Denise Bennett, environmental science teacher, enlightens students on the sciences of the earth and life. Her room is often adorned with maps, animal posters, and plant life galore. And now Bennett is letting her love of animals and the earth take her to a new horizon: Her own business.
Inspired by her dogs, Daisy Lane and Josey, environmental science teacher Denise Bennett set out on a personal mission to supply people with homemade organic dog treats at reasonable prices. She got her start back in the winter of 2011 while she was iced in by the harsh winter weather, with little to do and a few ingredients, she tried her hand at making homemade dog treats in her own oven using just whole wheat, honey, and blueberry, and it was on that day Bennett found her passion for baking treats. From there she began baking for her friends,neighbors, and of course, dogs as gifts. After a visit with her local vet she realized she could sell her treats.
“She [vet] began buying from me and providing them to her clients,” Bennett said. “They wanted more.”
Months after that first sale, Bennett decided to take the plunge and form Organic Barky Bites L.L.C. so she could take her operation to the next level, though this was not without its challenges.
“The big milestone was getting all the paperwork filled out for the Texas State Comptroller and setting up my business accounts to make sure Uncle Sam got his fair share of taxes.”
After the initial paperwork and tax forms, business is going smoothly as she currently sells at a Boopa’s Bagels Deli. As for future plans, she has stated she plans to go on-line soon for limited sales possibly starting in Jan./Feb and is even working in conjunction with a local Dallas dog park to help debut their upcoming location in Plano. Her creations have since expanded from whole wheat treat cookies to her special made yogurt-ice cream treats that dogs can even eat from a cone. You can follow updates on her business on various social medias such as Twitter (@bitesbarky), Facebook (@organicbarkybites), and Instagram (@organicbarkybites) or on her own website, www.organicbarkybites.com.
What separates Bennett’s dog treats from your run-of-the-mill store bought ones is mainly her 100% organic ingredients such as Oat, Buckwheat, and free-range eggs and beef that in her own words “I will never substitute… I’ve been known to run all over the metroplex to get what is needed.” With the advantages of her organic ingredients being that organic suppliers do not use toxic pesticides, GMO’s, require adequate animal welfare, and is less of an environmental pollutant.
While juggling being a teacher and a business owner can be grueling work, Bennett encourages other potential creators to follow their dreams.
“If you have the passion and the drive for what you want to do, go for it! No one can limit you except yourself, [but] know when to say no,” Bennett said.