Twila McGee Of Nola’s Finest Pets: The Power of Flexibility; How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic

Authority Magazine Editorial Staff
Authority Magazine
Published in
9 min readMar 11, 2022

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Networking doesn’t happen on its own; you literally have to get out there and work it. I always try to be involved and introduce myself, so people remember me later. I suppose having a unique name like Twila doesn’t hurt either.

The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.

As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Twila McGee.

Born and raised in Uptown, NOLA, (New Orleans, LA) Twila is a pet lover, artist, baking connoisseur, and total boss. She opened her 5-star private walking & pet sitting business, NOLAs Finest Pet Care LLC. back in 2013. Twila is proud to be New Orleans’ FIRST bi black-owned in- home pet care business & boutique.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

Cancer (zodiac) 90’s kid that grew up in Uptown, New Orleans in a Christian two-parent household with one older sister. As an adult, I have a very strong relationship with God and pray often but I don’t have a membership for any particular religion. In my opinion, religion confuses, divides, and is not very accepting of the LGBT community. I think it should be kept simple by practicing Jesus’ teachings, Agapi. It’s hard to sin when you’re acting out of genuine love. I have a bonus mom as well, one of my favorite former teachers that taught me from 2nd-8th grade. My Granny, Naomi Richards owned Richard’s catering for 42 years before she passed when I was a kid. Feeding celebrities such as former VP Lyndon Johnson & Rock Hudson. We were very close and I still miss her today. I married my best friend/ high school love. We’re literally like bookends. I grew up with pets, so it would be weird to not have a furkid. My very first bestie as a child was the sweetest silver haired toy poodle named Jazzbeau. We were inseparable till he passed of old age when I was 13. He was part of the household before I was born, so I took his passing pretty hard. I still have his photo on my desk today. In middle school, I had the pleasure of raising two adorable rescue kittens Sweettart & Samantha, (my shadows) they passed of old age too in my late 20’s, miss them too. My mother and I share a love for animals. A few months before the pandemic, we had an amazing opportunity to foster momma dog and 5 of her puppies. Once they were healthy enough, we worked with a local rescue to make sure they found good forever homes. I adopted one, Arabella & my mom adopted Teddy. Christmas & Mardi Gras are my favorite holidays. I enjoy brunching, interior designing, crafts, and spending time with family/ longtime friends that’s like family. Since I was a kid, I always wanted to be an entrepreneur.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“How people treat you is their karma; How you react is yours”

When we’re in our feelings we tend to think we can do karma’s job much better, but we should leave it to an old pro. My time and energy are reserved for goals, happiness, and positivity, not petty games.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I’m always down for self-evolvement and growth. So back in college, I took a stress management class that led me to this life changing book, Buddhist Bootcamp by Timber Hawkeye. One of my biggest take-aways from this book is, we’re the victim of our own choices. Every day we make choices that either bring us closer or farther away from our goals and when things don’t go our way, we make excuses and blame others. Each moment of the day, we make important decisions that determine how our life turns out, but I think most of us aren’t even aware of the long-term impact our choices have on our future, good or bad. Self-responsibility is a skill we’re lacking in our society, which explains why history constantly repeats itself. One of my favorite quotes from the book reads “If you really want to do something, you will find a way. If you don’t, you will find an excuse” — E James Rohn

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?

NOLAs Finest Pet Care llc only offered pet care service in the pet’s home, which helps decrease furkid’s anxiety and increase their lifespan. These services are everything to pet parents that travel often, work full-time, or have senior pets. I also educated pet lovers on proper pet care techniques. I still offer these services locally.

What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?

With the pandemic and lockdown, pet parents couldn’t travel like before and were working from home. So, I experienced a decrease in clients. However, the pandemic gave me a great opportunity to make human grade gourmet treats and sell them on Doordash. The pandemic also gave me the flexibility to design (paint or sketch) New Orleans inspired products for pet lovers and their pets. Pet lovers all over the U.S. can shop on my website, nolasfinestpets.com.

Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?

