For more than a decade, Alexandra Ednoff has been grooming herself for the opportunity to get behind the wheel of her very own business. But not just any business. The exuberant owner of “The Art of Dog Grooming” had wanted to funnel her enthusiasm and affection for all animals in a way that would give dogs — and dog owners — an attentive and meticulous service like no other.
“I wanted to incorporate my background and elevate the whole experience of dog grooming,” said Alexandra, who began her professional journey while still in high school, when she worked part-time at Aliso Niguel Animal Hospital. In 2011, she traveled to South Africa to rehabilitate orphaned baboons. Two years later, Alexandra earned her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of California, Davis, which opened doors for her as a veterinary technician at Arrowhead Veterinary Hospital in Colorado, followed by various positions at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
The spark for starting her own luxury dog-grooming service began at the request of her mother, who nearly lost her own beloved dog to a neglectful big-chain animal supply and grooming service. Thanks to Alexandra’s savvy and quick-thinking, she helped her mom’s dog survive exposure to harmful chemicals.
“After that experience with my mother’s dog,” Alexandra said, “I knew what I wanted to do. Dog owners aren’t aware of how intricate a visit to the groomers can be for their animal. So, I set my sights on creating a different experience for the animal, the groomer and the owner.”
While Alexandra hit a couple of speed bumps on the way to starting her business, it was her introduction to the professionals, like her business consultant, Frank Plasso, at the Orange County SBDC.
“Frank basically oversaw everything,” said Alexandra. “He has unlimited energy, and really his enthusiasm mirrored my own.”
Alexandra worked with Frank weekly, spending hours at a time discussing marketing, figuring financial projections, researching competition, and solving all the small details.
“Frank’s encouragement gave me just enough of a push to get things done,” admits Alexandra. “Working full-time and trying to get a business going on the side is extremely difficult. Frank did such a terrific job giving me homework, brainstorming ideas and stoking my passion. But he also ensured that nothing got too overwhelming. He was always available, always willing to answer questions and always eager to help.”
“Entrepreneurs who want to follow their business dreams should start with the passionate folks at SBDC,” recommends Alexandra. “I doubt that I would’ve known where to start on my own. It’s simply a fantastic, indispensable resource.”