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Conversations with the Inspiring Ilana Karcinski and Kelly Maronpot

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ilana Karcinski and Kelly Maronpot.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Ilana and Kelly. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Best friends since we were 13, we met in middle school and instantly bonded over our two favorite things: music and animals.

We were college roommates, where we rescued our own dogs and started trying to figure out what exactly we wanted to do for a living.

The idea for our company came to us when we got our first out of college jobs, both working for Hilton. We soon began to see a need in the wedding industry that spoke to us; couples wanted to include their pets in their wedding day but it was just too stressful.

Our pets are our family and we couldn’t imagine them missing out on such a special day. We have a deep affection for animals and knew this was our calling!

We jumped at the opportunity, combining our hospitality experience with our love for animals. There were no other companies in the United States offering this service at the time, so it was certainly a bit of a challenge! We essentially had to figure it out as went along, listening to our client’s needs and concerns and building our entire company from scratch. It was lots of hard work and countless hours, but we are so proud of what we have built today.

We knew we wanted to not just start a business but also make a difference in animals’ lives. That’s why our mission here at FairyTail is to treat your pet like they’re our own while helping rescues find their homes.

This means that all of our handlers volunteer at local animal shelters, and as a company, we donate 10% of our proceeds back to these shelters for whatever they need most: covering adoption fees, sponsoring medical bills, dropping off food and supplies, etc.

Four years later, and while based in Florida we now offer our services nationwide. We’ve included over 200 pets in weddings, donated over $7,000 and volunteered over 600 hours of our time to these animal shelters!

Has it been a smooth road?
Like we mentioned, when we started this business there were no other companies in the United States offering anything like it. Coming up with an entire industry, from the structure and pricing to the liability and hiring, was extremely intimidating.

Not to mention, when we told people back in 2015 about our business idea, half of them thought we were crazy. We had to push through the skepticism and doubts, and keep going. We knew this was a need in the wedding industry, even if not everyone could see that yet, and we believed that people would eventually “get” it.

Sure enough, the perseverance paid off. Now, most pet owners can’t imagine not including their pet on their wedding day. We feel fortunate to have found this niche market when we did, but if we hadn’t stuck with it and put in the work, we would never be where we are today.

The main piece of advice we would give to other women just starting out is don’t be afraid to ask for help. In the beginning, you don’t want to let on that you don’t necessarily know what you’re doing. We promise, nobody really does! Never stop learning. Keep striving to be better. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help!

We’re a part of several networking groups here that are filled with other inspiring entrepreneurs – all with similar challenges and successes that are willing to share their stories and advice. There are also tons of FREE resources available to you depending on your city. From entrepreneur collaborative centers to local colleges who offer business counseling.

Asking for help, and utilizing the resources out there for entrepreneurs, is a great way to make substantial progress, educate yourself, and possibly even make some meaningful connections.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into FairyTail Pet Care story. Tell us more about the business.
Pets are family, and we get that. We help couples include their pet in their wedding day, ensuring both the couples AND their pets have the best day ever! We also offer our services for any special events and assistance in including pets in photo shoots.

These events are the first time in many pet owners lives where everyone they typically trust with their pet is suddenly unavailable (since they’ll be attending their wedding!). They don’t want to ask someone they didn’t invite to watch their pet, so unless they are comfortable with boarding they are left overwhelmed and unsure of what to do.

That’s where we come in. We recognize that every wedding & every pet’s personality is completely unique, so we customize each of our wedding packages to perfectly fit their needs. It can be as simple as making sure their pet is getting the love and care they deserve and bringing them by for a couple of photos, to including them in EVERYTHING and having them walk down the aisle! We provide round trip transportation, any attire they may need, coordinating with all of their vendors, helping their pet pose for photos, and even in-home or in-hotel pet care the weekend of their wedding.

What sets us apart is our work with the community and programs with local animal shelters, as well as our “Dog Of Honor” Videography. We provide video service on the day of your wedding, all from their pet’s perspective! This special point of view shows some of the most genuine moments of the wedding day. From the puppy snuggles & kisses when the Bride & Groom are getting ready, to them walking down the aisle during the ceremony (& everything in between!) There is nothing like the smile on guest’s faces when they walk up to the venue, only to see the couple’s dog waiting to greet them with a wagging tail.

What we’re most proud of as a brand is our mission, and therefore our work with our community animal shelters. This also gives us a unique opportunity to work with rescue animals from all walks of life. This provides us with the confidence and experience needed to feel comfortable working with all species, breeds, sizes and energy levels!

Looking back on your childhood, what experiences do you feel played an important role in shaping the person you grew up to be?
We are very fortunate to have amazing families who supported our dreams and did everything they could to set us up for success. When we started this business, we knew we had to make some sacrifices, and our families and significant others rallied behind us and did everything they could to help.

Being best friends since childhood, we also have a unique advantage as business partners. We know each other so well, including our strengths and weaknesses, and have been through so much together. We balance each other out as well as support each other and have complete trust in one another.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Personal Photo – Marc Edwards Photography, Kera Photographer, Renee Nicole Photography, Bumby Photography, Amalie Orrange Photography, Limelight Photography, Lifelong Photography Studio, Ashley Izquierdo Photography, Marc Edwards Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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