Dog lover turns passion into profit
It’s cliché to say Kim Robinson’s life has gone to the dogs, but it is true.
Robinson, 55, spent a majority of her professional life working as a graphics designer. But, in early 2017, her Columbus, Ohio employer was closing shop, forcing Robinson to reassess her future. Did she want to continue toiling in graphic design or try her hand at something new, she wondered. It wasn’t that she didn’t still enjoy graphic design, but soulful pondering fueled a desire to focus her energies on an entirely new pursuit.
“I wanted a new challenge that felt positive, enjoyable and which tapped into my combined love of baking and dogs.”
Then, it hit her.
“The notion of doing something of my own started taking over my thoughts. Then, when I realized I could try to marry my passion for pets and baking, I decided to go for it,” she says.
In September 2017, Broadway Biscuits was born.
While not all of Broadway Biscuits’ products are organic, Robinson says she “buys organic as often as possible.” She takes an extremely hands-on approach to her business, testing new recipes and yes, even tasting the finished product to ensure their taste, quality, and consistency.
Just three months later, Robinson sold her biscuits at a pop-up shop in a Columbus furniture store that caters to people seeking organic mattresses and all-natural furniture for their work and living spaces. “The response was so favorable I decided I was on to something. Dog lovers love to connect with people and products that are good for their beloved pets. As a lifetime dog lover, I know the special bond that develops between the owner and their animals,” she says.
While her Broadway Biscuits endeavor has proven quite successful in its first year, running the company has at least one distinct drawback. Because Robinson bakes her treats at home, she can not own a dog herself. While she finds that reality disconcerting, participating in farmer’s markets and other fairs, where people invariably bring their dogs, helps lighten her dismay at not owning a dog herself.
A huge positive of Broadway Biscuits being home-based is the fact that Robinson did not need to invest much in the business to get it started. While her bounty can still be handled by her home oven, she has invested in at least one pricey, new appliance: a top-quality food dehydrator. That appliance is used after the biscuits are baked to remove as much moisture as possible to extend their shelf life. According to Robinson, before she bought the dehydrator, treats would stay fresh for just a couple weeks. However, with the dehydrator’s assistance, she is confident her biscuits can be stored for at least three months.
With the dehydrator purchase, Robinson’s investment in her endeavor has reached “a couple thousand.” Other than her business cards and product packaging that helps Robinson reinforce her brand, everything else she purchased can be resold if needed. Even the company URL can be bought by the highest bidder if Robinson opts to go that route one day.
Meanwhile, Robinson says she has invested “thousands of hours researching recipes, cookie cutters and more.” She doesn’t mind, though, saying she enjoys devoting time to developing her business.
According to Robinson, the three best things about her entrepreneurial endeavor are that it is creative, allows her to be in total charge and she is able to create a product that injects joy into the lives of people and dogs. Another benefit, she says, is how the company has bolstered her ability to support herself.
An aspect of being an entrepreneur that Robinson both didn’t know about and didn’t realize she would enjoy is the networking involved with gaining visibility for her company. “I just didn’t really think about it but what is definitely part of the work is networking and meeting new people. I didn’t realize how fun and fulfilling that part would be,” she says.
An added bonus is her three children and longtime boyfriend contribute their time to help make Broadway Biscuits a successful family affair.
Her tip for women considering embarking on a new endeavor? “Don’t be afraid to try something new. If you fail, life goes on. Nothing terrible can happen. It is better to try and fail than not try at all,” she says.
Then, as if on cue, a timer signaling her latest batch of biscuits is ready to be removed from the oven rings, breaking our chatter. With that delectable scent wafting through the air, was this writer able to get past the fact these treats are really meant for canines to taste one for herself?
I apologize, but I can’t answer with my mouth full.
Tami Kamin Meyer is an Ohio attorney and freelance writer who owns three rescue dogs. She tweets as @girlwithapen.