Animation and NYC Pooch
We've been working with Dan Shemetoff at NYC Pooch for over a year now and we love the creative give and take of that relationship. As a businessman Dan “lives life with art” from a different angle, integrating artists and handmade art into his company in a way that's natural and mutually beneficial – he has a creative sensibility that's extremely unique.
Recently, I had a conversation with Dan about all of this:
Tell me about NYC Pooch-
NYC POOCH is a specialized dog walking company - we offer exercise, training, and grooming services designed especially for New Yorkers. We have all the bells and whistles you might find at a large agency, like a mobile app for our clients and GPS tracking for our walkers, but our company has a more personalized “mom and pop” feel and a more extensive hiring and training process for our walkers. Our team is full of passionate, fun, and creative people that not only love animals, but have a true bond and connection with dogs and a thorough understanding of their care. Many of our employees are working artists and we cultivate a supportive company culture because we feel it’s so important to be able to earn a living doing something you love while also pursuing your dreams. We've been in business for around 14 years.
How did you get into dog walking?
I was introduced to dog walking by an old friend of mine after college and loved it instantly. At the time, it was a great way to earn extra money while working on my music career, but soon it became so busy I brought on other like-minded artist and musician friends to help manage it all.
I really enjoyed the pace of it, the constant movement, being outside, hiking through beautiful parks with really great dogs, each with their own unique and interesting personality. It didn’t seem like a job at all to me. After each walk I would write up a detailed letter to the dog’s owners about all the things we did and saw on that particular day. Parents loved it, and we’ve been doing it that way ever since.
What areas of the city do you serve?
Currently, we serve most neighborhoods throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn and we're hoping to expand to areas of Queens this spring.
What’s special about your business in the dog walking world?
I think what’s special about us is that we’re able to maintain that small company feel even though we’re probably not considered a small company anymore. With about 35 full-time employees and approximately 1000 services completed every week, we work really hard to maintain very close relationships with our clients and walkers alike. It feels like a family. I think that comes through each day in our work.
How does handmade art fit into your overall image of NYC Pooch?
Well I’ve always treated this business as another creative outlet. These days most dog walking businesses online look very similar. Stock photography and cookie cutter websites. I think what we do sets us apart.
Branding a company and giving it a voice and personality is a lot of fun. When your business is dogs, it gives you even more of an opportunity to be creative because you're trying to convey a feeling that only “real dog people” can relate to. Somehow I feel like art has a way of connecting with some of the deep feelings people have for their animals. It just seems natural to me. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then sometimes I feel like an illustration of that same picture is worth even more.
When we were thinking of ways to promote our business, we thought, what better way than to create a commercial… So we wrote a script, recorded a jingle, and made a cartoon! It was called, “The History of Dog Walking” - it was totally nuts and silly but lots of fun to make. It’s still up on youtube. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GffGGAwbcHo)
Thanks Dan, for sharing your thoughts with us! You can see some of our illustrations for NYC Pooch here on the Flying Farmhouse site and there's a new collaboration in the works. Also, look for a new line of NYC Pooch apparel in the coming year with original designs by their own artists!