Meet the Maker is a new blog series on The Dapple featuring Q&As with small businesses, creatives, and makers who are crafting unique products for dogs and dog lovers. Know someone we should include? Email us at email@example.com.
Today on Meet the Maker, we're chatting with Jen Mello from Spotted Dog Bakery. We're obsessed with her adorable canine cakes and treats. We quizzed Jen about life with her three miniature dachshunds (Butters, Noodle, and Havarti) and tips for would-be pup chefs.
What inspired you to start Spotted Dog Bakery?
I was inspired to start Spotted Dog Bakery when I realized that I had this skill set that fit perfectly with an under-served market. I worked in interior design when I was younger, and from there moved into bakery management. Our first pup, Havarti, came into our lives somewhere in between, and starting a dog bakery is some strange cross-section of everything I loved about the last 15 years of my life. People love their pups, and there wasn’t anyone producing dog cakes that had a fresh modern feel to them…so I decided I would do that!
What's your process like for developing a dog-friendly recipe?
We always want to start with something we know dogs love, and even though what we bake is a treat, we want it to be as healthy as possible for your pup. That means we include as many whole fruits or vegetables as possible, and whole grains. Our PB + Sweet Potato starts with whole sweet potato that we puree. We peel bananas for the Banana + Carob, chop spinach and parsley for the Sweet Greens, and fold whole blueberries into the Blueberry Whole Wheat. All the coloring we use in our icing is natural as well. Essentially everything is as minimally processed and sweetened as possible to still end up with cake at the end of the day.
What’s your favorite item you sell?
I’m not sure I have a favorite item, but I just adore anything with our sprinkles. We make the sprinkles in house…most sprinkles are pure sugar, but these are yogurt based and healthy!
Any tips for pet parents looking to bake for their pups?
If you decide you want to bake for your dog, avoid recipes that include processed sugar and instead sneak in healthy stuff. Carrots, greens, berries… all of that adds nutritional value to the cake and your dog won’t even know it’s there.
What's your favorite cake you've ever baked?
I’d say my favorite cake to date was a custom rainbow version of our Sprinkles Cake. The client was great to work with, and she knew she wanted something colorful, and I just love how it came out!
Any exciting upcoming plans for Spotted Dog Bakery?
Yes! In the near future, we plan to expand on some of our most popular cake designs. We’re also going to add some fun options to our treat collection this summer and have longer term goals that include a healthy line of meat and veggie-based treats that are appropriate for daily feeding.
What's the most rewarding part of your work?
I squeal every single time I get to see photos of pups enjoying their cakes. That’s what we’re really making here. That memory of how excited they get and how cute they look whether they are timid little nibblers or epic cake smashers—we want to help you create a moment with your dog that you’ll remember forever. It’s a special thing to be a part of!