Hi all, and welcome to the May 2021 installment of iScribe Creative’s Creative Corner blog series!
Today, we’re sitting down for a coffee with business owner Kylie who, along with her sister Denise, runs The Doggie Bakery, based in Sydney’s South. They’re both highly motivated individuals with a flair for business and, yep, you guessed it, they both LOVE puppers of all shapes and sizes!
Let’s find out more about their passion for keeping dogs happy and healthy, and how they’ve built a small business out of their love for their four-legged friends.
Everyone, meet Kylie and Denise…
Kylie, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me! To start with, could you please provide a little background about yourself and Denise?
We are sisters from Sydney. Denise is a primary school teacher who loves eating out with friends and going to the beach. I am a physio who loves playing board games and entertaining.
Awesome! A fellow board game enthusiast – I love it! Now, tell us a little about your business.
We make healthy, homemade dog and cat treats for the conscientious pet parent who wants to give guilt free treats. You can find us online or occasionally at local Sydney markets. It is our 5th year of business. The most challenging part of starting our small business was getting people to know and trust us so we could get enough traffic to our website.
Oh, yep, I feel that! So, where does your passion for providing pets with healthy dog and cat treats stem from?
Denise and I adore our dogs and we only wanted to give them high quality food and treats. We had some knowledge that many of the store bought ones were not actually good for dogs so we wanted to create our own.
So, you each have pets of your own! Tell us about them and which of The Doggie Bakery treats are their favourites?
Denise has a 9 year old Moodle called Cooper. I have two Huskies, Kiba 5 and Freja 9.
Nice! I think I’m going to have to get some of the chicken treats for my cats. I’m sure they’d love them! Now, what is it that sets The Doggie Bakery apart from other businesses like it?
Apart from the carob buttons and yoghurt drops, we make everything we put in our packets. We know a lot of other businesses repackage items but we love knowing that what we put in our packets was made by us and we can tell you exactly where everything came from.
A lot of consumers will agree with you there, that knowing what’s in the products they buy is paramount. And you’re sisters, right? What is the secret to successfully running a business with a family member? How do you overcome any disagreements?
Although we’re very different people we are very similar in our passion for the products we produce and all the dogs and cats that we make them for. We do disagree often but we think what is helpful in overcoming them is perspective. We have full time jobs and other concerns and it’s better to compromise or agree and move on than fight over something.
That’s such a great way to look at it. It’s nice to be able to agree to disagree, compromise and move on, especially in a business sense. Are either of you involved in any other business ventures? Do you have any time management tips for people like you who wear many hats?
I help my husband run Good Games Miranda, which he owns. I’m also starting a canine rehabilitation business to produce online courses for pet parents to exercise their dogs at home to help decrease pain and increase function.
Time management is still something I struggle with. Plus I have two kids, two dogs and the three businesses. It’s hard and I’m still learning to prioritise and give myself grace to rest.
Ah, yes. Finding time for yourself is tough when you’re a business owner, I can relate to that 100%. Now, The Doggie Bakery has quite a strong social media presence. How important is social media in promoting your products and bringing in sales? Do you have any tips for successful social media management?
A lot of our website traffic comes from Instagram so it is such an important component to our marketing at present, however you don’t want to build so much on “borrowed land”. Social media is “borrowed land”. If the powers that be decide to shut us down or change the algorithm and that was all we had then we would be in big trouble. We currently use IG to build our email list so we always have an audience that we can market to independently from social media if ever necessary.
I don’t think we’re successful at it but we’re happy with our little following. A lot of our followers are customers and this is better than having tens or hundreds of thousands of followers but they don’t engage or take the next step to purchase. We would recommend building good relationships by spending time interacting with other accounts and getting to know them.
That is such great advice. And, I mean, you’ve got around 5k followers which is great for a small business! Now, for the last question… In general, what are the 3 best tips you’d give to aspiring small business owners?
- Know your numbers. It can be depressing at times but don’t stick your head in the sand.
- Put time and effort in building an email list.
- Keep learning. There are lots of resources out there in podcasts and books/audiobooks that can help you grow in your business.
Yes! I couldn’t agree more, especially with point number 3. Continual learning is such a crucial part of being a successful business owner.
If you’re interested in purchasing wholesome, healthy, AFFORDABLE treats for your furry family members, check out the links below and place your order with the doggie bakery today…
☕ Coffee is good. Sponsor Kylie & Denise’s next cup here: www.ko-fi.com/iscribecreative
If you have any questions at all for Kylie and Denise that weren’t answered in this article, pop them in the comments and I’ll follow up with them for you 🙂
Creative Corner will be back at the beginning of next month so follow the blog to stay in the loop!