The Baldwins take a family approach to dog treat business
Photos by Jamie Alexander
The Baldwin family created Luv My Pup Bakery last summer, a home-based business specializing in gourmet dog treats made of natural ingredients. The treats are available at The Owensboro Regional Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings or their Facebook page, @Luvmypupbakery.
Heather is an occupational therapist for Daviess County Schools, while her husband, Bruce, is a visual art teacher at Meadow Lands Elementary. Heather said she is always searching for opportunities to convert hobbies into extra money and thought the dog treat business would create the perfect family venture for her, Bruce, and their second-grade son Maddox.
“I was looking up recipes online for dog treats for our pup and saw an advertisement for a dog treat business,” Heather said. “I have worked side jobs within my profession for our family, but this was something that would provide our family extra money and be a family activity without me working outside the home.”
Heather began researching the industry, crafted a business plan, and started discussions with Maddox and Bruce about having a business that involved the entire family. Heather and Bruce also viewed it as the perfect opportunity to show the value of hard work and entrepreneurial and financial skills.
“We all love dogs, and Bruce and Maddox were excited to be involved, so it was an easy decision,” she said. “We thought this was a great way to show Maddox what hard work looks like, how to start something on your own, and how to be an entrepreneur.”
Heather said Maddox has a firm grasp on how to spend money, but he’s still acquiring a taste for saving and giving. Maddox said he finds the most joy in preparing bags for people at the market and packing the treats for delivery.
“Mom had the idea, and it was something fun for all of us. Dad sometimes does stuff, Mom works a lot, and I’m about medium,” Maddox said. “We make good treats for dogs. I like to give lots of our treats to my dog, Meena, but Mom says we need treats for other dogs too.”
Luv My Pup Bakery treats are free of preservatives or dyes and feature the freshest ingredients. Heather said the family pours lots of love into the goodies that range from peanut butter biscuits, iced peanut butter cookies, and apple waffles to flavored muffins, cinnamon donuts, and pup pops.
The bakery provides grain-free treat options for dogs with grain allergies. They also offer a birthday basket with a small cake and a few other treats to help celebrate each dog’s special day.
“All of our recipes and ingredients go through the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and have a guaranteed analysis, which is available on our Facebook page and at the market,” Heather said. “We follow the state’s guidelines for dog treats and feel it’s important for customers to know what goes in the treats they purchase.”
Consumers and their pups can also indulge in seasonal treats like pumpkin spice in the fall and stocking stuffers at Christmas time.
Bruce assists with baking, helps at the market, and provides sound business advice, while Heather handles most of the baking, ordering, bookkeeping, and selling. Maddox goes through phases where he’s less motivated to help, but his parents constantly remind him that he only gets paid for work days.
Heather said it’s always insightful to hear Maddox’s ideas, one of which was a sizable bone-shaped sign to capture shoppers’ attention at the Farmers’ Market. She added that as he ages, she hopes to involve him and his creative nature in all aspects of the business.
The family brainstormed for several days on the name, having some good laughs in the process.
“Ultimately, we wanted a name that told people what we were about,” Heather said. “A dog treat bakery that said what we feel and know so many others feel about their pets, ‘I love my dog(s),’ so Luv My Pup Bakery it became.”
The treats are available at the Owensboro Regional Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. during the season and all year round on Facebook or via email at [email protected] Heather added that their Facebook page is the best way to stay up to date on all things Luv My Pup.
“Come see my mom at the farmers’ market and buy your dog a treat,” Maddox said. “Our dog Meena loves our treats – she is always begging for one when mom cooks them.”