If you had a business with that kind of track record, What would you do next?

Well, if it was a service-based business… and if you were really smart… and if you wanted to keep growing without having to bring on more employees, rent more retail space, or add to your fleet of mobile pet groomers, you’d do like Taria Avery is doing. You’d build a physical products brand.

In 2008, Taria was living the high life. That is, if flying around the world as a corporate management consultant working for one of the top three consulting firms in the world is anywhere near as glamorous and exciting as it sounds. (It isn’t.) 

Every week was the same.

Monday: Stand in line at the kennel, drop her baby (a chocolate lab) off. Friday: Stand in the same line with the same fur baby parents, retrieve her pup, go home for a couple of days. In between? Live out of her suitcase, miss her dog, and wonder if there was a better way.

Turns out, there was. That’s when Taria launched Avery’s Pet Styling Salon in the Philly area. While people in her corporate world asked, “Why would you quit your great job to go play with dogs?” Taria asked, “Why wouldn’t I?” (Same.)

She tried raising investor funds for the doggie equivalent of Club Med + Whole Foods. It did not go well.

So, she bootstrapped her business and grew the heck out of it. First, it was a side gig reserved for weekends and nights when she was in town. One woman, one van, and all the fur. But within about 18 months, Taria had built a business that could sit and stay. She went full time in 2009.

Within five years, they became one of the biggest mobile pet grooming businesses in the Philadelphia metro area. At one point, Avery’s had 6 vans that have covered over 500K miles, a staff of 10 groomers, and 2 storefronts. There was also a grooming school, so hiring was as easy as training groomers to do their job the Avery’s way. Taria changed many, many lives by providing employment to people who really needed a second chance in life… or a first.

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And then the pandemic hit. Oy.

Nobody wanted someone coming into their home. Nobody wanted to go to a grooming salon. Dogs just got hairy. Or ended up with the equivalent of that bowl cut your mom gave you in 3rd grade. But where many other groomers faced business-ending challenges, the fact Taria’s business was already mobile was a godsend. 

Still, there are only so many hours in a day. Even if you multiply more groomers by extra mobile fleet additions, you still run up against a ceiling. This, folks, is why brilliant service providers look at adding a physical products brand to their businesses. Capacity limits bite.

That’s what pushed Taria to join the Capitalism Incubator last year. She’s already launched Avery’s Holistic Paws, a pet wellness brand. The first products aim to keep fur babies healthy and well. Ultimately, they also solve some pretty awful pet problems. If you’ve ever been awakened by the sound of your dog scratching like mad, you know.

Product development research was relatively easy for Taria since she already had a ginormous customer list. She talked with her clients to find out what problems she could solve for them. Rather than launching a product line backed by stats and data, she discovered what they really wanted.

What products does Taria sell?

The product line aims to improve the quality of life and longevity for fur babies, starting from the inside. The first products are a prebiotic and probiotic for better gut health and balanced intestinal flora. If your dog has itchy paws, you need this stuff. Plus, she launched a dental stick for easy and effective oral care. (Ever tried to brush your dog’s teeth? They ain’t falling for the chicken-flavored toothpast trick!) 

The bigger plan here is to launch 6-8 products to start and grow from there. Inside the Incubator, Taria will learn how to pitch her business to investors. But she’ll also learn more about building it to sell… if she wants. And even if she never sells, she’ll learn to bring in expert service providers and other strategic partners so she doesn’t have to spend all her time working in this business. With littles in the house, that’s the secret to a balanced life.


We asked Taria to share the best advice she’s got for you, and it’s good:

“No one can predict the future. You have to plan it. If you want a certain outcome, you have to plan for it and work toward it. Take it down into bite-sized chunks and execute a little each day. You’ll get there.” 

Thanks, Taria! We’ll be cheering you on every step of the way.

Seeing our students, like Taria Avery, create successful businesses from scratch inspires us to keep doing what we do best - empowering entrepreneurs to reach their potential.

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