EarthPup was founded by Lucy Cullen, an award-winning environmentalist, sustainability expert, and bonafide dog lover. Lucy talks about her journey from working in a restaurant to starting her pet food business and saving the earth by reducing food wastes.
How and when did you start this business? Please share your growth story.
I worked in the hospitality industry for 12 years and grew so frustrated with throwing out perfectly good food every day. Untouched fruit and vegetables, steaks, chicken… you name it! So, I decided to do something about it. I co-founded my first venture, Terus which helped restaurants reduce waste and money. We became the leading voice for waste reduction in the Canadian hospitality industry.
But that wasn’t enough. I wanted to do more to help address the food waste problem. When shopping for my dog, I noticed there were no threats on shelves that reflected my environmental values.
That’s how EarthPup was born! We make healthy dog treats from food that is usually sent to landfills. EarthPup launched in September 2019 and was in 50 stores within the first 6 months. We were growing quickly when the pandemic hit. Which was very challenging to navigate with a new business, and all our retailers had shut down. But we took the opportunity to focus on building a stronger and more resilient supply chain and support our retailers however we could.
We have stayed strong through the pandemic and to date, we have rescued over 1,300 pounds of food from going to landfills!
Tell us the products and services you offer.
Currently, we have two dog treat flavors, our Chicken Bone Broth and Beef Bone Broth recipes. Both are made with 81% plants and 45% upcycled ingredients. We are getting ready to launch some new products so please follow us at @earthpupco to find out when we launch!
What were the initial difficulties you faced?
One difficulty was the supply chain challenges. There was a period where we could not manufacture treats at all and were not sure how we were going to get through the pandemic. We are so grateful for our customers and partners who helped us to get through those months.
Another difficulty was seeing how challenging the pandemic was on our retailers and partners. It was heartbreaking at times.
How did you maneuver your business during 2020-2021? Kindly list a few learnings.
We took the past year as an opportunity to build back better. We pivoted our supply chain to be much stronger and designed new packaging which we will be launching before the end of 2021! It has certainly been challenging at times, but I’m so grateful to be where are.
There were many learnings from the past year! One is that we are more resilient than I ever imagined.
Something else I really came to understand was the importance of a strong supply chain that prioritizes local ingredients. I’m so grateful we learned that firsthand early in the growth of EarthPup.
How did you hear about Visa Canada’s She’s Next Grant Program?
A friend of mine saw the opportunity on social media and suggested we apply! I really wasn’t sure if we would get it but was shocked and delighted when I found out EarthPup was a recipient of Visa Canada’s She’s Next Grant Program.
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Kindly tell us about your plans for 2022.
For us, 2022 is all about growth! You can expect new products, new packaging, and a growing team. We are so excited to take our food waste impact to the next level and continue our mission to help address the food waste problem in Canada!
Any words of wisdom for young entrepreneurs?
- Seek advice from those who have done it before. Listen to their advice, even when it’s the feedback you don’t want to hear. Take it all into consideration and go with your gut. You got this.
- Follow the data as much as you can. It’s important to focus on the numbers. Market trends, customer feedback, etc.
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This Story is authored by Yugbodh, Onside Media, Toronto, Canada. If you have stories to share kindly email: – firstname.lastname@example.org