Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in animal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kristin Matthews, president, and co-founder of Tom&Sawyer, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
If your pet could talk, they'd order Tom&Sawyer gently cooked pet meals for dinner. At Tom&Sawyer, we believe real food is for the whole family— fur fam included. That's why we cook meals for cats and dogs as we do for ourselves: With natural, healthy ingredients, mouth-watering flavors, and a lotta love. All our meals are 100% non-GMO, antibiotic and hormone-free, and hand-cooked by a culinary team in our own independently owned kitchen. Why feed a fresh-cooked diet over kibble? A fresh-cooked diet supports better digestion and poops, more energy and happiness, fewer allergic reactions, a softer, shinier coat, clearer, brighter eyes, and fresher breath. With recipes like our low-fat Rosemary Venison or party-worthy Louisiana Gumbo, your pet's menu just got tastier than yours.
Tell us about yourself
Tom&Sawyer has been “Keeping It Real Since 2015”. It all started when my husband and I brought home Sawyer, a little Yorkie-Poo who refused to eat kibble, and with one look at the ingredients list, I couldn’t blame him. I thought to myself, “if it smells this bad, it must taste this bad, too!” I am pretty sure that’s a fact, but you couldn’t pay me to try kibble. Instead, I set out to up the standards in the pet food industry. I was a practicing forensic accountant during that time, so I put my investigative skills to good use.
What I learned upset me: With so few regulations in the industry, our pets are ingesting highly-processed synthetic ingredients and bacteria at every meal that makes them sick. Like many pet parents, I wanted better for Sawyer. I wanted to prevent illness and pricey vet bills, not guarantee them. And so, Tom&Sawyer was born: All-natural, gently cooked meals made by hand. Fast-forward 6 years later, we’ve helped so many pets lose weight, manage allergies, calm painful digestive and inflammatory illnesses, and live happier, healthier, and longer lives. Hearing these grateful stories from dedicated pet parents every day is what keeps me motivated.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Knowing that we have had a direct impact on increasing the quality and length of the lives of dogs and cats while reducing stress and vet bills of pet parents is my biggest accomplishment.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Balancing the right level of my involvement in so many different parts of the business.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Ensure you are authentic about the reason for creating your business
- Be aware that running your own business is way harder than you could ever imagine.
- Listen to your customer feedback early on and adapt because you won’t have it right on your launch day.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Humans have the privilege of being caretakers of cats and dogs in our homes and with that comes great responsibility for their life and their health.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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