From established entrepreneurs to pandemic-borne pioneers, Dubai’s ever-growing gang of sensational female self-starters is nothing less than mind-blowing. Need some inspiration to go into business on your own? Today, we’re continuing our series on female entrepreneurs, introducing you to the amazing women making Dubai the start-up capital of the world – complete with a few gold-plated nuggets of business wisdom to set you off in the right direction.
Good pet-sitters are hard to find in Dubai, as Claire Lambert discovered. After a disappointing experience with a pet-sitting company booked to look after her cat whilst she was on holiday in 2015, Claire realised there was a four-legged-shaped gap in the market for a reliable and trustworthy animal lover with a can-do attitude and brilliant business plan.
The Dubai Cat Sitting Company, Dubai Dog Sitting Company,
My Pets & Co, The Vet Store, and Animalia Club
What was your ‘lightbulb’ moment?
It was when I realised I clearly wasn’t the only person who needed someone genuinely trustworthy to look after their pets when they went on holiday. For the first year, I was cat-sitting solo across the city, helping friends dotted everywhere from Mirdif to DIP. But when the after work and weekend kitty-sitting gigs became so frequent that I was struggling to keep up, I realised I had to quit my full time job to cope with the demand. The original whiteboard planner in my bedroom with bookings quickly became a CRM with over 50 cat-sitters on my team – and suddenly The Dubai Cat Sitting Company was born.
What was your vision when you first launched the business?
My vision was to be the most trusted pet-sitting company in Dubai. Now, with five arms to the business, our vision is to build on our portfolio of services, offering quality and value to pet owners as a complete pet care services provider.
What has the past six years been like for you as an entrepreneur?
Full of extremely hard work, but rewarding. The pandemic affected our business in both a negative and a positive way. Our pet-sitting service suffered last year, but our online stores were booming. But, now, with everyone travelling again, our pet-sitting service has never been so busy. I haven’t had a day off since November 1 of last year, which makes socialising with friends and spending quality time with my husband (and eight cats and two dogs) a bit of challenge.
What do you think is the key to entrepreneurial success?
Never give up – keep driving, keep evolving. I’m continuously dedicated to my work, and we’re constantly evolving to meet our customer’s needs.
What has been your proudest moment as a business owner?
Being able to support Animals and Us in Fujairah with its monthly pet food supplies for strays and rescues. So many pets are dumped because of a change in people’s financial reasons; I want to help reduce this whilst supporting local businesses.
Which entrepreneurs do you admire?
Katherine Cebrowski, the co-owner and creative director of Furchild Pet Nutrition. She was the first in the market to introduce raw diets for pets and has been the leader ever since. She’s very strong-minded, knows exactly what her customers want, and delivers an exceptional service.
What’s the best piece of business advice that you can give to budding entrepreneurs?
Stay focused and believe in what you’re doing. Dubai is a great place to start a business as there are still a lot of untapped opportunities waiting to be discovered. Identifying the next generation of opportunities is always the path to creating a successful new business.
NEXT UP: What makes award-winning photographer Hyku D’s business brain tick?