Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Launch Of A Business

I attended the Chicagoland Family Pet Expo about a month ago. One of the exhibitors there was Barkables. That day, I found out that Barkables was launching their business. I've never seen a business launch before and was intrigued about this organic dog treat company and how they came to be.

At The Beginning

Deborah Meade is the owner of Barkables and is based by Iowa City, Iowa. She formulated the idea of Barkables started when she was laid up with a broken leg. She thought about an online business since it had low overhead. This company is socially-conscious too. They donate a percentage of the proceeds to animal rescue.

Her accountant knew a struggling baker in the western suburbs of Illinois and thought they would be a good match. Surely enough, Annie and Deborah joined forces and Barkables was created.

Meet Deborah Meade

I talked to Deborah over the phone to learn more about this cool business. Here is our interview:

Me: How does distributing Barkables work?
Deborah: I will travel to Illinois once a week to pick up the fresh treats and bring them to Iowa for shipping and distribution.

Me: How are Barkables different from other treats?
Deborah: First of all, they're organic. I think that dog treats should be simple. Dogs don't need all of the bells and whistles that the other commercial treats offer. All they want is something that tastes good.

All of our treats are baked in an oven for the best nutritional value. Many of the modern organic treats are dehydrated. We make our treats edible for both humans and dogs.

Me: What appealed to you about organic dog treats?
Deborah: Most people are eating organic foods and many of them will want their dogs to eat as healthy as possible. All of our dog treats have no additives or preservatives. For example, it takes 6 pounds of sweet potatoes to make a 1 pound bag of sweet potato treats. Because there are no preservatives, they come out really crispy and light.

Me: What did you do before you started your company?
Deborah: For 22 years, I was in medical sales. Afterward, I was a stay-at-home mom before I started this business. I've also taught part-time at the local community college.

Me: Can you explain how you created your logo?
Deborah: My fiance and I have a classic 75 red convertible since he's into restoring cars and I used four of my dogs for the logo.

Me: What type of dogs do you own?
Deborah: Since I've been in pet rescue for over 20 years, we have 6 dogs. There's Max who's a 12-year-old Cavichon (King Charles Cavalier Spaniel and Bichon Frise) . Danny, our yellow labrador is 8. We have an 8-year old schnauzer named Corky Puddles. Lacy is a 4-year-old Cavichon. We have an Irish Setter named Lily Rose and finally there's Kofi Kitty our 2-year-old Havanese dog.

Me: Now that you've been in business for awhile, what is your biggest challenge?
Deborah: Getting our name and website known in Iowa City and online. We do distribute to select dog boutiques and have a special distributor for our online business.

Me: Since you're an online business, do you plan to be active in social media?
Deborah: Oh yes! We already have a Facebook page and will be on Twitter soon.

Me: Do you have any plans for new treats?
Deborah: We have wheat-free treats available for dogs who are allergic. I'm also looking to develop a gluten-free line.

Thank you Deborah for taking the time to speak with me. I wish you the best of luck with your new business.

Special For Too Kool Doggies Readers

From now till April 30, all Too Kool Doggies readers will receive 10% off at Barkables website. Just use the coupon code Bark10.

Let's Discuss!

Do you give your dog organic food and treats? What difference have you noticed?

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Interview with Pam Gaber of Gabriel's Angels

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