Learn from Christine Kaddaras as she developed a business based on natural, organic wellness-based dog biscuits.
Christine Kaddaras is the owner of CC Bear Edibles, which sells natural, organic wellness-based dog biscuits. We met Christine on a recent trip to the UK and loved her story of how she transitioned passions for dogs, wellness, and therapeutic cooking into a business selling wellness dog biscuits. In this interview, we explore the inspirations for Christine’s business, including her dog (Bubba the Bear), how she began making dog biscuits, and what she finds most rewarding about creating a wellness business.
Whether you’re interested in nutritional goodness for your dog or you’re hoping to embark on your own wellness business, we hope this interview provides some food for thought!
WEHL: What does wellness mean to you?
CK: Wellness to me means finding a lovely balance of well-being in body, mind and soul. Taking care of these three elements within yourself provides health, joy and fulfillment which then can be shared with others.
WEHL: How does your relationship with your dog, Bubba the Bear, inspire wellness in your home?
CK: I don’t have children so sweet Bubba is the one that I shower with sweet talk and loads of love. I can imagine that in the same way a mother wants to take care of her children in the best and healthiest way possible, a bit of that philosophy is showered on to Bubba in his routine, his diet and his lifestyle. Many years ago Bubs became very sick and really struggled to bounce back from his illness. It was a challenging time and was awful to see him in such a state. I took him to the vet again and again, refusing to take no for an answer, and finally as a last ditch attempt to try and get rid of me the vet advised that we change his diet. I took her suggestion and within a week he was better than his old self – full of energy, get up and go. It was unbelievable watching the change in front of my own eyes and that really drove home the point that you are what you eat. It inspired dietary changes in my life as well…all for the better. And the vet, lucky her, didn’t see us again until it was time for his annual exam! 😉
Bubs is almost 15 and though he is always up for his walk, his outings these days are little and often (and full of sniffs) as opposed to the long, intense power walks we used to have for exercise. I feel a bit guilty leaving him for those power walks so I have also been inspired to change my exercise routine and have traded out some power walks with an at home yoga practice so that we can be together while I work out. He listens to my huffs and my puffs from the mat while he rests and I have to say that the change in routine and transition to yoga has made me a stronger person both physically and emotionally. My ability to be flexible, again both physically and in life has also increased dramatically. It has shown me that growing older doesn’t mean the end of being active, it just means adapting your routine to find a balance that is right for your body. He inspired this change in me as well and I am better for it.
The relationship between dogs and their humans is symbiotic and that works very well when wellness is at the forefront of our lives. It benefits all — two- and four-legs.
WEHL: Having worked as a natural and therapeutic chef, what was your experience like when adapting your cooking techniques to create wellness-focused dog biscuits?
CK: I had been a natural and therapeutic chef for several years in the States. When we moved to the UK I wanted to learn the ‘other’ side of cooking and worked as a pastry chef at a hotel in London. I loved it but realised that I found great meaning in the nutritional side of cooking and in helping people through their diets. While I was doing the pastry thing I started baking biscuits for Bubba at home, using my nutritional knowledge to try and fill the need I had for providing people (and dogs) with wellness based food. Since Bubs eats almost anything I was able to experiment by adding ingredients into my recipes that boosted the nutritional quality of his treats. Instead of salt I added seaweed, instead of molasses I added apple and beetroot and I made sure to include his most favourite ingredient – carrots – into a biscuit because I knew he would love it. He ate it all with pleasure which prompted me to keep going in terms of trying new ingredients. It was all a grand experiment with many trials and errors. I ate and trialed them along the way because I only wanted to use ingredients that humans could eat as well. For me that is part of Wellness for Dogs – high quality ingredients for the loves of our lives, good enough for all of us to eat. In fact, if my husband comes home saying his stomach doesn’t feel well I give him a couple of Digest Best biscuits and he eats them…usually with great success.
WEHL: What’s your most popular flavour of dog biscuit?
CK: It is very funny, because at every show I do there is always a clear winner of what has sold best that day. Each show has been different, however so overall I would say they are equal sellers which is really interesting and really fun.
WEHL: What do you find most rewarding about your business?
CK: There is something so rewarding in transforming an idea into a product. I loved the creative process of that creation, from the kitchen experimentation to the packaging and branding ideas. Watching your vision turn into something that goes into stores and into people’s homes is incredibly rewarding for me to experience. I also love that what we created has been done with the welfare and health of animals in mind. I love that we are a cruelty free product and I love that these biscuits have been created with the intention of Wellness for Dogs in mind. I never hesitate selling the product because I believe so strongly in the ethos and intention of why it has been created. Seeing a dog eat our biscuits with happiness and enthusiasm gives me great reward because I know it is all good, good stuff.
WEHL: Do you have any advice for someone who’s interested in starting a wellness-related business?
CK: Starting any business is a long and winding road that has its ups and its downs. It is challenging, it is fraught with many roadblocks and it takes persistence and constant perseverance. On the days when I am feeling especially challenged, I have to remind myself that the product I have created was done so to bring wellness and goodness into dogs’ lives. This idea is something that is very important to me and provides me with great satisfaction at the end of the day. It is an intention, that happens to be wellness-based, which spurs me on to work harder, strive for more and to love what I talk about when I talk about business.
If you are interested in starting a wellness-related business because you are inspired to help others lead a wellness-based lifestyle, this will carry you through the rocky times and keep you focused on your vision and your end goals. If you are starting a wellness-related business because you think it is a quick road to riches or a sure thing, you may want to reconsider your motivations and find a business that really suits your passions. You must find your fire within the wellness category because it will consume your days and your nights and be much of what you talk about on a day to day basis. It needs to fire you up so you can spread that enthusiasm to others in order to sell the product. Believe and love your product, especially if it is wellness-related!
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