November 19, 2017
When I launched Puppieware by Pawsome Doggie in March 2016, I knew that I wanted to sell our dog shape and dog theme cake pans to dog lovers. I also knew that I wanted to sell products that would complement them and meet a need. That need would be a pet owner's desire to celebrate their dog's birthday each year. Pretty quickly, I knew I wanted to sell Puppy Cake mix.
In case you haven't yet had the chance to buy Puppy Cake mix to make your dog a birthday cake, let me tell you that my dogs love it. Each box of Puppy Cake dog cake mix comes with enough cake mix to fill our dog bone cake pan or the dachshund shape cake pan. The box also includes powdered yogurt flavor "frosting."
Puppy Cake dog birthday cake mix is made with human-grade and dog-safe ingredients. Puppieware by Pawsome Doggie stocks four flavors--peanut butter, carob and banana, and then pumpkin seasonally. My dogs Oscar and Sadie have a favorite flavor. It is banana Puppy Cake, which we frost with peanut butter.
I know lots of other dogs love Puppy Cake because we are selling hundreds of boxes of Puppy Cake each month. Most of these people are buying a box of cake mix with our best-selling dog bone cake pan.
It's probably not surprising to learn that the person behind Puppy Cake is a dog lover like myself. In fact, it's a female dog lover just like myself. What you may not realize is how accomplished Puppy Cake founder Kelly Costello actually is. Here are some details about her.
Kelly Costello, who holds a degree in international business from Grove City College, began the business just after her 22nd birthday.
Where did the idea for Puppy Cake come from?
"I was working on a client’s (Pillsbury) advertising material," she recalls. "While looking at those old cake mix advertisements, I thought, 'Wouldn’t it be great if they made that for dogs?' and that was the light bulb moment!"
Wanting to create a product so dog owners could make a birthday cake for their dog made perfect sense--Costello owns four dogs (see pic below). They are Pita, a Jack Russell /Poodle Mix, Gary, a Boston Terrier/Pomeranian, Blenda, a Blue Heeler/Beagle/Boxer, and Finn, a Blue Heeler/Beagle/Boxer. She also has two cats.
While Costello, based in the Pittsburgh area, launched the company in 2007, her big break came in 2012. That's when Costello and Puppy Cake appeared on Season 3 of the wildly popular ABC television show "Shark Tank."
She did not apply to be on "Shark Tank." They came to her. "The executive producer contacted the Puppy Cake website and asked to speak with me," Costello recalls of that first "interview" with the show. "Then I was fast tracked. Six weeks after that phone call, I was standing in the Shark Tank studio in Los Angeles."
During her taping Costello was asking for a $50,000 investment for a 25 percent stake in her company. Unfortunately, none of the sharks bit, not even the notorious dog lover Robert Herjavec. However, the experience was life changing.
"While I didn't get a deal, the exposure was so great," she says. "In the month the episode aired, Puppy Cake’s sales were higher than the entire year prior."
Within a year Puppy Cake's product line went from just three items to 16! Sales exploded and Costello went from working out of her home to a 3,000 square foot warehouse to recently purchasing a 5,400 square foot facility! Not surprisingly, peanut butter flavor Puppy Cake mix is that company's bestseller, too. She describes her products as people food for dogs.
Twice Puppy Cake products have picked up "New Product Showcase-Natural Pet" awards at the Global Pet Expo. Global Pet Expo is the largest pet trade show in the world.
I got the chance to meet Costello at Global Pet Expo 2017. I'd attended with the hope of finding products we could sell on our store to complement the products we are already selling. In fact, in future blog posts, I will be profiling three other companies we met at Global Pet Expo and whose dog-friendly products we are now selling. In case you're wondering, I'll give you a hint and a sneak peek: you'll find those products in the Doggie Housewares and Dog Sports Gear categories.
But back to Puppy Cake--I'm so glad I got to meet Kelly Costello in person. I still believe that Puppy Cake is the perfect complement to our dog cake pans. Clearly customers do, too, with how popular the combination is.
Since we introduced our bigger, dog breed cake pans, people are buying Puppy Cake to use with them, too. However, I've since learned that if you do want to make a bigger dog cake in those pans, you really need to buy two boxes of Puppy Cake mix.
So if you're interested in turning our pit bull, boxer, Boston terrier, French bulldog or Corgi cake pans into a puppy cake pan, make sure you pick up two boxes of the same flavor. Use the discount code PUPPYCAKE to save 10% when you buy two or more boxes of Puppy Cake dog birthday cake mix.
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