Mimi’s Frozen Treats: Joanne Meyer, Beacon, NY
Whether rewarding good behavior or teaching a dog new tricks, treats are a staple in every pet owner’s household. Chief canine confectioner Joanne Meyer creates healthy home-made cat and doggie ice cream (made for and inspired by her dog Mimi) using human-grade, all-natural ingredients like cage-free eggs, yogurt, and peanut butter. The treats are flavored for maximum mutt appeal by the Culinary Institute of America-trained Joanne, who developed the ice cream between shifts at the L’Ermitage Beverly Hills hotel. Joanne figured that while your pooch wants to eat what you’re eating, you may want something they can’t have—chocolate. Community Capital’s small business loan enabled Joanne to purchase a food cart to sell her peanut butter-, banana-, carrot- and sweet potato-flavored doggie ice cream at fairs and festivals, on The Walkway over the Hudson, and create packaging for her all-natural brownies and chocolates delectably designed for human consumption.
How did you get into the business of treats for people and their pets?
When I was working for a Beverly Hills hotel I catered to a lot of specialty diets, guests who wanted gluten free food for wheat allergies or no nuts. I began to create and experiment with natural products for dogs and created a doggie ice cream for Mimi, a product that will taste good for people—but not as sweet as regular ice cream. Originally, the ice cream had no dairy, but after more research, I found that adding yogurt also gave dogs and cats needed calcium, protein and probiotics—good for digestion.
How did your business evolve?
I had worked at two Ritz Carltons and the L’Ermitage as a pastry chef and chocolatier over a period of 20 years. One day I took a bunch of my ice cream samples to the doggie beach in Huntington Beach and it got rave reviews. I moved back to New York, got a loan from Community Capital, and created a solar-powered ice cream cart to sell doggie ice cream for pets and chocolate-covered frozen bananas for their owners.
What did you wish you knew?
I wish I was a little more prepared on how to generate sales, how to best market the product as a nutritious treat for dogs and cats, and at the same time market my brownies and custom chocolate products—cakes and cookies—to caterers and special event planners. I might have been confusing my potential customers without focusing on either pets or people or appropriate marketing to explain that I carried both “people” and “dog/cat” treats.
Where can you purchase your products?
It’s best to contact me directly, although I do market at local dog parks in the Hudson Valley. I am hoping to continue to sell to local pet stores and dog groomers, and to individuals in six-packs. My pastries and chocolates are wholesaled to various caterers, and created for special events working directly with customers.
Contact Joanne/Mimi’s Frozen Treats on 845.820.2550, email@example.com.