The Paw Grocer
What does The Paw Grocer do?
We freeze dry human grade Australian protein treats, which are biologically appropriate for both cats and dogs.
How long has The Paw Grocer been operating?
We will have been available online for two years in September 2022, but a lot of research went on behind the scenes for 12 months prior to launch.
Where are your customers based?
How many people do you currently employ?
Me. Myself and I
Why did you get into this particular business?
I was researching categories to expand into for an Amazon business I had in the US market and realised the huge opportunities that existed in the pet space.
I’m also a devoted dog mum, and I was frustrated by the lack of pure treats on the market.
What did you previously do for work before operating your current business?
As I mentioned, I had an online business on the Amazon platform in the US market. I was selling private label consumer electronics, such as wireless chargers and Bluetooth headphones when they were new to the market.
I used to travel to the enormous markets in Yiwu in China to source products. It was fun while it lasted, but the market soon became very over-crowded and I didn’t have any passion for the products I was selling.
Prior to that, I owned a Boost Juice franchise in Melbourne, and worked in publishing for many years in Sydney, which was great fun.
Where are your products made?
Our treats are sourced from Australian producers and freeze dried in a human grade facility in Tassie or Queensland.
What sustainability measures have you implemented at The Paw Grocer?
I’m constantly looking for opportunities to become a more sustainable business.
Our salmon bellies are considered a waste product, because it’s the part of the fish with the fin attached, which makes it super crunchy and the animals love them. The wing tips are also usually binned, but they’re one of our best sellers.
I’m also looking to partner with wholesale marketplaces for over-supplies of foods that may otherwise end up in landfill. I’ve had some interesting discussions with one group in particular, and we’re just waiting for the right product to come across the table.
We’re also very aware of the impact of our packaging. Our pouches are considered recyclable, but unfortunately our local councils don’t have the capability currently to separate the layers of the packs. There are compostable pouches coming onto the market, but to date, they’re not able to guarantee the integrity of the treats.
In the meantime, I’m pleased to say that we’re working with a supplier in Melbourne who is carbon-neutral and they’re continuously evolving their production processes to minimise and recycle waste, positively contributing to a circular economy.
What are customers most surprised to learn about The Paw Grocer?
I’m not sure there are many surprises about the business, but I know from feedback that they’re often pleasantly surprised when they open our pouches and see that the treats are, quite literally, a piece of unprocessed, 100 per cent protein!
They’re not shaped to look like a cute bone, and they’re not coloured. They remain raw, as freeze drying just removes the water content.
If you take a pocketful to the park, prepare to be the most popular person there…
What’s the funniest/strangest thing you’ve experienced in this business?
Pet parents often say they’d like to eat the salmon bellies themselves – I say “go for it, but cook it first… it’s Tassal salmon afterall!”.
A friend of my husband has said that he thinks the wing tips would be great with some salt and vinegar, and our accountant said that if there’s a zombie apocalypse, he’s heading to our place because he knows we have a huge stash of beautiful meat and fish products!
What pets do you currently share your life with?
Daisy the Labradoodle (aka Daise, Daisy Dog, the fury bullet, Princess) and Charlie the Cavoodle (aka Charlie Chops, Chopsy, Cha Cha, Charz). They’re both turning 10 this year but behave very much like their dear little puppy selves.
They’re quite literally my shadows. If they go to the hairdresser for three hours, I miss them. I’m quite pathetic.
If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?
A dog in our household! They’re adored and very much part of our family. To me, dogs are the most loyal and selfless animals in the world, and they’re funny with their own quirks and personalities.
I don’t have much experience with cats, as I’m very allergic unfortunately.
I think all animals should be treated with great kindness and respect.