Episode 72 – Jamie Migdal

FetchFind was selected as one of the top five most innovative pet care companies via the Purina Pet Care Innovation Prize, completed a successful crowdfunding campaign on Republic, and increased their market share with the acquisition of PawedIn. With nearly 25 years in the pet industry, Jamie shares with us her passion for animals and what started her down this path of helping those without a voice.

Welcome to the Professionals and Animal Rescue podcast, where goal is to introduce you two amazing people helping animals and share how you can get involved with animal rescue. This podcast is probably sponsored by do bert dot com. Do Bert is a free website designed to connect volunteers with rescues and shelters and the only site that automates rescue relay transport. Now on with our show, Jimmy Migdal has been working with dogs and their people and innovating within the pet industry for nearly 25 years. Having successfully built three national pet service companies, Jamie is an expert across all aspects of the pet industry, including education, technology, business development, sales, marketing and management. Her fourth and current company fetch, find, provide staff training and other business solutions to pet care service companies around the globe. Jimmy is an industry expert in public speaker and presents on a variety of business and pecker topics at conferences throughout the year. Hey, Jamie, Thanks for coming out today. Thanks for it. I’m so happy to be here. Yeah, I’m excited to have you, so I mean, you’ve got such a great set of experience and things you’ve done over the years. So why don’t you tell her Listeners just gonna walk them through you And kind of how you get started in all this. I will walk them through me. I love that phrase. So, uh, well, thanks for having me. And, you know, we just, you know, kind of touch base before that. I have accepted this wonderful invitation to be on your show because I so much believe in who you are. What you’re doing, what you’re looking to accomplish. I love your perspective, your innovative thinking. So I’m deeply honored to be a guest on your show. So I’ll say that I wanna make sure I say that. Yeah, of course. Um, so I work with pets. I like animals. I’ve always liked animals. Although those requisite comments that people are it’s funny, right? I’m sure you hear this about people are like so you must really love animals. And after you tell them what you do and you’re like, I do you like to breathe because that’s not even a question You have to ask. So you really like air, huh? It feels like that’s actually what you know. It’s like so it’s such a silly question. But I get that. That’s where people need to go. So I started working with animals when I was 18. Uh uh, You doing some just typical 18 year old shelter work? A za paid bone is a paid a paid employee, but also as a volunteer. I live here in Chicago, so everyone is. Chicago knows anti cruelty. So that’s where I did work arousing college. I worked in the euthanasia room, which was a really hard place to get your first taste of animal rescue. Um, and from there I actually worked at Lincoln Park Zoo, which is also here in Chicago. Um, and then I got done with college and I had the intention to be a social worker, and I did. I started working in a group home, a group home, for they call it dually diagnosed women. So women. So it’s a residential home. About 16 residents and folks that live there are kind of in transition for maybe they’ve been impatient situation for schizophrenia for an eating disorder on. Then, you know this group home is a kind of stabilizer stable as environment where we get their meds stabilize, get them in group therapy, get jobs or going day programs and that, ideally, transition them into, you know, Jordan back into their family’s home or into their own home. So just to give that structure and it’s important for a story. But, you know, obviously these women are deeply, lot of remember is sick and the relationships between 15 16 women in a group home who are all trying to get through and manage a lot of intense emotions and mental illnesses. You know, there’s not a lot of not a lot of good relationships. Writer and an a day. It was very chaotic, right, emotionally chaotic and charged, and my job was being a case manager. So I was early in my career. I was just out of school. I was 21 years old, 22 years old something and I got like, You know, I drew the stick for the for the overnight shift s o. I would go there at 11 p.m. And, um, you take over from the folks from the person that was doing the evening shift. I sleep there and you’re on site to make sure that everything moves slow nicely throughout the evening and Then in the morning, my primary responsibility was to get everyone up and get everyone up and running and go further day and go to their programs. But also to do medication. Morning medication delivery. We kept all