While Americans are struggling to bounce back from a tough economy, Rodney Dorival has found a way to reinvent himself.
Dorival owns his own pet care concierge business in New York City, called “Big Paws Little Claws.” A business that has grown in the face of a harsh recession. Figures show pet spending in 2009 grew over 5 percent to over 45 billion dollars according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association.
Dorival offers full service to his clients, whom are primarily residents in Manhattan’s Financial District.
“My vision is to really be a pet concierge service. We can help pet owners with anything they need: vet appointments, picking up their food, grooming appointments, anything they need at all. We work with dogs, cats, lizards, and birds,” said Dorival.
Owning a successful pet care business wasn’t always Dorival’s dream. His passion was music. After graduating Maxwell Vocational High School in Brooklyn, he began studying sound engineering at Jambox Studios. He then started working for a marketing firm but resigned when the company could only keep him or a friend.
After resigning from his position another friend gave him an opportunity. “A good friend of mine named LaTanya took a chance on me. She owns a pet care service in Brooklyn called Spoil-A-pet. I started working for her part time and I loved it so much I started doing it full time. I found my niche,” He explained.
Dorival is constantly stopped by random people on the street who are drawn to the cute dogs or just want directions and advice on the best places to eat. He started to see himself as a walking search engine.
“My team and I were like walking billboards and street teams. I thought it would be cool if I could help promote a great product,” said Dorvial. He knew someone at the search engine “Bing” and after approaching them about the idea they were instantly on board.
Now when the walkers take the dogs out they wear shirts with the logo of the sponsor, just like a boxer or race car driver. One logo represents the client, in this case Bing, on the front of the shirt and on the back a promotion for his own company “Big Paws Little
Claws”. The walkers also give you information about the client and give bystanders a card, outlining Bing’s pet-related services for clients.
The marketing idea is gaining momentum. Glassy Baby, a high-end carved glass retailer, is also planning to advertise with Dorival. Now he is walking quite a few dogs, all the way to the bank.