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How the love of a dog led to the founding of a business

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This post originally appeared on the New Venture Accelerator newsroom.

Angela Steele combined her two favorite things when founding her new business. We’ve all heard that “Dogs are a man’s best friend.” In the case of Angela Steele, her dog was her new business’ best friend! When asked where she got the idea of starting her business, she pulled out a picture, pointed at it, and said “This was my inspiration.” In the picture was her dog, Fassoh.

It all began when Angela was working on her master’s degree in business. In one of her classes, she was told to create a new business entity. So, she decided to pursue an idea that would draw upon her two favorite things: her dog and her love of cooking. “Why not combine my two favorite things and create a dog treat?”, said Steele.

Angela had seen specialty dog treats in stores, but all of them contained a range of ingredients, many unhealthy, and most she hadn’t even heard of, much less know how to pronounce. That was just not acceptable for her fur baby. So, she set up in her friend’s kitchen and she started cooking. She tried ingredient after ingredient, recipe after recipe, until she found the perfect blend.  A healthy, organic, tasty treat.

Now it was time for a taste test!

Fassoh (nicknamed “Lil’ Luv”), would be the perfect test subject since he was an extremely picky eater. Sure enough, he devoured the treat immediately. From then on, anytime Angela would make more, he would “circle the kitchen like a shark”, said Steele. He craved these delicious and healthy goodies so much that Angela thought it was time to try them out on other dogs to see if they liked them just as much. And they did! They were a huge hit. So much so, that one of Angela’s friends who owned a boutique, started to sell them in her store, calling them “Lil’ Luv Dog Treats”.

While her treats were selling well, Angela had to take a step back and prioritize her 9-5 job.

As the weeks and months went by, she felt a constant tug to keep her business alive. She couldn’t give up on her dream. So, she decided to take a next step which was to display her product at Auburn City Market.

She did so with a fold up table and one borrowed chair.

As the other vendors began to set up, she noticed how big and fancy their tents and products looked. Angela began to pray, “Let me have one customer. If just one person buys my treats, I’ll be happy.” Soon enough, she had her first customer at which point she almost teared up. “That was the boost of encouragement I needed to continue pursuing my dream”, said Steele. That day, she ended up selling all the treats she brought.

As time went on, her dog treats were selling well, but Angela knew she wanted to be bigger. A friend had told her about the New Venture Accelerator, a place full of likeminded entrepreneurs and business leaders who could help her.

So, she went to the New Venture Accelerator for advice and counsel, and at their recommendation, she also connected with Caitlin Myers, Economic Development Manager for the City of Auburn for networking support.

“Once I met with Ward Swift, Lou Bifano, Jennifer Nay, and Caitlin, I knew there was no turning back.  I was so inspired by their belief in helping my small business succeed.”

On June 28, 2022 she officially registered her company as an LLC.

As she continues to build out her company, Angela decided to rename her product, “Good Treats”, and she has expanded her marketing channels to include her Facebook page and her Etsy account. She is selling steadily but is looking forward to growing her business significantly. Her dream is to one day be a household name. “I want to be your first choice for quality dog treats”.

“Dogs love unconditionally, so why not give them something that brings them as much joy as they bring to us?”, said Steele.

To learn more about Good Treats, contact Angela Steele at [email protected]

To learn more about the New Venture Accelerator, contact Lou Bifano at [email protected]