Mother and daughter, Jill and Amelia, make thoughtful and contentious dog treats. “Amelia & Holly’s Compassionately Crafted Canine Treats” were created out of a desire to give their family rescue dog, Holly, something they felt good about giving her and that she loved, too. When the family first got Holly in 2008, they discovered she had sensitivities to meat-based treats. After searching for alternative treats for her, they were dismayed by lengthy lists of ingredients they couldn’t pronounce, didn’t feel dogs needed, and weren’t sure of where they were sourced. Jill and Amelia didn’t begin the actual idea for the company until 2013. At this time, Jill researched the market, competition, and began testing recipes. They opened their online store doors on National Dog Day, August 26, 2016.
Their logo was inspired by a picture Jill’s husband took when Amelia and Holly first met. Holly was almost four then and Amelia was two and a half years old. Amelia’s eyes were closed and her mouth open in every picture-she was so elated, full of joy with having Holly in her life. “Compassionately Crafted Canine Treats” became their slogan because it captured Amelia’s love of Holly and all dogs, and their desire to do things differently for pooches, people, and the planet.
Amelia and Holly’s strives to be different by focusing on three main aspects:
* Organic Fields to Fido concept: when in season, 8 of 11 ingredients of the 4 flavors are sourced from Minnesota organic-certified farms.
* Small carbon pawprint: they use compostable packaging, parchment paper, shipping peanuts from a Minneapolis company, and they compost all vegetable and herb discards.
* Philanthropuppy: they give quarterly a percentage of profits and treats to non-profit organizations.
The four products available are: P.B. Punk (peanut butter, pumpkin), Tangled Pup in Blue (blueberry, sweet potato), Bark up the Right Tree (apples, carrots, pumpkin), and Kiss Me, Canine (mint, parsley, butternut squash). There is also a novelty treat in P.B. Punk flavor: Minnesopaw Love, which they have named Minnesopaw Pride during the month of June for Pride Month.
The treats use all organic, vegan, gluten/grain free, and locally/USA sourced ingredients. The products are baked and dehydrated to last 6 months.
As for the creative process, Jill recently resigned from teaching Communication at the college level after 22 years, to pursue this business full-time. While this business might at first seem like a giant leap away from an academic/teaching background, it really brings forth Jill’s strengths in interpersonal communication/connecting with customers, research, and creativity. Jill comes from a very creative family: most are creative writers-poets, non-fiction, and screen writers. She very much enjoys creating interesting and unique treat names, such as Tangled Pup in Blue-her homage to Bob Dylan; and business features, such as Organic Fields to Fido-her play on the farm to table concept. Amelia and her 5-year-old brother Otto join Jill in this process. Amelia helped shape the Bark up the Right tree name, and Otto wants to craft “Hollypops”-canine lollipops. This family has many unique concepts in store for the next few years regarding treat ideas, ingredients, and names.
The creative process is also found in the recipes and in the making of the treats. Jill researched recipes, but didn’t find many that were exclusively vegan, gluten and grain free. She experimented for almost 2 years to get the current recipes how they are now. Jill admittedly made many failed batches that were too chalky tasting or too sticky and difficult to form, roll out, cut into shapes. She would compost them, though, so not a total loss. Jill also knew she wanted the blueberries, herbs, and apple chunks and carrots to be visible in the treats. She wanted to feature the delicious organic produce/herbs.
Jill never thought of dog treats in an artisanal way prior to doing this, but she recently read that artisan dog treats are starting to surface in the industry. This focus hasn’t taken hold fully yet, but, similar to the Good Food Boom or Movement, many dog owners want something more in the treats they give their beloved dog. Jill doesn’t mean decorated treats with sugary frostings and sprinkles. With recent scares regarding dogs getting sick and even dying due to tainted treats, many dog owners want thought and consideration put into the ingredients and making of the treats. They want to know, too, where the ingredients are sourced.
Jill finds it very satisfying to create a treat that wasn’t mass produced, but crafted with local ingredients, an incredible amount of time and compassion, and in small batches. She take great joy when customers show their appreciation for her work through an e-mail, review, video or picture of their dog, and/or repeat sale. These gestures make the drives to the farms, long hours of cutting the herbs and produce, rolling of the dough, hand cutting each treat, and baking and dehydrating them worth it.
Amelia and Holly’s Compassionately Crafted Canine Treats are a hit at Minnesota Makers. We invite you to stop by to grab a bag and treat your pup!