Tell us a bit about your creative business. What do you create? Who do you create for?
Combining my love of baking and animals, I started my own business in July 2017 making health-conscious dog biscuits. I worked at a natural health clinic for many years, gaining insight into the power of a healthy diet and how excluding and including certain foods can dramatically reduce the symptoms of common health conditions.
Suffering from a range of food intolerances, I saw similarities in the symptoms my dog, Abby, was experiencing. Further research confirmed my theory that animals, particularly dogs, can develop food sensitivities. Symptoms may include: eczema, "hot spots", digestive concerns, joint pain, inflammation, unexplained weight changes and bad breath.
Like us humans; gluten, dairy and eggs are proven to be the main culprits. All of these food groups are not included in Laura’s Pawesome Treats. I love dogs and want the best for them. When providing dogs with treats, I do not want them to suffer any ill-effects. My products contain no nasties, preservatives or artificial flavours, added sugars or salt, are hypo-allergenic and vegan. The ingredients are listed on the packet and are easy to understand. All treats are made by hand, using human-grade ingredients.
I have designed six varieties, targeted at the most common dog health conditions:
- Inflammation and joint pain
- Anxiety and stress - separation anxiety, compulsive behaviours, nervousness
- Digestive concerns - constipation, loose stools, noisy digestion and flatulence
- Skin conditions - eczema, hot spots, hair loss
- Bad breath
- Weight-loss, diabetes and blood sugar regulation
Each flavour is also high in omega 3s, vitamins and nutrients - your dog will benefit in a variety of ways!
Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?
Without a doubt I am a gatherer! I love nothing more than aimlessly walking around shops and markets and perusing what is on offer, looking for new and unique things. I frequently buy things I don’t need and put them aside “just in case”. I have a box full of greeting cards for every occasion at home – I am never caught out needing to run to the shops to buy a birthday card! At times I am sure my “gatherer” tendencies drives my partner crazy however he has learnt to deal with this!
How do you balance work, family, and your creative business?
During the week I work a 9-5 job in Melbourne CBD, therefore I am busy most evenings and weekends working on my business! There are many aspects involved in running a small business – baking (the most important!), market stalls, online orders, website maintenance, social media, marketing and of course lots of paperwork… I am never bored!
My social life has been reduced, however working at markets on the weekends has introduced me to a new social group. All the stallholders are lovely and very supportive of each other’s businesses. There is always someone offering to watch your stall or shout you a coffee (this is vital as markets always start super early!). I also enjoy interacting with all the customers and their dogs – they all have their own fascinating stories. I have also met people involved in some wonderful dog rescue groups.
I am fortunate that my mum, Anne, volunteers her spare time on weekends and helps out in my market stalls. She is an amazing cook and also helps me bake treats. Working full-time and running a business is a balancing act however I love it!
You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be and why?
Easy, I would be yellow! A happy and positive colour, yellow is essential to every picture – how else would you draw the sun in the top corner of the page? I want to be the most worn-out crayon in the box, proving that every child (or adult!) puts some energy into drawing the sun, sand and flowers. Yellow is the colour of joy and is the brightest colour to the human eye. Everyone needs some brightness in their life and I love nothing more than making people smile and laugh.
What's one piece of advice you would give to a new online business?
It is worth the money having professional photos taken. The first thing your future customers look at are your images and the age old saying “first impressions count” is certainly true! As an amateur photographer, Instagram filters certainly help, however nothing I have created has been as good as the professional photography. Great packaging and clear branding is also important, your customers need to easily establish what you are selling/offering them.