the medication in our little office. All right, so I had been working there for, I don’t know, maybe six months a year or something I can’t recall. And of course, there’s a no pet policy. Um, but this is 19. I’m gonna tell you when this was 1990 to anyone, Uh, I’m there one night, a hero Miao in the back And then, by the way, I have dog at home at this point in the first thing I did when I got to college and get a dog who I found in a little dumpster. Um, and who was with me for 16 years, by the way? Anyhow, so I hear me out in the back were in Chicago it there’s an alley and I go back out there three in the morning. We’ll blow, fool. Freaked out. Um, and there’s this cute little kitten. And it was on August 9th, which is also the day Jerry Garcia died It was a little of the day the dagger see it from the Grateful Dead. And I was very sad. And so I I picked up this little black and white kitty who is just so sweet and not shy and not not Farrell. Not just very just high. I can You guys come in? That’s what I thought, huh? All right, You know what? I’m doing this. I don’t care. I’ll bring him into the office. I closed the door. I’m out of here at 7 a.m. It’s not gonna be a big deal. No one’s gonna know. Give their meds outside of the office. Not a big deal. So morning comes the first resident comes down to the office to get her meds and check in. And, of course, what does she see? She sees who he sees Jerry have aptly named. And within about 15 minutes, I had a room full of residents sitting on the floor. And truly it sounds. It sounds idyllic, but it truly was. It was sitting in the floor in a circle on the floor and just playing with the kitten petting that, getting talking about their childhood experiences with pets relating to each other in a way that, you know, this was pre cell phones, Of course, your pre smartphone. So I had no way to capture this moment. But where It was a moment that truly took my breath away. And I went home and I said, Thio, my then boyfriend, I said, Listen, I think I want to go to veterinary school. He was, like, value. Think you wanted to know what I’m like? I think I want to be a vet. I think, like with social work, my love of animals, and I think that’s what I want to do. And so, um, I got a part time job working a veterinary clinic like the next week and started saving money and making plans. Did you move fast? Oh, I you know, I remember I told you before. I mean, I do. I don’t mess around. Let’s just let’s do it. Um, I got a job, and so this is my second job breaks. I have the daytime three Sharon saving money and realized that my cash, I think I just want to work in the animal industry was there for a young 22 year old college graduate to do in the in the animal industry right now. And so I started a company. I was like, Ah, walked on. That’s what people do right? I work in the veterinary office and I walked dogs. And so I did that. I started a company in 1994. At this point, it was sent in before and grew that company over five years to 2500 customers. That’s amazing. And 25 dog walkers and pet sitters. And we did a whole bunch of other innovative things. And then I decided not to go to veterinary school. I decided that I wanted to be in pet service is and then from there I sold that company, and I went back to school for a little while and studied animal behavior under some great people on, came back to Chicago and started a dog training company with my ven mentor, who’s a veterinarian and, uh, grew my dog training company over 11 years to 11 locations and 25 trainers on in there that I had a small interim window where I was kind of between Kent, somewhere in the early stages of my dog training company. I was asked to run the shelter of the local shelter in my in my community in Chicago in Oak Park. So I went in and I was the shelter manager, 3/4 time shelter manager. And so from there I was able to do a lot of a lot of things and learn a lot of things and made a lot of changes and a lot of enemies, a lot of friends and just and decided that, you know, animal welfare was definitely a part of without mentioning. I’ve done a ton of fostering over the year. There’s all this other stuff. When I had my dog walking company, we did aton of work in local shelter a ton of fostering Tana Rescue eso. This felt really comfortable for me to be in that animal west in the animal welfare bowl. Especially now it’s my dog training career was coming on strong. I was learning all about behavior and able to make, you know, make some positive changes that way. And, uh, you know, fast Forward s old, my dog training company and started an education company because that was really where I enjoyed my time. I enjoyed helping people, whether it be clients, whether beef people that I was hiring to work for me pet sitting or dog walking our dog training. And I put together a program and you know, the salad program and started teaching. This class is in person in Chicago, so