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marketing dog treats

Dog Treat Business Farmers Market Tips

A farmers market is a great place to gain exposure for your dog treat business. Figuring out what to bring with you is often stressful. Read these tips from an experienced farmers market vendor to help you get started and enjoy the experience!

Cristina Egnew from Cristina’s Dog Treats, a dog treat business based in Tillamook, Oregon, offers this advice to those doing an event for the first time. “In most cases everything about the first event can be stressful,” she says. “You will probably be asking yourself the following questions: How much product do I take, what do I need, do I have enough change, what if I don’t sell anything, what have I gotten myself into?”

A farmers market veteran, she shares what she does to help you reduce the frustration and ease the process.

1) How much product? Cristina says, “I have a simple rule when it comes to selling my dog treats at farmers markets. Take a minimum of $100 of each product.”

“For example, I would take at least twenty-five (25) 4 oz bags:  four bags of four different flavors and five variety packs. This rule has saved me many headaches. As you attend more markets, you will get a better idea of what your customers want and you will adjust your product quantities.”

2. What else to bring besides product? “This does depend a little on the venue but not too much. I like my stuff organized so I have a supply tote with basic supplies.”

Basic supplies. These include the following – in Cristina’s words:

  • Tablecloths. Take at least one extra because you never know when you’ll need it. Things happen like a dog urinates on the cloth or the table is large and you need two cloths to cover it. You can even use the tablecloths as a backdrop in your space or stall.
  • First-aid kit.  Things happen. I keep mine stocked with the basic supplies plus I have added hand warmers, aspirin, and anti-itch spray.
  • Miscellaneous bag. This contains tape, a white board, board pens and pen cleaner, note cards, two ball point pens, scissors, string, safety pins, and other items that make it easy to display and label. 
  • Paper towels, dry rag and wet wipes. If you have ever been slimed by a Newfie, you understand! It rains a lot here in Oregon, so I have to be prepared to dry off my tables, totes, and display items when they get wet. 
  • Bungie cords.  Not only will they keep your totes closed, but you can use them to anchor your sign. 
  • Sign Folder. I put my signs listing flavors and prices into a folder that I keep in my supply tote. This ensures that I don’t forget it or misplace my signs. 
  • Extras. I live on the Oregon coast where the outside temperature gets cold so I have a throw, gloves, extra pair of socks , hair brush and ear-warmers in the supply tote as well.
  • For indoor venues. An extension cord and surge bar comes in handy.
  • Banners and business cards. I keep these with my basic supplies so I never forget them.
  • dog treat businessDisplay table set-up at a farmers market.

Other useful items:

  • Display items. I keep all my display items together. Any small pieces are in a bag attached to the larger piece they go with. I like display items that collapse or can be stacked on each other. 
  • Tables. In most cases you can get away with one table. If I find I need more room I’ll stack totes and cover them with my second table cloth. 
  • Chair. I always take my own chair. Personally, I prefer the artist chairs because they’re easier to get in and out of and place you higher. 
  • Canopy and weights.  There are several different brands available but I like the Caravan Canopy (click to see product.) Why? It is one of the few brands that you can actually set up by yourself without a problem and I have found they withstand the wind better then other tents. I have had the same one for 10 years now and it has held up through high winds.
  • Food and drinks. You will be there a long time so make sure you have nourishment.
  • Supplies for the dog. If you plan to take your pet, make sure you have everything you need to keep him/her comfortable. I bring a dog bowl and water for the public.
  • Side curtains.  These are great to have especially if it’s raining or windy, or for some privacy for your space. I have a neighboring vendor who never stops talking so my side curtain goes up. :)

More considerations:

  • How much change to bring? My cash box starts with $100. How you price your products will dictate the type of change you will need. Personally, I like even prices – it just makes my life easier. For example: If you are selling dog treats 3 for $1, you will want to have some pennies because there will be customers who only want to buy one which comes out to 33 cents. My prices are in 25 cent intervals which makes it easy to quickly add totals in your head. So my till looks like this: $10 in quarters, $20 in tens, $25 in ones, and $45 in fives. You can always adjust or take extra but make sure to mark it so you remember what you started with after a long day.
  • Set up and tear down.  I see more vendors freak out about this over anything else. The more you do it the easier it gets but here’s a trick: practice a few times at home including loading and unloading. By going through the motions ahead of time, you can figure out how to best set up your display. Take photos or draw a diagram so you know what to do and save time. Once you decide how you will set up, I highly recommend this next exercise: load your vehicle with all your stuff, get in, then time yourself getting out and setting it all up.  Why? Now you will know how much time you need to get ready and how early you need to arrive at the event. Always add 15 minutes to the time especially at a farmers market because there could be a traffic jam caused by other vendors dropping things off. After tear down, make sure to pack your supplies correctly. You will save time later and be ready to go for the next event. I watch so many vendors just throw their things in totes that have to be repacked. It makes it easier to find items as well.  
  • Work on a craft project. I make cat toys and dog toys, so I bring my supplies. People will come over just to see what I’m working on! 
  • Load the night before. Then you can sleep in a bit longer the morning of the event!           

