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Meet Nicole Fiorentino of The Pet Groupies in Northeast LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Fiorentino.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Nicole. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’m a Massachusetts native who has been living in LA since 2000. I moved out here originally to pursue music. I have always had a passion for both music and animals. They have been my two big loves since as far back as I can remember. I had the privilege of being able to play music professionally for many years as a touring bass player for some really big bands, the most recent being The Smashing Pumpkins. It was a dream come true and had been my life goal for a very long time! I feel so grateful that I was able to have that experience, knowing how hard it is to break into the entertainment industry! So now that I have a new career working with animals it seems almost too good to be true. Somehow I’ve been able to create a life for myself doing what I love for the second time around. I think I’ve always had a strong belief in the idea that if you do what you love then the money will come. And I guess I’ve just always trusted in that.

In 2015 I decided that I was done with the touring lifestyle and wanted to be at home. I always knew that I wanted my next path to involve working with animals but I wasn’t sure in what capacity. During my early years as a musician I worked for various pet sitting/dog walking businesses for extra income. it always felt like the perfect side gig for me as an animal lover, and I remembered at the end of the day just feeling so fulfilled having spent the day with so many sweet pups and kitties. Animal therapy is the real deal! I wanted to create that same feeling within my own business. And to maintain an aspect of my former career as a musician by only hiring other creative types. I wanted to support their ventures the way I was supported in my early days.

When I started The Pet Groupies in 2015 it was just myself. Within 3 months, I had to hire my first employee. It grew exponentially faster than I had ever imagined and I think it was because of the energy I was putting into it. I truly love what I do and I think people (and animals) pick up on that! Almost 5 years later, I now have an amazing team of 15 animal caretakers who all share my passion for animals and have creative passions of their own. I feel so lucky that I’ve been able to find a way to combine my two dreams! A business that supports the utmost professional care of animals and the creative pursuits of an amazing team of artists (whom I would not be here without!). I also still play music, I just don’t travel as much now. I have a band with some of my closest friends called Bizou in which I play bass and sing background vocals. I feel incredibly lucky!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I had never owned a business before, nor had I ever been anyone’s boss! So navigating that road has been my biggest challenge. Luckily I have a sister who owns her own company so I’ve been able to go to her for advice along the way. There have been some hiccups for sure, but I am figuring it out as I go! I just keep going back to the reason why I started it in the first place, my love for animals. As long as I am still in it for the right reason then I feel like I will continue on, even though as any small business owner knows, there are going to be challenges! The first two years were the hardest. But once I figured out the business end of things, it became a mostly well-oiled machine!

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about The Pet Groupies – what should we know?
We offer one on one dog walking, so your pup gets our undivided attention, cat sitting and overnight pet sitting in your home. I think we are most proud of the loving energy we bring to each animal. Our slogan is “We’re your Pet’s biggest fans!”. and this is how we treat each and every one of them. Like a rock star! I have clients tell me all the time that they can tell by our detailed and thoughtful updates and daily photos that their pet is happy and content, and that brings them so much comfort when they’re at work or out of town. People are always expressing to me how much relief they feel knowing their pet is in the best hands! It warms my heart to hear it! I feel really good about our Yelp reviews, we have great ratings because my clients take time out to post about the level of care we put into our visits.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
My passion for animals, and the desire to take care of them the best way I know how, shines through in my good communication with the owners, asking the right questions, getting to know their pets personalities and quirks (I always work with new clients myself for a while before bringing in any of my employees so that I know all the ins and outs!) attention to detail is very important when caring for animals. being a pet owner myself and knowing what I would want for my own fur babies, as well as being an Aries and having a very competitive edge (striving to be the best pet sitting in LA!)

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Red Kup Photo

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