we would have, like all these amazing people, everyone from like, literally doctors and lawyers and stayed home moms. And, you know, folks that just got their G. I mean, like hundreds of people that would come and take our six month course they would graduate and then they would go work with animals, whether it be as a trainer or animal welfare or veterinary clinics, whatever. And then in 2015 house like. All right, man, we’re gonna totally digitize this and make this so more people can learn how to work with animals. And that’s how my current company was born. And so fetch Find, which is the company that I’m the CEO and founder of, were now in our third year of off delivering and selling this content in the subscription basis. We sell ah monthly subscription to pet care businesses where the in consumer content, their employees can consumer online content to become safer, more responsible, better quality, better quality care providers and, uh and that’s that’s really what we do. One online education companies specifically for the pet industry. And for anyone who works in that Yeah, sure, that’s really cool. So you really focus on business to business. We’re totally B to B. Yeah, we’re B to B. I mean, certainly there are some sees in there and all all sees, the funny thing about the pet industry is that every B is still a c right, because everyone owns a pet. So any any information they’re learning from us in our online, you know, ecosystem, they’re able to still translate that in their own four walls and in their own personal communities, which is really nice. Yeah, and one of things that I found really cool just in looking at the courses and things that you offer is it’s it’s not just about pet behavior. Tell us about like, the whole vast array, of course, is that you guys offer so yeah, now it’s a good, good observation. Um and yeah, we d’oh, we think about pet businesses. So here’s the deal. I think of our industry, which is now about a 70 something $1,000,000,000 industry. That this pet service’s sector, which I always think of as I defined pet service, is anyone to one environment. So any time that there’s a one person and one animal touching having contact, that’s pet service. So that, of course, stands into walking, sitting daycare and boarding, grooming, veterinary rescue and to some degree retail. Um, right, because people bring their pets and, um so that’s a weird a funny place, a sw far as the industry is concerned as it relates to service verticals and 1 to 1 care with the gig economy, with unemployment being very low and also a lot of delusion in the service space. And there’s a every corner, depending on where you live, there’s a doggy day care. Everyone can become a dog walker because of platforms like web dot commer over dot com. So what’s happening is I’m worried. I’m really worried that we’re not. We’re not thinking about our labor force, and when I say labor force, I’m talking about anyone, whether it be an executive director of an animal shelter or a volunteer of an animal and an animal shelter dog. Walker, who’s no doing dog, walks in between getting their, you know, their undergrad. Whatever it is, you’ve got this labor force that feels compelled to work with pets and wants to do it. But then they get into it and they’re not. They’re wrapping romanced right now. The romance. They’re not being supported. Their not being on this is by and large. Of course, there are lots of folks that do a great job, but this but they’re not being engaged, right? So they get in, they go. You know what? The stocks, I’m walking dog. It’s really cold out in a shelter. And I just got a bit for the fourth time, or I’m working a veterinary officer. He’s got anal glands spread all over me. So, like I’m making $14 an hour, maybe, you know, I’m gonna go work at Starbucks and driving uber. I really and it was all just love my dog at home, you know, maybe occasionally all going all volunteer. It’s something you lose great people by not engaging and by not showing them what a career path could look like and you lose them by not showing them like that. Working with pets is really one of the most dynamic things you can do because you’re you’re acquiring so many skills you’re acquiring adaptability. You’re acquiring learn ability or acquiring all of these things. Unless there’s some structured way of being able to rap to present those things to the labor force, we’re gonna Our industry is going to suffer. I guarantee you the 10 year, you know, as I look 10 years on the line of down the road, I’m really worried. So So fetch finds. Courses aren’t just about Here’s how you pet a dog is that important? Well, of course it’s important. That’s a no brainer. But we get into things like, you know, we get into things like customer service. We get into things like team building. We get into things like no burnout and what that feels like. We get into all of these other aspects of what it means to