We thank Cristina for these words of wisdom. She regularly exhibits at farmers markets, so her advice comes from a lot of experience. Please visit Cristina’s Dog Treats to learn more about her business and find out where she will be exhibiting next!

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Visit K9Cakery.com for dog bakery supplies and the award-winning Fido’s Frosting, the all natural yogurt dog treat frosting and icing that does not melt!

Dog bakery business

Dog Bakery Spotlight: Kansas Sweetie Barkery

Kansas Sweetie Barkery

Owner: Brie Anne

Location: Rocky Mount, NC

dog bakery business
Just baked!

Spoiling my pup Opie is a no-brainer for me and, like many other dog lovers, I’d sacrifice items for myself to get him anything from healthcare to a new toy. Needless to say, gourmet dog treats was a typical area for me to splurge, especially since I grew up in Kansas City, where Three Dog Bakery kind of started the whole gourmet dog treat trend. In Kansas City, there are plenty of stores with all sorts of goodies, but when I moved to North Carolina I realized the selection was miniscule. I began experimenting with recipes and my passion for it blossomed.

After two layoffs in the journalism industry, I realized despite having a genuine love of reporting, it was unlikely to be the field I retired in. I always loved the idea of opening my own business, but it wasn’t until I visited a North Carolina town with my partner, Brandon, that I realized a gourmet dog treat business really is what I wanted. I did research and found out that there really is a market for this business and the trend isn’t going away anytime soon, so having a barkery was the perfect way for me to share my passion with others. 

dog bakery business
Opie enjoys a blueberry banana dog treat

I’d like to highlight Opie, an 8-year-old Lhasapoo, and Boxers Max and Lady as the inspirations for Kansas Sweetie Barkery.

Currently Kansas Sweetie Barkery is a face-to-face and Internet based business. We market our treats through a vast network in our local community built through very public professions, including my job as a reporter. Face-to-face sales also include displays at local farmer’s markets, fairs and festivals. When it comes to internet sales, word of mouth and social media are instrumental. We utilize Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and our website to get the word out about events, new products, contests and upcoming holidays.

Our name was actually developed through brainstorming with my partner, Brandon. I knew I wanted to capitalize on my upbringing in Kansas City and all the city is known for, such as BBQ and Jazz & Blues. Brandon pitched Kansas Sweetie Treats, but we switched it to “Barkery” to better convey the true nature of the business. It is amazing how many people have never heard of a “barkery” before, but smile as soon as they realize we offer gourmet ways to treat their pooches.

Gourmet dog treats
Red Meat Ruby Slippers

We don’t have a “most popular treat” at the moment. We follow our customers and bake and develop dog cakes and dog treats according to their needs and requests.  Our website has photos of each of our individual treats while our Facebook page has some shots of the process to make the treats.

I think our Red Meat Ruby Slippers is a unique product idea. These dog treats are modeled after the shoes worn by Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz”. They are beef-flavored and decorated with colored sesame seeds. We have a special Oz photo contest associated with these treats.

We do presentations at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Nash/Edgecombe Counties about entrepreneurship. We have the children from the club  decorate treats with what they want to be when they grow up. $1 from each sale is donated back to the club to help support the budding entrepreneurial dreams.

Visit us: Kansas Sweetie Barkery

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Visit K9Cakery.com for dog bakery supplies and the award-winning Fido’s Frosting, the all natural yogurt dog treat frosting and icing that does not melt!

 

dog treat business

Dog Treat Business Spotlight: The Pawtastic Barkery

The Pawtastic Barkery         

Owners: Lisa and Doug Von Heeder        

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada                                     

                                                                                        

We are a family of animal lovers who started making homemade dog treats for our two dachshunds, Kaiser and Jaeger, to make sure that they got healthy treats with all natural ingredients. 

