Starting a new business at the height of the pandemic

Starting a new business at the height of the pandemic
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#SupportLocal: starting a new business at the height of the pandemic

With the support of our readers and advertisers, The Echo was able to give back 60 free listings to local businesses, clubs and organizations through our Covid-19 Giveback program – including Citywise Education.

We have started publishing the announcements in the newspaper and they will be updated weekly HERE. Take a look and support local businesses, support local life!

By Maurice Garvey

Starting a business is tough, but the onset of a global pandemic has made it even more difficult for a local dog training service.

Lucie Dehe is the owner of Lucie’s Pooches, a Clondalkin-based dog training company that opened in March.

Lucie and Wile E Coyote

“Right before we went into lockdown I was just starting to figure out how to run a business, how to do private sessions and teach on my own (I’ve worked with other trainers before).

Word of mouth was spreading and the ball had started to really roll. And suddenly, I had to stop everything, ”said Lucie.

“Then when I was finally able to get back to work, I had problems with my business showing up as closed on search engines and not being able to fix it. It took almost two weeks to fix this problem causing me to miss out on many job opportunities.

Covid restrictions have led to changes in the business model.

Lucie continued, “I have to think about spacing out my appointments to give myself time to clean and disinfect my equipment or exchange accessories. It took a bit of getting used to wearing a mask and talking a lot. My voice got tired very quickly and started to shake randomly at first.

“I have had to reduce the number of group lesson participants and play dates now that we can organize them again. I had to do a few sessions in the elements or remotely to avoid being in contact with a family member of a client who might be vulnerable. I don’t mind being in the rain, but some clients and their dogs do, so it’s hard for them to enjoy the session. Some dogs were also very scared of the mask!

Growing up in France, Lucie arrived in Ireland as an au pair in 2005. An animal lover, she has been working with dogs and studying dog training and behavior since early 2015.

“It’s just me, and my dog ​​Wile E Coyote if she counts as an employee – she thinks so.

Lucie offers 121 dog and puppy training, can meet clients and their dogs at home or in a nearby park.

She also gives evening group lessons for puppies and young dogs in a dog daycare in Kimmage.

Word of mouth is a key driver of the business, which Lucie says is about building relationship and trust with individual dogs.

“Most of my clients are referred to me by a friend who hired me before. I’m really slowly starting to promote myself on social media and I’m starting to see results, ”she said.

“Training and coaching comes naturally to me, but it’s all the other elements that make you sit in front of a laptop for hours and that I struggle with sometimes.

When working alone, you are in charge of everything: accounts, website and social media management, advertising, travel to buy supplies, etc. Before, I just had to introduce myself and coach.

Lucie will look to start new workshops when more are allowed to meet for group classes, including “leash training workshops, teaching tips classes and canine fitness programs.”

“Everything is on hold for now, as I’m still trying to get back on my feet and prioritize private training, but I have a few ready to go when the ‘Covid dust’ sets in.” installed.

Lucie cites advertising as an essential attribute to grow the business.

“Daring to spend a few extra pounds on advertising really helped. I thought it was a risky decision because designing my own ads is definitely not my forte and I was really afraid of wasting money, but it turned out to be the fastest thing to get me back on track. the road, ”she said.

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