What It's About
A "DIY dog treats brand" barks up the right tree!
Words of Wisdom
Tess invited 30 dog loving friends and family around to try her product. They each completed a survey and baked up a batch of her newly created recipes. The focus group gave her direct, honest feedback and also pointed out a few things she had overlooked such as mixing the ingredients, time to bake and the like.
An article by AdWeek published in 2017 cited that 44% of millennials see their pets as starter children. In fact, As of January 2018, this group has become the largest demographic of pet owners and 71% say they would take a pay cut if it meant their pups could come with them to the office.
Notes from Chris
Episode 527Tess Rousselle is a self-confessed crazy dog lady. So much so that she’s launched not one, but two side hustles tailored for people just like her. For over six years she’s worked as a social media strategist for startups. As someone with a love of learning and a willingness to hustle, the environment suits her well. Working in startups is a great way to hone your business skills. For Tess, that’s exactly what she’s been doing. She’s watched her founders closely to see how they test aspects of their business, deal with setbacks, and navigate their way through competition. Tess used those lessons and her social media skills to start her first side hustle four years ago. She was the owner of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, so it began with an Instagram page, suitably called CavLife. She posted pictures of Cavaliers (the dogs, not LeBron James) and built up a sizable following of nearly eighty thousand. It’s so far spawned doggy meetups all over the world and even has a brand attached. They sell t-shirts and other merchandise so owners can show off their Cav love! While the Cavlife project was a success, it wasn’t big enough to become a full-time gig, so Tess kept her job. But every dog has it’s day…. and Tess’s day was fast approaching. It finally came in January of this year with a new idea. In her own words, it “set off fireworks” when it came to her. The idea was born out of her own frustrations with all the low-quality dog foods available. Many of which have terrible ingredients that make you wonder if they’re the reason for the expression, ‘sick as a dog’. She was after something better, something more that she could provide for her four-legged friend. She decided to take the situation to her kitchen. The plan was to bake her own yummy and healthy dog treats for her pet Cavalier. The only problem was, in her words—she’s a terrible baker. After hunting for a treat mix she could bake herself, she found none. That day she devised what would become Wagadō. A superfood packed bake it yourself line of dog treats. If there was no option to bake your own treats, then Tess was going to create one. She invited 30 dog loving friends and family around to try the product. They each completed a survey and baked up a batch of her newly created recipes. The focus group gave her direct, honest feedback and also pointed out a few things she had overlooked such as mixing the ingredients, time to bake and the like. With that feedback in hand, she took 2 more weeks to develop the product. She offered a pre-sale discount to the focus group, which allowed her to recoup the cost of ingredients even before an official launch. That pre-launch gave her the confidence to drum up some more interest, and because of her first side hustle, she had the perfect audience ready to market to: her CavLife social media following. Posting to that following was perfect for barking up interest. So much interest, in fact, that sales of Wagadō have been between $2,000 and $3,000 per month since its recent launch. She’s not just chasing her tail around—she’s working doggedly to build a new future.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Wagadō: Bark up the right tree with this health-conscious dog treats brand—learn more on Tess' website!
- Shopify: Tess used Shopify to set up her store for Wagadō, and they're offering a 21-day trial and exclusive discount for all Side Hustle School listeners!
- CavLife: The website and Instagram page that Tess created prior to launching Wagadō
- Starting a Pet Food Business: Interested in starting up your own furry friend treats side hustle? Learn more about the process and regulations in your state!
- Dog Lover Turns At-Home Baking Into Barking Business: A Michigan-based dog owner uses her baking hobby to launch a gourmet, healthy dog treat business, and her dogs make no bones about how much they love them!
- Frozen Pup Treats Are No Barking Matter: Frozen yogurt for dogs? Yep. It starts as one couple’s hobby, expands to a farmer’s market, and eventually earns a million dollars in sales
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