Interview Ania Krupinska

“I believed in myself! Today I run a hotel and classes for dogs” –
find out about Ania’s story

“We are like grandparents in the countryside. Because it’s our job, we have more time to pamper the dogs than their owners do on a daily basis. They have dog friends with us, they go to the forest, they have exercises for brain development, slimming fitness or rehabilitation treatments.” – says Ania Krupińska-Romańska, a graduate of the Young Entrepreneurs Succeed program. 

Ania, you run a hotel for dogs. But this is not just a hotel – it is also a place that provides rehabilitation to animals that need it. How did you choose this path for your business?

I have been working with animals for almost 10 years. During this time, my vision of the future has changed many times. At first, I thought that I would be a veterinarian technician until old age, that is, the doctor’s right hand in the clinic. In the meantime, I also became a zoopsychologist and a zoophysiotherapist. I was looking for an activity that would allow me to combine all my super powers.

Observing the market for years, I discovered that there is a lack of hotels for dogs, which on the one hand are homely and intimate, but also professional and safe. I used the help of the Youth Business Poland Foundation last year, when I really wanted to expand my business with stationary rehabilitation for dogs. The foundation gave me great support in planning activities and tools to explore whether my dream will be primarily helpful to dog owners.

Has running a hotel for dogs always been your dream, or did the idea arise spontaneously?

Running a hotel could not be my dream because I was allergic to dog fur. In addition, if I saw hotels from 20 years ago (which looked like shelters – dogs in boxes) I would not like it and I would experience it for a long time, because I loved animals very much from the beginning. Unfortunately, such hotels still exist today.

Therefore, when my vision of this business came together, I knew that it would be a place that would provide support to carers of sensitive or sick dogs. I always wanted my work to matter. Now, when the carers say that for the first time in many months they could leave the house, rest, because we took the responsibility for their dog’s health and safety off them for a moment, I know that we are doing a good job.

A hotel for dogs seems to be an unusual business idea. Or am I wrong? What does your work look like on a daily basis?

Yes, it’s definitely an unusual idea. Especially in a formula like ours. Hotel dogs live with us in the house. Not in a separate area, not in another building. They sleep with us in bed or on the couch. They cook meals with us, accompany us in everyday household activities, such as washing or cleaning. Sometimes our hotel is the only option for dogs with separation anxiety. We laugh that we are like grandparents in the countryside. Because it’s our job, we have more time to pamper the dogs than their owners do on a daily basis. They have dog friends with us, they go to the forest, they have exercises for brain development, slimming fitness or rehabilitation treatments. Sounds like an idyll, but it is also a huge responsibility and readiness to constantly adapt to new residents and their individual needs.

Please tell us about your situation before joining the program implemented by the Youth Business Poland Foundation.

Before joining the program, I had very clear and thoughtful dreams. I was running a hotel and I still felt like I didn’t have the plan or the funds to move forward with development. The prices of hotel services and the number of dogs admitted cannot be freely increased due to the economic situation and the standards of service that I have set for myself. I performed behavioral, training and rehabilitation services only with access to the client. The only possibility for further development was to create space for me or other specialists to perform these services on site. Unfortunately, I was blocked by my usually unfounded beliefs about my abilities, knowledge and finances.

What did participation in the YES! program give you? – Young Entrepreneurs Succeed?

The program is attended by people at various stages – from the initial idea to the detailed plan. That alone broadened my horizons. I saw how much work I have already done and that it is not worth giving up at this stage. I understood that years of work in the profession allowed me to get to know my clients and their needs well.

The workshop leaders are long-time entrepreneurs and specialists in their field. This awareness that we are not talking only about dry theories gave me a sense of security. During the course, we were provided with a lot of materials that forced me to make specific thoughts, decisions – also to face my weaknesses and fears. I think that without facing it, there is a huge risk of failure.

I also understood then that in business you have to be aware and constantly on the move. Dreams are not everything. You have to calculate coldly and see if you can make a living out of it. All this was supported by a lot of positive energy and the words “wow, this convinces me, it’s worth getting into it, you’re doing a great job”. Throughout this difficult process, I felt the support of the entire Youth Business Poland team. At the very end, I also received a free series of mentoring meetings from the foundation. The process of working with a mentor is probably the most valuable adventure I have experienced in my professional life.

“The process of working with a mentor is probably the most valuable adventure I’ve had in my professional life.”

What has been the biggest challenge for you so far in developing your own business?

The biggest difficulty I work with all the time is advertising. Starting from sincere praise of my services (in which I deeply believe), talking about my successes, e.g. in dog behavioral therapy or rehabilitation, and ending with posting promotional content on social media showing my work and offer. Definitely, years ago I should have stood up straight and showed animal carers how I can really help them. In a situation where you do not have the finances for a professional advertising agency, the above-mentioned difficulties strongly blocked the development of my company.

Thinking about a breakthrough moment in developing your business – what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

The first turning point was when I decided to open my own hotel. Another is to complete the construction of the house in 2021 and transfer the services to your home on your own terms. The biggest breakthrough in my business was understanding during the course run by the Youth Business Poland Foundation that if I look at what I do not have and cannot have for the time being, I will stay where I am. I have come to terms with the fact that the “Centre for Comprehensive Neurorehabilitation of Dogs and Cats” project is a huge and expensive idea that needs to be divided into parts. My husband and I laid tiles in the garage and finished this room for training and rehabilitation of dogs. Within these few months, the scope of our services has significantly expanded. In addition, another person with new skills joined our team. All our services are starting to wind each other up.

What are your future business plans?

The first stage is to start the promotion of the room to such an extent that registration for classes is a month ahead. Maintaining the quality of the hotel so that the care schedule is always full. Adaptation of the area we have for activities for dogs. So the basic plan is to use 100% of the potential that we already have today. All the time I have an entry with the offer of online training in the back of my mind. And my icing on the cake, i.e. the “Centre for Comprehensive Neurorehabilitation of dogs and cats” on an international level.

Do you have a “recipe for success”? What advice would you give yourself as you start your own business?

An 18-year-old Ania would be really, really good at what she does and shouldn’t let anyone question that. Nor should she ever agree to unpaid internships where she cleans rather than learns a trade. It will be very hard and work a lot, but it’s very good, because she will raise money to make her dreams come true, and the feeling that she made it will give her a lot of self-confidence forever.

Ania, apart from textbooks and work, sometimes go to the park, exercise or meet friends – it will do you good.

Anna, thank you very much for the interview.


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