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Fear free design for patients and clients

dvm360dvm360 August 2023
Volume 54
Issue 8
Pages: 54

Vetique in Chicago, Illinois, is changing the way veterinary clinics look and operate

Vetique lounge. (Photo courtesy of Vetique)

Vetique lounge. (Photo courtesy of Vetique)

Four years ago, Jennifer Remnes, DVM, and Jessica Trice, DVM, co-founders of Vetique in Chicago, Illinois, were at a restaurant eating tacos and drinking margaritas when they first had the idea to open their own veterinary clinic. Both veterinarians had worked in corporate clinics before, but they believed they could create a space like no other and one where employees are excited to work.

They began discussing how they had seen nail salons where patrons would drink wine or other cocktails while getting manicures and pedicures, and the best friends wondered, “Why can’t we do that in veterinary medicine?”

“We just wanted to change the culture of [corporate veterinary clinics],” Trice said. “A lot of times, owners are nervous, and when the owners are nervous because their pets are sick, that’s when they visit the vet. So, we wanted to, in a way, calm them [and] make them feel at ease so that their pets could feel that way as well. [Pets] really feed off their owner’s emotions, and so when it comes to wining and dining, [we give] owners some wine and some spa-like environment. It really creates that relaxation for everyone.”

When deciding on a name for the clinic, the pair wanted it to sound boutique like to reflect the kind of atmosphere they were creating on the inside. The brand Clinique came up during their discussion, and they were inspired to go with Vetique.

Fast forward to today, and Vetique is in full swing. Its spa-like feel and wine bar design even have locals stopping in and asking whether they are a human medical spa or a new fancy bar.

Inside Vetique

Vetique exam room. (Photo courtesy of Vetique)

Vetique exam room. (Photo courtesy of Vetique)

When clients bring their pets into the lobby of Vetique, the chic marble countertops are complemented by gold accents, which continue throughout the clinic.

“I love our lobby. I feel like it’s a showstopper, and that is what you see as soon as you walk through that door,” Remnes said. “We just combined many elements that we both love. Personally, I love to design. I just went through this with my own home. So we got to work with our interior design designer, and really it was such a fun process.”

To the left of reception is the wine bar, where clients are offered a glass of pet-themed wine to sip on to calm their nerves and prepare them for their pet’s appointment. The wine is supplied by Scout & Cellar, a local winery that is also a female-run business.

Along with the wine service for clients, pets have access to wine bottle chew toys to play with while they wait to help ease their own nerves. The hallways to the exam rooms are lit up by multiple chandeliers, and other fun additions. The exam rooms, for example, are named after past and present pets of Vetique’s founders, such as Trice’s cat Mariah Carey.

Trice and Remnes said that through the design, they believe they have created a calming, homey space that makes everyone feel comfortable and safe, including the clinic’s own staff.

What’s next?

As their client base grows, Trice and Remnes said they hope to eventually expand beyond Chicago and bring their unique concept of a veterinary clinic to different areas of the United States. Although Vetique has been met with skepticism by some in the veterinary community, the duo said they believe their clinic is helping to create a welcoming space for pet owners and their animals. They also said they believe their concept will help light a spark in other veterinary professionals to think outside the box.

For anyone who has an interesting concept for a veterinary clinic, the pair advises going for it. All you need, they said, is to never give up—plus a few yes’s—to make your dream clinic a reality.

“If you really feel like that’s in your heart and that’s your purpose, don’t
let anyone steer you the opposite way,” Trice said. “If you really, truly feel
like that’s what you’re supposed to be doing, then just do it. And if you get knocked down a few times—and you’re going to get some negativity—that’s OK. Just keep going.”

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