work in the animal industry. So to your point, you know, I’ve rambled on here for a bit about this, like, clearly kind of like this topic. So So yes, so fetch find is you know, we embody this whole idea of supporting a labor force so the industry can stabilize and grow and stabilize and grow. Okay. And it’s all content on demand. Right? So you guys have curious about all this great stuff. So what does a typical customer look like for you? I mean, what do they consume? How do they go about this? Yeah, good question. So a typical customers anyone that owns a pet care business. So, you know, that could be a shelter that could be a veterinary clinic, a dog walking company and 40 and daycare facility. So typical customer. Well, let’s just say that they are a boarding in daycare facility. They’ve got 15 employees. They’ve got some turnover. They use the subscription, they log into the courses they take the courses their employees do. Rather And then the managers of these businesses are able to look at the analytics to make sure that their employees are taking the course is what they’re scoring on the quizzes, whether they’re actually fast forwarding through those courses and taking the quizzes at the end. Because our analytics show that does that. So So the so the right. So like the user, the user kind of road map is everything from when you onboard a new employee. We put them and we suggest that our subscribers put them directly into the learning management system. Let them get on board it through a specific course of three specific collection of courses. And then as their career develops within the organization, other courses will be available to them. Okay, that’s really cool. So, what do you find? I’m just curious. Now, I mean, put you on the spot. Like, what are the one of the most popular? Of course, is what are the ones that your customers go? I’m so glad you guys have this aggression and customer service. Really? They love the aggressions of Yeah, because you know what? Aggression is a funny thing, right? Everyone thinks they know what it is. Everyone want to talk about it. Dog bites are on the rise. Unfortunately, I mean, there’s so much stuff going on. So the aggression content is very clarifying. Very clarifying. Very. You know, they caught Some people have told us that it becomes yeah. What’s the term they use that they feel like they have magic superpowers, that they understand how to read a dog who’s in crisis or in conflict. So it’s it’s that stuff. It’s a kind of juicy stuff. And then the customer service stuff is great. Duca’s and most of the managers of the businesses love the customer service up because they went through employees or volunteers, you know, to represent the business well or the organization. Well, so so those are the two. I’d say the two categories that people dig. That’s really interesting. Um, so So I guess what I’m wondering is, if I’m you know, So if I’m in the business, right? So I’m running a doggy day care so I can track all the analytics, then on my employees and my Is there anything else I’m able to do? Like, Well, what else can I do with your platform? So we have downloadable handbooks and operation manuals. Um, we support the business. Is we have a first aid quote. We have a first aid course where your folks get certified. Um, and then we do lots and lots of ongoing support. So, for example, for our subscribers, we do a Facebook live every week around a topic that is incredibly relevant, usually around hiring and retention. Um we D’oh, We just did a study and we’re about to release a white paper around hiring practices in the pet industry. So what you’re getting is you’re getting this kind of cutting edge understanding of what these with these trends, are as faras employment and a nutrition in the pet space. That’s really cool, which, because I’m thing about that is a business owner. That’s what I need, right? It’s one thing to say. You know, I’ve got some new employee training. Here’s a handbook. Here’s this, but it’s that ongoing commitment to this stuff. It’s that on ongoing engagement with you guys. Yep, and that’s really what we focus on we want to be. We want to be innovative, but we also want to just stick to solving problems for our customers. And that really comes down to, you know, really attracting talent, hiring talent on boarding talent and then, of course, engaging in retaining talent. And you know this industry again. It’s growing fast, and there’s a lot of options out there. So for you really to be competitive for a business or a shelter, anyone to be competitive, it’s really important that you have some of that stuff. Understood? And you have some operations behind it. Yeah. Now, are you guys primarily us based, is it? You know how big our every way have customers and Zeeland, London, England, Israel. They’re kind of everywhere. I can’t. But Canada, of course. A lot of Canadian customers. Um, so, yeah, we’re everywhere. Were