Jackie Lovern began creating healthy dog treats based on her veterinarian’s suggestion that it was the best option for newly adopted Miniature Schnauzer, Sgt. Pepperoni. Never before having baked for either people or animals, Jackie headed straight to Google and started researching recipes.
Completing her online search, Jackie began baking and then experimenting, making substitutions along the way based on not only taste, but more importantly on what would provide the most beneficial health benefits. Her changes began with a recipe basic—flour.
Knowing that wheat could encourage allergies in some dogs, Jackie tested a variety of alternatives. In the end, she chose oat flour as the healthiest option with the best texture results. From there the discerning baker began evaluating oils to mix with the flour.
A few taste tests later, Jackie determined salmon oil was on the high side of healthy with no lingering aftertaste. She also made a commitment to omit all preservatives from her recipes, instead adding vitamin C and learning how to dehydrate the product as a natural means of lengthening its shelf life.
With the foundation of her recipe in place, Jackie fully unleashed her baker’s creativity by creating shapes and custom flavors for her healthy dog treats. She decided to start with a bite-sized triangle shape in a peanut butter flavor.
Sample-tasting until she found just the right natural peanut butter, Jackie formulated a recipe and baked her first batch of treats. She christened the original recipe Peanut Butter Goodness and shared them with family and friends for feedback. As it turned out, dogs loved the treats and owners loved the ingredients. She was a hit.
Encouraged by her small-scale success, Jackie expanded her test market. She went to work, hand-mixing hundreds of treats and packaging them for sale at a winter farmer’s market in her hometown of Buffalo, New York. With nothing more than a small table and a display of treats, Jackie was once again a hit as customers lined up and purchased every single box.
That sold out pattern repeated each week through the market’s season with a growing list of return customers asking for more. It was then Jackie realized her hobby of baking healthy dog treats was quickly becoming a business—one that needed a name.
Again, turning to family and friends, Jackie amassed a long list of names to consider. Her intent was to use something catchy that customers would remember. Ultimately, she settled on, Fetch! adding an exclamation point for fun.
With a company name and a growing client base of dog owners, Jackie was soon inspired to expand the Fetch! product line. She added bite-sized triangle shapes in flavors of Scrumptious Pumpkin and Carob Chip Delight along with Peanut Butter Dipped Bones to sell alongside her popular Peanut Butter Goodness at farmer’s markets and festivals across Western New York.
Soon store owners and merchants began inquiring about Fetch! products and suddenly Jackie’s home-based business was demanding more than she could deliver. That’s when a date with a man by the name of John Griveas transformed both her life and her career.
Jackie and John had been chatting for a while online and finally decided to meet at a local lawn fete. As it turned out, their first date was pretty perfect and the two have been inseparable since.
Jackie describes John as, “…smart and immediately supportive of my business.” That’s what led her to eventually offer him a company partnership with title of vice-president. The company realignment led to John taking full responsibilities for the business marketing as well as the website and social media outreach, allowing Jackie to focus solely on her passion for creating healthy dog treats.
When Jackie reflects on the company’s success, she talks about her passion for animals and a lifelong connection with dogs. It’s what inspired her to take up this hobby-turned-business of researching and baking so that Sgt Pepperoni, and now all dogs, can enjoy healthy treats and lives.