Teal Hallam has always been an animal lover. This love motivated her to work in a vet clinic part-time in high school. Later when she went on to college, she chose to become a vet tech and wildlife rehabilitator.
Hallam embarked on her first business, Bonzai Gifts, in 2010 after she got her first sewing machine for Christmas. She started making dog leashes, and expanded her product line from there. After spending some time working with wildlife and in clinic, she decided in 2015 to move into her second business venture, Pet Nanny.
The Kingsville Times recently interviewed Hallam about her businesses.
How would you describe your services and products?
Pet Nanny is a mobile service, so I come to your home to take care of your pets while you’re away, whether it’s during a long work day or for weeks while you’re away. I provide 1-3 visits a day depending of your pets needs.
Bonzai has a variety of cat and dog products. I make leashes, collars (both buckle and martingale), no-tie bandanas, bow ties, poop bag dispensers, cat and dog toys, blankets, catnip cuddle mats for cats, car safety buckles and a couple things for humans as well, such as coffee cup cozies and keychain wristlets. All products are made with extra stitches for strength and I’m always looking for ways to improve my products.
Who are your target clients?
People with pets! And for Pet Nanny, those busy pet parents, and ones who enjoy vacationing.
What advice would you give to others who might be considering starting a business?
It’s a learning experience, especially if you don’t have any business background. Luckily I have family in business so they were much help. Also, word of mouth is your best form of advertisement.
What is your business motto?
Pet Nanny’s motto is “Providing care when you can’t be there!”
I strive to bring the best care to your pets, because they deserve the best. Being a registered veterinary technician, I am trained in animal CPR and first aid. I’m also constantly educating myself in animal health.
Bonzai’s motto is to provide customers with quality pet products that your pets will love too!
What do your clients say about your business?
I have had some very touching reviews. My clients love the fact that I send them pictures of their pets after every visit so they can see what their pets are up to.
Many can tell by their expression, how comfortable their pets are with me.
What are your plans for business growth? Are there new services or products that clients can look out for?
Pet Nanny is expanding more of its service area to Harrow and Essex this year in hopes to reach more pet parents in need!
As for Bonzai, I’m hoping to add more products to my online Etsy shop this year to provide others with more of my products.
How has COVID affected your business and what have you done to COVID-proof your business?
Since Pet Nanny is solely sustained by pet parents that are away, unfortunately I have had a huge cut in service. Not many are vacationing, and many are working from home now so it’s been difficult.
Where I am still providing service though, I make sure to wear a mask when needed and always sanitize my hands before and after entering a home.
That being said, the local handmade community has been very supportive and I’ve been able to make more products for people. I have made many masks as well. I am very grateful for my customers and to have Bonzai as a side business to get me through this pandemic. Pet supplies have become more full time than I ever expected. You can find my handmade pet supplies at The Local Maker in Kingsville.
Teal Hallam’s Contact Information:
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