Entrepreneurship Fellowship Winner Plans Luxury Pet Hotel
Dec. 19, 2019
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. –– Senior business administration major Rachel Rosch ’20 (Fox River Grove, Illinois) has dreamed of owning her own
pet boarding facility since she was eight years old. Thirteen years later, Rosch is
poised to make her dream a reality.
Rosch is the recipient of the $5,000 IWU Entrepreneurship Fellowship for “Amber’s Playground,” a luxury pet boarding business she plans to open in northwest
suburban Chicago in 2020.
The biannual fellowship provides students with the opportunity to pursue their entrepreneurial
passion under the supervision of a faculty member and guidance of a successful entrepreneur.
From an early age, becoming an entrepreneur was appealing to Rosch.
“I like to come up with my own ideas and I liked the whole idea of owning my own business
and being able to take it down all the paths that I can and the only blockage be me,”
Rosch said. “From there, I knew I wanted to own something with animals. And then when
(our family dog) Amber came into my life, I decided that was the name.”
Amber’s Playground will be a luxury pet hotel with a “rustic, retreat” vibe that includes
indoor and outdoor facilities for the pets. The hotel will welcome all kinds of pets,
in addition to offering a variety of pet services such as grooming, dog walking and
Rosch prepared extensively for her future as a pet hotel owner. For years, Rosch has
worked at various pet boarding and service shops, in addition to working as a freelance
dog walker and pet sitter.
Along with her relevant work experience, Rosch extensively researched the pet care
industry. She noted that 68% of American households own a pet and over $72 billion
was spent on pets in 2018, according to the American Pet Products Association.
“My knowledge of the industry has grown a lot,” Rosch said. “I don't really know how
this industry can go obsolete because I kind of look at it like childcare or senior
care because your pet is a living thing.”
Rosch will use part of the fellowship monetary award for developing a business website
and marketing materials, but says that the majority will go toward an exterior sign
for the hotel. She even has a location in mind.
“I want the sign to be something that I can pull up to work every day and know that
Wesleyan supported me through it,” Rosch explained. “And that sign basically came
“I want Amber’s Playground to be a really flattened organization where everybody feels
important and equal,” explained Rosch. “And Wesleyan has taught me a lot about how
to do that and how to get everyone to feel like they're really involved and everybody
As she finalizes her business plan for Amber’s Playground, Rosch expressed gratitude
for supportive communities both back home and on campus. Rosch’s mom, who works at
an animal hospital, is Rosch’s business partner and biggest supporter.
“To see that I'm actually excelling in something that I really enjoy, and for it to
actually be something I can do for a living, it's really exciting,” Rosch said. “I
can make my living with what I love to do.”
The IWU Entrepreneurship Fellowship application is open to all current IWU students.
Spring proposals are due Feb. 24, 2020. Learn more.