The Bark Shoppe, Revolutionizing the Pet Grooming Industry with Their Flagship Grooming School

Founder of The Bark Shoppe, Melissa Mitchner.

From February through May 2021, 8 pet care startups from 5 different countries joined the Leap Venture Studio to enhance their business plans, prepare for fundraising milestones, and establish minimum viable brands. Learn more about each startup and their leaders through our blog series on Cohort 4. We asked each founder questions about their startup journey, who inspires them, and of course a little bit about their pets!

The Bark Shoppe (New York City): The Bark Shoppe is a premier pet care company specializing in pet grooming. They endeavor to standardize and therefore professionalize the pet grooming industry by providing a uniform educational experience for the industry’s future workforce with their flagship grooming school and online training platform.

Melissa Mitchner, Founder:

What inspired you to build your pet care startup?

Melissa: Curiosity led me to the pet care industry, I was inspired by a reality human hair show and after researching the industry, I took a leap of faith & decided to jump in 90 days later. I actually didn’t grow up with pets and I was afraid of big dogs!

What are your goals for this year?

Melissa: My goal for this year is to continue to build community. I want pet parents to feel empowered and understand that grooming is a part of their pets wellness. A clean pet is a happy pet! I am very excited about training the next generation of pet groomers both nationally and internationally with our online education platform.

What entrepreneurs/leaders do you look up to?

Melissa: Alli Webb is an entrepreneur I look up to, I love what she did with Drybar. She works with human hair and I work with pet hair. Julia Pimsleur, she encourages women to think big. And last but not least Phil Knight, the journey of Nike is amazing, it speaks to resilience, courage and great leadership.

What advice would you give to other founders just starting their journey?

Melissa: The best advice I would give founders is “Start with the end in mind”. It’s so much easier to work towards an end goal. Although the journey will have many ups and downs, your purpose will drive you to accomplish your vision. Lastly, THINK BIG, all things are possible with curiosity and determination.

Join us on Thursday, May 6th at 10am PT for the Leap Venture Studio Demo Day to celebrate these incredible founders that are forging new trails in the $100 billion pet care industry! The event will be streamed through YouTube Live (link coming soon). Each company will present a pitch deck on their company and answer questions in the live chat.




A smarter world for pets & their people starts here. Partnership between Michelson Found Animals and Kinship, a division of Mars Petcare.

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Leap Venture Studio & Academy

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A smarter world for pets & their people starts here. Partnership between Michelson Found Animals and Kinship, a division of Mars Petcare.

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