How Meggie Williams & The Waggle Company are Changing the Game for Charlotte Pet Owners

Written by Meg Seitz · Photography by Julia Fay

Meggie Williams is growing her business quickly.

Yet, as quickly as she moves, she’s deliberate; mindful of and smart about exactly what she’s building.

Yes, she and husband, Sebastian, are the husband-and-wife power couple and founders of The Waggle Company, Charlotte’s premier, on-demand dog walking service that offers free, same-day scheduling, GPS tracking on all walks, and pet photos on every home visit. As of right now, they serve the Charlotte community within the I-485 loop.

But what are they really offering? Convenience, accountability, trust, transparency, and peace of mind for Charlotte’s pet parents.

That’s absolutely a business I want to see the Williams family build quickly – and mindfully.

Meggie Williams has the natural power to do both. {Continued below}

A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in International Business and Economics, Williams spent the first three years of post-grad life working as a consultant for IBM in New York City. (Husband-to-be, Sebastian, whom Williams met at Chapel Hill was in NYC, as well; working a similar role for Accenture.)

“Getting that consulting and corporate experience was great,” Williams says. “It ended up not only becoming a backbone of not only that world, but also a skill set to help build what we’re doing now.”

The two got married soon after, and instead of returning to their corporate roles and the fast-pace of NYC, they made a more mindful, adventurous choice – they saved enough money to break from their jobs and backpack around the world for nine months.

The international adventure taught them a lot as a newly-married couple – mainly the importance of communication between and for each other. “We learned quickly on that trip just how much it’s about communication,” Williams notes. “Because a lot of the time we were only interacting with each other in these new, foreign places, we had to be on the same page a lot.”

“Having that trust with people in the community makes a difference. The relationships are the coolest part of all this.”

Upon return, they decided they wanted to return to North Carolina – Charlotte, specifically.

“We were enthused by excitement here and the budding entrepreneurial vibe,” she shares. “And we knew we wanted to get to a place and be in a place where we could run a business together.”

Each worked respectively for a different start-up here in Charlotte before noticing an interesting gap.

“We had two dogs – Golden Doodles Stinson and Khumbu – so, we were ideal candidates for the services which we now offer,” she shares. “But, at the time, we saw how little transparency and accountability there was, and neither of us felt like any of the pet care services out there were up to par with what we were looking for for our dogs.”

Dog-owning friends in Charlotte shared similar hit-or-miss experiences some of which were void of reliability, accountability and trustworthiness.

And in so noticing the gap, the Williams saw a need to change the game for Charlotte pet owners.

“We wanted to build a business that provided an unparalleled level of accountability, trust and transparency in pet care,” Williams says. “And we wanted to bring convenience through technology and a top-notch team.”

“We learned to communicate constructively and realistically on our trip. We know our own and each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and skill sets.” – Meggie on being in business with her husband

A little over a year in operation, The Waggle Company is growing quickly and looking to scale – but doing it all mindfully. The business utilizes unique, barcode technology that allows team members to scan in and scan out of every home visit and then send an email summary report with pet pictures to each pet owner. The report provides immediate documentation of the visit and the service – but, more importantly, it provides peace of mind.

As strong and convenient as the technology is, The Waggle Company’s founders know that in a business responsible for such special lives, the people are the brand.

“Yes, technology enables us to do what we do,” Williams shares. “But, it’s only as good as our team members who use it.”

Right now, Waggles employs 15 team members, all of whom appreciate the company, the mission, and the responsibility of taking care of someone else’s pet. All team members are professionally-trained and work hourly, so when a request comes in – a lot of times via the online tool – Waggle team members can address the need as quickly as possible – within the hour with no extra charge.

“Helping customers get the lifestyle they want or hearing a customer say, ‘my lifestyle changed because of Waggle’ or ‘I couldn’t do what I wanted to do socially until Waggle’ means a lot to us,” she says. “Having that trust with people in the community makes a difference. The relationships are the coolest part of all this.”

Other important relationships are those the husband-and-wife team has formed in the last several months they’ve worked from Hygge.

“We knew we wanted a co-working space, so I researched a lot, and we tried them all,” Williams notes. “But we felt connected here at Hygge, and we loved the vibe here immediately.”

As well, Hygge tapped into one of the things the Williams’ sought out from Charlotte when they returned to North Carolina post-travel – the emerging entrepreneurial community.

“Everyone here at Hygge ‘gets’ what a risk it is to pursue an idea like this, and there’s something real about the people here who understand that,” she admits. “And we’ve met a lot of people here who have become a part of our world – co-workers who are now clients; people here who help us connect to resources we need, that kind of thing.”

Other relationships critical to Waggle’s footprint and success? Queen City Paw Tribe, or QCPT. This partnership exists between The Dog SalonVetweRxKeenDog Training, and The Waggle Company. QCPT was formed to provide trusted resources to the Charlotte dog owner community. (Special note: Waggle partnered with three, female-owned businesses to shape this partnership.)

“Waggle is a lot of logistics, but it’s fun stuff to cater to contemporary needs– and it’s fun that we can do all this with and for pets,” Williams shares. “And to provide a useful service that provides an impact that matters to people in Charlotte means a lot.”

A MOMENT OF TRUTH WITH MEGGIE WILLIAMS: So, you’ve been married to Sebastian for four years, and now you own a business together. How do you make it work without getting at each other?

COMMUNICATE CONSTRUCTIVELY: “We learned to communicate constructively and realistically on our trip. We know our own and each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and skill sets.”

FIND A GOOD CADENCE: “Because we know strengths, weaknesses and skill sets, we know each other’s role, and they’re each in totally different areas which helps us not get at each other. We each have our own things within Waggle.”

TAKE OFF THE WORK HAT, PUT ON THE PERSONAL HAT: “It’s really easy for these worlds to intersect and compete, so we both have to be adamant about when we’re wearing which hat.”

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: “Respect for each other and what we’re building is THE underlying aspect of what makes all this work.”

***UPDATE: The Waggle Company changed their name to Skipper in June 2018 reflect the company’s broader vision to shape the future of pet care services.

Meet the Author: Meg Seitz is the Founder and Managing Creative Partner of toth shop, an agency with one goal: Elevate your brand’s content through powerful writing, creativity, and strategy. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor with Queens University and Founding Partner of the children’s book series, “Bea is for Business”.

She’s an English major with an MBA, so she can talk Homer’s “The Odyssey” just as well as she can talk sunk costs – though she’d much prefer the former.

Meet the photographer: Hi, nice to meet you! I’m Julia. I’m my happiest self when my camera is in hand and I’m taking in this big beautiful world around me! People are my jam and the fact that this job brings so many wonderful people into my life is pretty special.

I grew up performing mostly in front of the camera! Singing, acting, comedy improv – anything on a stage or in front of a lens. The roles began to switch as I entered my freshman year of college and found a creative outlet through photography. My first “real” shoot was when an engaged friend of mine asked me to photograph her and her fiancé. Within moments of getting started, I knew that this was it. Telling peoples love stories, that is what I’m supposed to do! I shot my first wedding at nineteen, and well you know what they say..the rest is history! We’ve been together ever since 🙂