and I moved to the Windermere area and realized very quickly that there were no grooming solutions similar to Brazil. In Brazil, the pet industry is second in the world. Every week you take your dog for a grooming. Here in Canada, it's every four to six weeks. After testing out a number of groomers, we realized what we had in Brazil would be amazing to bring to Edmonton."
While Myrna conducted her market research, Perla worked on obtaining her visa. They found their location and knew that this was going to be the spot for them.
"The builder only had two spots left in this development. He asked if we had a business plan for us to hold the space. I said yes, but I didn't even have it completed yet (laughs). After we had the space I worked non-stop to secure the financing and obtain all the required licenses and certifications. We opened our doors in April 2018."
Securing financing as a new business can be challenging for many entrepreneurs. The two found out about AWE through their personal banker and were able to secure financing with both AWE and ATB to open their business.
"The AWE loan has provided us with the working capital we need to grow the business and maintain our operations. Our Business Advisor has been great to work with and very supportive."
When asked what advice the partners would share to anyone looking to open their own business, both unanimously said: "do what you like and what you're passionate about. If you're doing something just for the money, the chances of it lasting long-term is slim." The two also added that being prepared to work long days in the beginning is essential as is completing market research prior to opening.
"The demand needs to be there. Do your market research and see who and where your competitors are. Location is key, especially as a retail business."
The goals for Oh My Dog Spa in the coming year is to keep operations running smoothly while hiring new employees and grooming 420 dogs per month.
To learn more about the AWE Loan Program, visit our financing page and our requirements.