Yanic Clue is passionate about dogs and hospitality, so opening a luxury dog hotel and creating a line of designer dog clothing was the perfect fit. Her dog, Frits, is the CEO and keeps a close eye on the daycare, dog spa and hotel services, as well as the Thursday adoption days when shelter dogs visit for some well-deserved pampering while they wait for their forever home.
YN: How did your business start?
Yanic: When I got Frits in 2010 it was a rainy August in Cape Town, so when he went out before bedtime he was getting soaked. He needed a raincoat. The same year while I was doing my MBA at Stellenbosch, I read a trend forecast talking about dog hotels and I decided that I had to open one.
YN: Why did you choose this area to set up shop?
Yanic: I always say location, location, location, and for this business accessibility is key. We’re easy to reach from anywhere in the City Bowl and also for people who work in the CBD and bring their dogs into daycare from the suburbs.
YN: How did you find your premises?
Yanic: I saw this building in January 2015 but was originally going for another property in Kloof Street. That fell through in October after we’d almost had everything approved. This one was still empty, but the owner had it up for auction. Luckily only four people showed up and he decided to rent to me after all.
YN: Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?
Yanic: It had been a club before so it had big open spaces; it was a double storey and had a ventilation system already approved for 500 humans. This meant it was easy to get council approval for health and the building was simple to convert into spacious hotel and daycare spaces.
YN: Who are your neighbours?
Yanic: We have a Build It one side and a parking lot on the other. There is an open grass space that I’d love to develop into a beautiful public area, which at the moment is ugly and neglected.
YN: What are the shop rental/sales prices like in this area?
Yanic: It’s the CBD, so the price per square meter is quite high, which is why it’s so important to make the most of the location.
YN: What is your shop footprint?
Yanic: In the December holiday season we had about 86 dogs a day, and for public holidays we’re often booked up ahead to our maximum of 100 dogs.
YN: Do you have any expansion plans?
Yanic: I’d love to open another @Frits in the Western Cape, and I’m planning to make franchises available to others who’d like to open in London, Dubai, New York and Johannesburg.
YN: Do you operate online as well?
Yanic: Yes, we have an online reservations system and an online shop for our dog clothing range.
YN: What’s your most popular item?
Yanic: Clients love our webcam app, so they can see what their pets are up to while they work!
See for yourself:
021 200 4244
Words: Kit Heathcock