In Summary

  • She started by grooming her neighbours’ dogs in her veranda for free.
  • But some months down the line, the business is thriving.

For Angela Mukirae-Kihenjo, 33, pets make the world go round.

“I’ve had a cat for eight years. Her name is Tasha. Tasha is a Maine Coon breed, she’s colour ginger. She’s a family member,” says Angela.

Besides owning a pet, Angela earns a living from pets. She is the owner of Pets Paradise, a pet grooming and boarding company located in Kongoni Road, Karen. It sits on a quarter acre.

Angela opened shop in January last year. “The services we offer for pets are grooming, boarding facilities and playgroup,” she says, adding: “We also sell dog accessories like organic herbal soap and dog food. Two other services we’ll introduce are dog walking and dog hikes.”

On the day we meet, there are four dogs on site: Bolt and Sugar are permanent residents; Duke and Sport are boarders who would be checking out in a few days. “Sugar is the only female. All of them are mixed breeds. Bolt is a mix of German Sheppard and Golden retriever. There are more than 240 dog breeds but most of the dogs in Kenya are mixed breeds, very few are pure,” says Angela.

Besides running the business with her husband Rodney, Angela gets assistance from her team of three: Kyalo, Martin and Juma. They handle the dogs, and take turns watch over the dogs at night.

So, how did she start the business?

Angela, who holds a bachelors degree in Finance from Catholic University, stumbled into the idea of grooming pets in 2010. But before that, she had been in formal employment.

 She graduated in October 2007 and started her career in July 2008. For the next eight years, Angela worked for a string of non-profit organisations. She did not stay in any one of the jobs for more than three years because she wanted her career to grow. Her last job was a project finance manager. “The most important thing I learned from that job was how to manage people,” she says.

Angela always had a side-hustle running: “I did network marketing, imported and sold women’s bags and shoes,” she says.

 “I stumbled into the idea of grooming pets in 2010. I already had Tasha, my cat, at that time. I researched on the viability of the business and got a school in Switzerland that offered an online diploma in pet grooming. The course was to run for one year. It cost Sh124, 000.”

Angela shelved the idea until 2014, when she pulled some cash from her savings and enrolled for her coursework. She was already sniffing the industry. “There were three other such businesses in Kenya but they were offering mobile grooming.”

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