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From Hospitality to Entrepreneurship: How Vanity Fur Founder Jean Arellano Took a Life-Changing Leap of Faith

Vanity Fur Mobile Pet Grooming Franchise

In a little over a decade, Arellano went from bartender to franchisor. Here’s how she did it.

As someone who spent most of her career in hospitality, Jean Arellano never envisioned a future for herself as an entrepreneur.

After bouncing between restaurant concepts throughout her 20s, Arellano eventually landed a job as the general manager of an improv comedy club in the mid-2000s. Although “getting paid to laugh” was something Arellano thought would make her happy, she ultimately found the position unrewarding. Dissatisfied with the direction her career was heading, even in upper management, Arellano knew it was time to make a change.

“(It) made me take a hard look at listening to that voice in me that kept saying, ‘Why am I not happy that I'm laughing for a living?’ Why am I not – and it wasn't even happy, I was just not satisfied. And it was seeing other people having these lives – coming into these restaurants, shopping all day – they had all these time freedoms. I was working nights and weekends, and I really just did not know what I was going to do,” Arellano recalls.

So Arellano did the only thing she could think of: she quit.

“I left improv. My husband thought I was crazy – everyone thought I was crazy,” Arellano says.

Irrational as her decision might have seemed to others at the time, though, Arellano would ultimately have the last laugh as she transitioned from a career in hospitality to becoming a successful entrepreneur making a living doing what she loved best: working with pets.

Not all who wander are lost

Despite Arellano’s certainty about walking away from her career as a manager at the comedy club, the future entrepreneur wasn’t sure what she wanted to do next – she just knew it wasn’t anything she’d been doing previously.

“I felt at that point it was kind of too late to go to college. You know the story – you're supposed to go to college and you become a nurse or you become a lawyer, and then you go your route. But that just wasn't my route,” Arellano recalls.

Uncertain about her future and lacking direction, Arellano fell back to bartending over the next year – something she’d done in her early 20s to make money.

“In this year of frantic, oh-my-God, what am I going to do? (I decided) it's time to grow up. It's time to figure out what I'm going to do for my adult life – the rest of my life – because just being in restaurants wasn’t it,” Arellano says.

After making a business card and handing it out to some of her regular customers at the bar one evening, a patron offered to introduce Arellano to his wife, a mobile dog groomer. A lifelong pet-lover, the career idea resonated with Arellano.

“I met (his wife) and went out with her for a day, and I was just sold on so many levels,” Arellano recalls.

Although business ownership was something Arellano says she had “never even thought about,” her conversation with the man’s wife changed her perspective and she enrolled in pet grooming school. After graduating in 2010, Arellano built her first mobile pet salon in Chino, California – a small-business-on-wheels called Vanity Fur.

“I didn't even know that I was an entrepreneur. I just knew there was something inside telling me to do something and I wasn't listening for a long time,” Arellano says.

Offering safe, comfortable grooming services for dogs and cats, Vanity Fur visited clients at their homes or offices, providing full-service grooming and nail care for pet owners who didn’t have the time or ability to bring their pets to traditional brick-and-mortar locations.

The freedom of entrepreneurship changed everything for Arellano, who had spent her life working for others and helping them achieve their business goals while neglecting her own. Having suffered from a severe panic and anxiety disorder since her late 20s, Arellano says being her own boss also had a positive impact on her mental health.

“When I started the business, (my anxiety levels) changed – because my focus was now on starting a business, on the pets, on the clients,” Arellano says.

Four years later, with replicable operations and systems in place, Arellano approached Charles N. Internicola, a franchise attorney with 20 years of experience and the founder of The Internicola Law Firm, for advice on preparing the business for franchising from a legal perspective.

“We started doing all the legal things that I had to do to get there, and it was so life-changing,” Arellano recalls.

After attending a roundtable discussion hosted by the International Franchise Association, Arellano learned she could present franchising opportunities to her existing employees – a strategy that would ultimately work to her advantage. In 2022, just a year after offering Vanity Furt’s first franchise opportunity, Arellano’s first franchisee launched her business in Chino Hills, California.

“Half of my corporate territory went to Franchisee No. One, and she's doing really well,” Arellano says.

Building a legacy – on wheels

With a focus on slow, deliberate growth, Vanity Fur launched its second franchised location in Menifee, California, last year, with plans to continue growing in the near future. To ensure the brand scales sustainably, Arellano’s focus is on partnering with franchisees whose goals – and passion for pets – align with her own.

“Whatever is happening, we still always have the common ground of what we all love … and that is the pets,” Arellano says.

At Vanity Fur, franchisees also receive support to ensure they’re set up for success from Day One. That support includes pre-opening training onsite in Chino, as well as daily operations and scheduling guidance, access to technology and software, help with advertising and local marketing, and financial management assistance.

“The fact (is) that this business is something that (franchisees) can start in a supplemental type of way if they're afraid to jump all the way in and they're still holding on to that job or career that they're not totally satisfied with,” Arellano says.

Arellano encourages franchisees to take on only as many mobile salons as they’re comfortable operating, while providing opportunities to grow their businesses and territories as they become more familiar with franchise ownership and want to increase their income potential.

“You just need one or two (employees). And so it's just a little bit at a time – you're not overwhelmed. … You know how to schedule your one or two employees. Your clients can see and book your business months, if not a year out. So, this is a way to kind of tiptoe in until you're ready to immerse yourself,” Arellano says.

For Arellano, franchising has always been about more than just scaling a business – it’s about giving others the freedom she was able to discover for herself through entrepreneurship.

“I want to look back and say all of these owners (have) really great lifestyles with their families – going on vacations, enjoying themselves, and they're not as stressed as they were back when they were working for somebody else, making their money for them. They're making it for themselves, their legacy and their families,” Arellano says.

Jean Arellano is now franchising her Vanity Fur business nationally. To learn about franchising opportunities with Vanity Fur, visit

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