In The Beginning...2006

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I have to start this blog somewhere so I'm turning the clock back to 2006 when Pat and I got the idea to start our business. Starting as of today would leave too many holes in our story and events would have no point of reference. So, we jump into the WayBack Machine...

Blue Collar Dog Treats, L.L.C. started with GRACIE, our Red Heeler.

I'd been reading about the questionable ingredients in manufactured dog treats and decided it would be healthier for her if I baked treats myself. After researching & tweaking recipes I hit on a recipe she was wild about. I made a batch for 2005 Christmas gifts for friends with dogs. Then came the phone calls with requests for more, more, more. My husband Pat and I talked about it - maybe we had something here. Maybe we could start a dog treat business. We agreed we just couldn't do the currently popular "gourmet dog treats" thing. Just too foo-foo for the dogs we knew. "What's the opposite of gourmet dog treats?" I asked him. He didn't miss a beat. "Blue Collar Dog Treats" he answered and that was that.


By May I had fine-tuned my recipe, developed a production system, copyrighted my packaging,

and I was ready for the Anacortes Farmer's Market.



Sales were S-L-O-W.
Folks loved the colorful booth and raved about the clever packaging (blush) but they weren't quite sure why they should even consider buying these particular treats when they could buy a 10 lb bag of treats at Costco or WalMart for a couple of bucks and then...

...they saw the dogs
Sadie was the first. She showed everyone just how good these treats are and we realized they could actually sell themselves. Giving out samples did the trick. We frequently heard " My dog is too picky" or "He doesn't like dog treats". We 'd offer the dog a treat right on the spot and more often than not the dog wolfed it down and wanted another, please. Some dogs were distracted by the riot of dog, people and food smells at the market so we sent them home with a little doggy bag of our samples. At the next market, we'd see those owners again, saying their dogs had polished off the samples and they were there to get more. (2009 Note: Since May of 2006, we've handed out thousands of samples and let the treats sell themselves.)

When our grandson Mitchell joined me at the Saturday market he proved to be quite a salesman. Customers frequently commented on his knowledge of the products and ingredients. For only being ten years old, he showed amazing poise working with the public.

We soon added the Oak Harbor Public Market to our schedule and were invited to various Gift and Holiday Shows.

Everything was looking good but things were about to change in a way we could never have imagined.



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