The Curtis Institute of...Dog Walking?

Adedeji Ogunfolu, third year hornist, on his new dog-walking business.

Adedeji and Donut

Before the beginning of this school year, I decided that I wanted to do my best to pull my own weight financially by making some relatively significant income. I have been wanting a new instrument for a few years, and, of course, there are bills to pay. Unfortunately, while I'm a student at Curtis, there just isn't much time to get a full-time or even part-time job outside of school. There are so many rehearsals, coachings, and of course I have to allot time for my own individual practice. I will be 23 years old in February, and so I'm getting to the age where I want to get out and see what it is like to have more of a hand in supporting myself. Ideally, being able to support myself freelancing would be great, but this isn't  happening (yet, hopefully!), so I decided I would use whatever skills I had to make my own income.

One day in August, I was practicing in the Tabuteau room and decided to take a break (as I do when practicing isn't going so well…). I put down my horn and gazed out of the window which overlooks Rittenhouse Square. It was such a nice day, and everything in the park looked so peaceful. I noticed that there were a lot of dogs running around with their owners in the square, and then the idea just hit me. I should start a dog walking business! I had seen dog walkers many times around Rittenhouse Square, dragging their gangs of several canines around town.

The idea seemed perfect. I love dogs (I had a Rhodesian Ridgeback-Pit mix growing up), and since I would be working for myself, I could make my own hours. I decided to go online and do my own informal research about other dog walking agencies in the area. What I saw was that a lot of the companies seemed very impersonal and they all charged a lot of money. I figured that I could charge significantly less, but still provide a personal and professional service to people desiring dog walking and pet sitting services.

There ended up being very little time spent on coming up with the name and slogan of the company. I wanted a name that was interesting and that made reference to music. Bach Walkers just seemed to work - something about those two words, I think. Next came the slogan. One of my colleagues has a very creative mind, and thought of “We’re All Bach and No Bite.” I would have never thought of something so creative. The play on words is catchy and endearing, but more importantly, the slogan is directly related to the name of this little company. A two for one!

I started advertising on My ads were very modest at first: I just listed a desired price for the service, but then followed that prices were all negotiable. Now that I have gotten more experience with dogs and how to make the business side of Bach Walkers run more efficiently, I have become much more insistent on keeping a flat rate. I have also learned what is expected from people when caring for their animals. Really, I know from having my own dog that people just want to know that you will do your best to ensure their pets' safety above all else, and that is something that I take very seriously.

Thanks to this job, I know now that if I set my mind to something, and really invest the time and do my research, that I can totally attain the things that I want. I have learned how to communicate with people more effectively - an important skill no matter what your line of work. I have also learned how to budget my time in a much more effective manner. Time management is a skill I have seen many people struggle with, myself included. Being in business for myself has forced me to look ahead and plan for the future more. Basically, I have become a much more responsible and attentive person. I have never been so busy, and I absolutely love it!

My business is continually growing. I have now enlisted a few people at school who help me with walks, namely Natalie Helm (cello)  Alexandra von der Embse (oboe) and Maia Cabeza (violin). I recently ordered t-shirts that I plan to have myself and my colleagues wear on walks as a kind of mobile advertising. I am also in the process of launching a website, which I hope will be completed before the end of October. I get such joy looking at the present state of my little company!

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2 Response to "The Curtis Institute of...Dog Walking?"

Terry G Says:

It is interesting to read about how there is more to Curtis students than meets the ear!

Marsha Hunter Says:

Creative and entrepreneurial, like musicians need to be! Bach would approve.

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