Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in animal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kari Kalway, CEO of Puddles Barkery, located in Seattle, WA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

As a Seattle dog treat bakery, we serve a wide variety of amazing dogs, cats, and their people. The baker starts with local, nutritious ingredients to appeal to meat lovers and those with sweet tooth. After the treats are made, Kora, our picky taste tester, must approve them. Everyone enjoys the fun styles with the Cannoli, Mini Pupcakes, and Puddles Cakes to celebrate our pups. Our other specialty is soft biscuit treats because Kora doesn't approve of most hard, crunchy treats. It's all about the dogs, and our treats allow you to dote on your pups in a healthy way. To bring more joy to our community, we also crochet hats for dogs - you won't be able to contain your smile.

Tell us about yourself

Kora is my first dog, and she stole my heart. When I realized how picky she was, making healthy, high-value treats for her and making adorable treats I wanted to give her became Puddles' first goal. We seek to serve joy to our customers through healthy treats for dogs and cats and by giving back to our animal rescue community. We donate 15% of all dog and human hat sales quarterly to local rescues.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Our return customers. We have earned a place at the Ballard Farmer's Market in Seattle. Our loyal customers visiting us for birthday Cakes every year and for their favorite treats is a great accomplishment.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Wearing all the hats as a small retail business owner is a challenge, some days more than others. Working with perishable treats means setting aside time to bake, package, and store treats each week, plus scheduling markets to sell treats or fostering relationships with retailers to carry our treats. The goal is to grow so I can hire help for more of these hats.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Be passionate about your business and products. Your passion will show when you talk to customers.
  2. Seek support (whether family, friend, or fellow business owner) Consider that while you will be your own boss, you also will need to make all the decisions. You will need support on the hard days.
  3. Celebrate EVERY win. When you receive an order, do a happy dance. When you find a new partner to work with, celebrate. When you upgrade equipment to grow, celebrate. Every small or large celebration will help you get through the failures, disappointments, bad reviews, and hard days.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Shop Small is more than a slogan. When we support our neighbors, we can make a better community and allow dreams to become a reality.

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; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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