The story of Comfy Critters begins in the Kitchen in a small house in the suburbs of Logan, 30 minutes south of Brisbane and 30 minutes north of the Gold Coast. It was a winters day I stood in the kitchen wondering what to snack on. It was then my dog Bridget, a Koolie Papillion Cross, came in, sat and looked up at me wanting a treat. Sadly that day we were out of treats. I had been unemployed for a while at this point and money was getting tight, even with unemployment payments and family and friends helping where they can. Treats for humans and animals was becoming a luxury item.
I knew how to make treats for the human, but for the dogs I wasn’t sure what they can and can’t have. I began researching online about making healthy and inexpensive treats for dogs. It then dawned on me that I could do something with this. So with my basic kitchen appliances and the small oven I started to make batches of treats and testing them out on my two dogs. Although they are probably not the best test subjects as they will eat anything I give them. I started to find that the packet of treats I was getting from the supermarket, that has ingredients I could not even pronounce, was grossly marked up compared to the many containers of treats I had all over the kitchen. These original batches would not last long, usually going bad in a week or two even with being stored in air-tight containers and in some cases being refrigerated and frozen.
I began to wonder how best to preserve these treats. I did not want to be giving my two lots of treats as they would end up gaining weight, like their dad, or it would undo all the training as they think they will get treats anyway. I was looking at those ingredients that I could not pronounce and found that some are actually the preservative giving those store bought treats a long shelf life. I didn’t want to have to add ingredients like that so looked at natural alternatives and found that simply dehydrating the treats after cooking them gave them a much longer shelf life.
The next stage was to look at how I could market these treats. There are already many established brands out there and some really fantastic small businesses that do just what I was planning to do. The one thing they had that I did not was money. To make the test batches I was using my money set aside for groceries. The one thing I knew how to do was to make websites so I started making a website, setup a Facebook page and setup an Instagram account. I had no idea how I was going to use them, but I had them. I began to run a couple of campaigns on Facebook, being careful to make sure I didn’t spend much money. Things were slow to begin with the COVID pandemic looking like it was under some kind of control in Queensland, things began to open back up and I was able to attend two pet fairs in mid 2021 and sell some treats there. It was at that moment that I thought having a market stall to accompany the website would be a really good idea.
So in 2022, we started to attend some local markets around Logan, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Ipswich and Redlands areas with becoming regular stallholders are some of those markets. Maybe one day will will have a physical store with a play area for dogs to meet and greet while the fur parents do some shopping. We are not setting out to become a Pet Barn or anything but we want to focus on giving our human and animal customers the best quality items we can source at prices that are reasonable.