Today we have Doggy Decadents, a gourmet dog treat company started by Chelsey Homan in Alaska. Chelsey is only 21 years old but is already gaining worlds of experience with her first startup company. Doggy Decadents is planning to relocate its headquarters to Washington State and open a physical store within a year. This is the kind of experience you do not get while sitting in class at business school. Check out the company below and Chelsey has a few questions for the Under30CEO audience that she would love to have answered!
In the summer of 2006 I received a scholarship to attended an entrepreneur camp for high school students, Camp $tart-Up, at Cornell University. At this camp we learned the basics of starting a business and formulating a business plan. The very next year in the summer of 2007 (after graduating high school) I was working at a local pet store in Eagle River, Alaska, and began baking treats for my newly acquired dog, Skipper. Having always aspired to run my own business, I realized this would be the perfect opportunity to try it out with little risk, I decided to begin selling my Alaska made doggie creations to local stores and at weekend markets. Thinking this would be a great summer project to apply toward my college classes in the fall, I never thought the business would take off the way it has. Thanks to a very loyal customer following, Doggy Decadents continues to grow and expand its retail and wholesale production of enticing, Alaska made, gourmet dog treats.
After starting the business, I was asked to sit on the Anchorage ATHENA societies Camp $tart-Up committee, the same organization that sent me to the entrepreneurship camp in 06 and I am the co-chair for this committee. I am also a founding member of the group, Women entrepreneurs of Anchorage, and in 2009, I was the youngest person ever to be selected as one of Alaska’s Top 40 Under 40.
What makes your company unique in its industry?
Doggy Decadents is a wholesale/retail dog bakery that provides all natural, gourmet dog treats that are truly unique. They are decorated with carob and yogurt icings in various colors and designs, making them look so good, even humans want to eat them. Customers not only purchase these treats for their own dogs, but also buy them as special gifts for their other canine loving friends.
The company plans to relocate the majority of its manufacturing operations to Washington within the next year and open its first retail store, Doggy Decadents Coffeehouse. This will be a dog friendly cafe where people can bring their dogs with them into the store and relax in a comfortable upscale atmosphere. Along with their beverages, customers can purchase freshly backed gourmet dog treats from the pastry display case or pick up a bag of pre-packaged signature Doggy Decadents treats from one of the display shelves.
Founders and Ages:
Chelsey Homan 21
What was the start-up budget?
Doggy Decadents began with a very small budget of $2,000. The company was started out of my kitchen so there were little overhead costs. Utilities, gas, ingredients, and packaging expenses were all minimal. The company now rents a 500sq ft kitchen and has an additional 300sq ft for storage and packaging.
Help answer their questions!
Question 1: Increasing online traffic/sales
Question 2: Balancing work and life
Question 3: Going outside my comfort zone and taking the necessary steps to grow the business
You can also follow them on twitter @doggydbakery