Our boys loved our homemade treats so much, we shared them with our friends so their dogs could have healthy dog treats too. After receiving requests for more, we decided to go into business.  

We opened “The Pawtastic Barkery”, a gourmet dog treat business, to make healthy gourmet dog treats available to other animal lovers. We chose that name because it translates into “The Fantastic Bakery” in dog speak. (We speak fluent dachshund.) We wanted a name that would be both cute and memorable for our human customers as well.

Our treats are made by humans, but approved by dogs. Our most popular flavors  are the Beddar Apple Cheddar Dog Treats, and our Woofin’ Good Apple Cranberry Oatmeal (Gluten Free).  We also have a popular gluten free/vegan dog treat: Apple Pie.

gourmet dog treats
Left to right: Beddar Apple Cheddar Dog Treats, Apple Pie Gluten Free/Vegan Dog Treats, Woofin’ Good Apple Cranberry Oatmeal Gluten Free Dog Treats

We bake both soft and crunchy treats. The crunchy treats will last over 2 months when properly stored and the soft dog treats are like a fresh human bakery product, but lasting up to a month in the refrigerator. All of our ingredients are 100% human grade and contain no artificial preservatives. We bake to order to ensure the freshest product possible. 

Our products are available through our website. Our first appearance at a Farmers Market is coming up and we plan to do more in the future for local exposure.  We created a line of specialty dog treats for the markets. It was a lot of fun creating the names!

See all of our gourmet dog treats on our website: The Pawtastic Barkery 

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Visit K9Cakery.com for dog bakery supplies and the award-winning Fido’s Frosting, the all natural yogurt dog treat frosting and icing that does not melt!

dog treat business

Dog Treat Business Spotlight: Baron & Henry’s Homemade Dog Treats

Baron & Henry’s Homemade Dog Treats                                                                                       

Founded by: Suzanne Cushing                                                                                                        

Location: Pembroke, ME

As a conscientious dog mom, I was determined to only let my “boys” have safe dog treats. The best way to ensure that all the ingredients were acceptable was to make my own.

So I started making homemade dog treats.  I gave some to a friend, and then she referred someone else, and through word of mouth, people began asking for my treats for their dogs. Somebody suggested that I exhibit my treats with my other crafts at a local craft fair, so I did and generated quite a bit of interest!  I look forward to the craft fairs. They are a great way to promote locally.

Our most popular treats are the peanut butter dog biscuits. We also make special dog treats to celebrate the various holidays, like our Valentine dog cookies.

dog treat business
Left to right: Peanut butter dog biscuits, cheese dog treats, Valentine treats for dogs, blueberry dog treats

I named my little venture after my beagles. Baron is the  stubby guy and Henry is the wiry one. Baron came all the way from Missouri,  but Henry is a local boy. Anyone who has beagles can tell you that there is never a problem with too many leftover treats in the house! 

I would like to share a story. The black dog in the photo was named Ruger. He was very sick and would not eat.

Dog treat business
Ruger

 

He didn’t have long to live so I made him a big batch of treats…and he ate them all. He loved the blueberry  and the cheese that are shown in the collage above.  He went to the bridge shortly after this picture was taken. He was such a sweet boy. I wanted to share this picture in his memory.

I also wanted to share the note that his owners sent: “We thank you so much for your wonderful treats. Ruger wagged his tail like mad when he saw the very large bag of wonderful bones. Words can not say how much we thank you.”

This is why I do what I do – to bring joy to dogs especially like Ruger and his wonderful family.

 

Join us on Facebook: Baron & Henry’s Homemade Dog Treats.

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Visit K9Cakery.com for dog bakery supplies and the award-winning Fido’s Frosting, the all natural yogurt dog treat frosting and icing that does not melt!

gourmet greyhound marketing dog treats

Dog Treat Business Spotlight: The Gourmet Greyhound

The Gourmet Greyhound                                                                                                            

Founded by: Ellen Cobleigh                                                                                                            

Location: Houston, Texas 

Q:  How did you start your dog bakery business?  

