Crystal Bennett-Lazo is a prime example of someone identifying a lack of something special in her city and acting on it to fill the void. That’s exactly what her store, Hip Pooch, brings to dog owners not only in Winnipeg, but also globally with the launch of her e-commerce one-stop-shop…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
In a nutshell, Hip Pooch provides quality dog products, including many items not found anywhere else in the city of Winnipeg.
Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
I had always worked in small, independent retail stores, where I learned a lot about their inner workings, from buying to merchandising. I then wanted to own my own store, but didn’t know what direction I would take it. My now-husband then bought an English bulldog, and then there was just no question that I would open a dog store, with all the products we loved and could not find in Winnipeg.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part is coming to work every day for myself, along with interacting with all types of dogs and their owners on a daily basis. The most challenging is making sure my customers are always happy, listening to their wants and needs and then making that a reality. Getting past the first year was very challenging. From then on, it has remained a challenge to keep up with the times, to make sure to be online, engaged in all social media, and always finding new products and services for my customers. Every few years I attend trade shows to keep up with what’s new in the dog world, and that is a big help.
Where do you see your business going in five years?
In five years I would really like for the online sector of the store to really be taking off, and for our new services – grooming and self-serve dog wash – to be booming.
What does success look like to you?
Success to me is loving what you do every day.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Having the opportunity to expand in the space I am currently in. I am now able to provide more products and new services for my customers, which would not have been possible before unless we moved.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
My advice is: Don’t do something just because you see someone else succeeding at it and think you can be successful too. What may work for them, may not work for you. Be your own person with your own ideas and passion for what you enjoy. Then your success will come.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I support the Winnipeg Humane Society and the Boston Terrier & Pug Rescue of Manitoba. I prefer to support the smaller rescues as they need a lot more help; sometimes people forget about them. It’s important to me as they are helping dogs have better lives, whether they need surgery or to find a new home. The volunteers work their butts off everyday and they need our support.
What is Notable to you?
That we are now online with a full e-commerce website! That I am able to provide the stuff customers love, worldwide, and that Hip Pooch can now be a one-stop-shop for everything your dog loves and needs.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
I enjoy going to the gym and playing indoor soccer. I love to play sports and to watch them.
#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)