As a pet mom myself, I realized that a lot of the pet treats available either have ingredients that are difficult to pronounce or unhealthy for pets. It shouldn’t be that hard-to-find healthy treats. I came to this conclusion way before the pandemic, but didn’t have access to a delivery platform or time until now. No one else was making treats from scratch and selling on a delivery app, so I quickly ran with the opportunity. My treats are made with real pet-friendly fruits and veggies. I make my own peanut butter as well, no sugar or salt. The natural vitamins boost a pet’s overall health. For the longest time, I’ve been trying to figure out how to combine my artistic talents with my love of pets, then inspiration finally hit. My paintings and sketches I’ve been working on throughout the years would look great on blank stationery, clothing, wall-art, mugs, etc. The rest is history.

How are things going with this new initiative?

We’re still in a pandemic so local businesses can never have too much business/support, shop til you drop pet lovers and thanks in advance for supporting local!

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My spouse, Chris. She’s a brain aneurysm survivor amputee that works full time in a busy office, but will always find time to help me with customers/events when I need her. We always have each other’s backs. I’m also grateful towards our adorable rescue, Arabella. She samples treats to make sure they’re tail-wagging good. She’s a picky eater.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?

Time to time, I’ll receive calls from customers thanking me for providing a healthier treat option and telling me how much their pets love it. I’m appreciative of the feedback and happy that I can make a difference in a fur kid’s life, even if it’s in a small way.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. I wish I was aware of Urban League of Louisiana (ULLA) Back in 2013 when I started my legacy, NOLAs Finest Pet Care llc. ULLA is an amazing organization of dedicated and knowledgeable mentors that has expertise in different aspects of business. Mentors have their own successful business, so they know firsthand all the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. This is everything to us entrepreneurs because our expertise is what we do in our business, not necessarily everything else it takes to run a successful business. When local businesses thrive, our community does as well. I’m very grateful to Candy Martin, Martin Business Solution llc, Lori Jackson, Director of Women’s Business Resource Center, Desiree Young, Venture Walk, Klassi Duncan, VP Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, and the rest of the ULLA team.
  2. Piggy backing on #1 having a mentor or someone with experience with business you can consult with on a regular basis. Mentors or advisors have access to great advice, contacts, and resources that’s vital to any business. Just as important, they provide insight on your business that can prevent you from making costly mistakes. You can’t do everything on your own.
  3. Ignore the opinions of naysayers because at the end of the day, that’s all it is, an opinion. I’m sure others, including myself, have experienced this. Some people are not comfortable with taking risks/thinking outside the box and that’s totally cool but that’s not your problem. It’s your responsibility to see your vision through.
  4. Networking doesn’t happen on its own; you literally have to get out there and work it. I always try to be involved and introduce myself, so people remember me later. I suppose having a unique name like Twila doesn’t hurt either.
  5. It’s ok to end a business engagement when you’re not professionally vibing with someone. Overall, I have positive experiences but every now and then, I have a challenging customer and I don’t mean the pet. Especially with my services, it’s very difficult to do my job efficiently when the pet parent doesn’t want to have clear communication or decides to change something without informing me prior. I’m a very understanding person and get that stuff happens sometimes, but when it becomes a regular thing, it’s a problem. It pains me when I must make those tough choices because the furkid suffers.

So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?

Self-care is everything! I take breaks from the news and all the negative vibes by throwing on my headphones and getting lost in my favorite music. I also do meditation, Yoga, Pilates, & Tabata 2–3x a week and take naps when I can. Naps are life!

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Education on proper pet care techniques and the importance of adopting not shopping. Encouraging women and young girls of all body types. You are seen, you are heard, you are beautiful, and you got this!

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

P!nk & Lizzo! I grew up listening to Pink and by being a beautiful thick black female, I can relate to Lizzo. “Body positivity only exists because body negativity is the norm”. (Lizzo). “There’s nothing wrong with being sexy but you have to be sexy for yourself, not society” (P!nk). That speaks volumes. P!nk and Lizzo have incredible style and music. Both are extremely talented women that can’t be boxed and accomplished a lot despite challenges, but don’t always get the recognition they deserve. I love how they represent the underdogs and show the world that there is nothing wrong with being different. If anything, we should celebrate our uniqueness. Both P!nk & Lizzo life stories are inspiring and even though I don’t know them personally, I have a feeling they’re really down to earth. P!nk & Lizzo, I’m down anytime to raise my glass and feel good as hell with y’all.

How can our readers follow you online?

Instagram: @nolasfinestpetcare | FB: nolasfinestpetcare

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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