A:  The Gourmet Greyhound is my hobby.  There are a lot of dog owners living in

ice cream dog treats
Ice cream paws

my complex. We have monthly functions where for everyone to attend. So I make sure to put large trays of dog cakes and ice cream paws on the dessert table.  I own two greyhounds, and am usually fostering a third at any given time. I always include a photo card of my dog Hillary on trays or put stickers with her face on treat bags. I call my dog “Chef Hill” and tell people that she has been very busy baking for her friends.  

I got the idea when I saw shortbread threats attached to a bag of kibble in the grocery store as a bonus item. I have always loved baking so I decided I would make my own dog treats!

Q:  It sounds like coming up with a name was very easy for you.

A:  My dogs are well-known in the neighborhood, and Hillary is a retired athlete used to a certain lifestyle. I decided on the name “The Gourmet Greyhound” because of the association that was already present. I live in the city and walk the dogs several times a day. Even the homeless community knows us.

Carrot cake for dogs
Carrot cake for dogs

Q:  What are some of your favorite dog cakes to make?

A: My guys love carrot cake. I make it with peanut butter, vanilla and honey.  

The photo on the right shows the dog cake. I decorated this cake with Fido’s Frosting colored to look like chocolate frosting.

I live close to New Orleans,  so I created the King Cake for dogs so they could celebrate Mardi Gras too!                                             

King Cake for Dogs
King Cake for dogs

 

That’s a photo of that cake on the right.

Right now, I depend on word of mouth about my dog treats known. But as I get better known, my King Cake is becoming popular.

 

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Visit K9Cakery.com for dog bakery supplies and the award-winning Fido’s Frosting, the all natural yogurt dog treat frosting and icing that does not melt!

marketing dog treats

Dog Treat Ingredients And Customers

Q:  I use only healthy ingredients in my dog treat recipes. There seems to always be someone, who will either approach me in person when I’m displaying at a farmers’ market or fundraiser, or through comments on my blog, who wants to disagree with my choice of ingredients. Any advice?

Frosting Fran

A: You are not alone! First of all, do not take it personally. You have undoubtedly spent a lot of time researching your recipes to put together a winning combination of ingredients that will produce the best dog treats for your customers. There might be a lack of knowledge, a reliance on rumor or misconception, or something else. 

We know of one woman who tastes all dog treats before giving any to her dog. If she doesn’t like them, she will say so and then say that she would never let her dog eat one. (Meanwhile, her dog whines and salivates while watching her eat the treat.)

Do not feel the need to defend your recipes. You know what your customers want. Not everyone will be in your target market. Thank them for stopping by and tell them it seems that your products are not what they are looking for. Then let them move on.

Blog comments prove you have readers! A little education or clarification in a reply to the comment may suffice. Use it to your advantage and write a new post addressing the concern to which you can refer others in the future.

You are not obligated to post an egregiously rude or vulgar comment as it serves no useful purpose. Having comment moderation enabled on your blog will give you control over this.

Kol’s Notes, a popular and well-written dog blog with original and interesting recipes for dog treats, heads off the issue by letting readers know that not all the posted recipes will be right for their particular dog, and offers alternatives if applicable. One recipe does not always fit all.

Visit K9Cakery.com for all natural dog cake mixes and dog cake mixes. Find the award-winning all natural Fido’s Frosting dog treat frosting and icing that does not melt!

Marketing Dog Treats

Hello Dog Lovers!

Jump into the pet bakery business and get tips and ideas for marketing dog treats and other pet treats.

As more and more people adopt pets and make them part of the family, they will want your products, especially to celebrate dog birthdays and for holidays.

This blog has two main purposes:

1. To share ideas and tips on how to promote your small business

2. To share YOU!

Please send us photos of your latest dog treat creations, a recipe, a photo of dogs enjoying your treats, your kitchen at its busiest, etc. and we will post them here. If you would like to write a post, we would love to publish it!

Ask questions about marketing, where to find dog bakery supplies, recipes, finding other bakers nearby, etc. and we will enlist the aid of our dog treat business community to get a good answer.

Frosting Fran, Director of Marketing for K9Cakery.com moderates the blog, and K9Cakery.com sponsors it.

In the menu bar above, we have included links for more information about dog bakery supplies, dog cake recipes, and dog treat icing and decorations for dog treats. Be sure to add your free listing to our dog bakery directory. For you enjoyment, we included links to dog quotes and dog humor.

Let’s promote!

Visit K9Cakery.com for a large assortment of dog bakery supplies and the award-winning Fido’s Frosting, dog treat frosting that will not melt!

Frosting Fran

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