growing. Ah, time. I think we’re approaching 500 subscribers of 500 businesses, which translates to, like, 30 or 40,000 users on a monthly basis. That’s really awesome. Yeah, very cool. Soon. Now, one of things I want to make sure we bring up is you’re launching, actually today. Anoop way. Our announcement. We’re announcing mounting. Okay, Reliant at the end of this month with just December. So we have had because all of my team and me, we love our rescue dogs way. All have rescue dogs. It’s just, you know, I don’t even know what the world will look like for me with the daughter I actually purchase. But no, no shit. No shade or judgment on anyone that does. But, you know, you do with you. But you were a big rescue community of our team. Are feds find team small but mighty, every one of us. Just This is just way d’oh! And so about a couple of years ago were like We need to put together a program that’s just for shelters because they’re a big program is just too many things that have nothing to do with shelters or it has nothing to do with supporting. It’s also too much content for for a volunteer corps, especially so we put together so excited we put together something called Sketchy to the Rescue, which is a collection of 25 of our best course is that we’ve repurposed and re reproduced specifically for the animal welfare and animal advocacy world. So, yeah, so we’ll be where the middle of doing all of the finishing touches and hope to have that launched, um, and selling into shelters by the end of December before the beginning of the year. We want to help them get ready for the new year and adoptions and returns. That happened then, Yeah, that’ll be really cool, so specifically designed for them. And so shelter operations, which is something I’m saying you’ve got experience with, and I’m sure your staffed us as well. Yeah, we have shelter operations, had a handle. Adopters had a handle. Typical conversations. How to engage with dogs that are showing fear or aggression or, just frankly, how to read a friendly dog and how to do it right? So everything you know, all of that kind of content and information that really just need to have it, your hands at your fingertips to be able to make it through the day. That’s need now. You’ve got a lot of stuff going on that. So I’m just curious. What’s the future planned look like for fetch Fine on And it’s a really good question. It just our future planning is really just keeping more of what we’re doing. Just continue to grow our subscription based on the B two B side and making sure that we can get our content in our platform into his many hands as possible So we can continue again to support and grow the labor force, um, to sustain her industry and then, of course, are fed you to the rescue. Were you know, we were so excited about being able to do that at a large scale and work with great partners? We’ve already had some conversations with some of the bigger players and their interest in helping us Thio distribute the platform and get it in front of people. And, um, and just growing the company and doing it with fun and, you know, hard work and helping a lot of people and a lot of animals. Yeah, that’s gotta feel so rewarding to know that that’s what this has really turned into. It’s really good. Yeah, it’s really good. It’s really good. Um, but it’s it’s it’s still work. Well, my gosh, still a lot of work, but it’s it’s good work and it’s ah, with a good team is all about the team. Well, Jamie, this has been fun. I’ve really enjoyed talking to you. Is there anything else you wanted to share their listeners before we wrap things up? Well, no. I mean, listen, the thing that I think is needed most in this industry is open lines of communication, whether that’s on the for profit or nonprofit side. So my suggestion and my wish for the future for all of us, is to be kind to be thoughtful. Ask questions, do without judgment on dhe. Here it fetch. Find you know if you ever need to do any of that with us, we’re here to help If you need anything. If you want to run something by as if you’re just anything you need around your business or your employees just we’re here to work here to help and answer any questions. But frankly, so is everybody. Everybody I know in the space at a certain professional level, we just want to help. And so my biggest advice would be You’re never alone. Um, and be nice to people. Nice. I like that. That’s a nice, simple little remember. Yeah, right. You’re never alone. And just be nice. Yeah. Jamie, Thanks for coming on. Today was really great to talk to you. My pleasure. You’re awesome. Keep it out. Thanks for tuning into today’s podcast. If you’re not already a member, join the air p A. To take advantage of all the resources we have to offer. And don’t forget to sign up with do bert dot com. It’s free and helps automate the most difficult tasks in animal rescue.

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