Interview with Daisy's Doggy Deli

Long time, no interview! I loved this series, and based on feedback, you guys did too! I have decided to bring it back so that we can all learn things about amazing, local businesses.

This month I am interviewing Suzanne who is the mastermind behind Daisy's Doggy Deli. Daisy's Doggy Deli is a dog treat company based in Auckland, New Zealand. Suzanne has made her business around creating natural, healthy treats for dogs without the use of strange ingredients or preservatives. She makes a range of meaty treats that are acceptable for raw-fed dogs to eat, as well as baked cookies. Suzanne is so behind her product, and wants to make the very best for the dogs she feeds that she even sent her products down to Massey University for them to test. They worked together to get a perfect product that lasts a decent amount of time, without the preservatives traditionally seen in dog food, as well as maintaining the top nutritional stats.

I first heard about Daisy's Doggy Deli at the start of this year when Suzanne approached me to trial some of her treats. I jumped on board, not only because Daisy was in the name, but because her natural treats and approach to dog food really inspired me. We got these treats, reviewed them and Diego loved them so much we had to get more. Since then I have re-purchased their treats a few times for Diego, but also for my mother and sister to use with their pooches. I recently purchased a new batch of treats and since I last reviewed the products, she has made them even better! The Chicken & Turmeric Sausages smell amazing, and really grabbed Diego's attention. Even I wanted to eat them and I don't eat meat! Then the beef jerky has been dried perfectly! It is a nice, thin piece of jerky that is easy to tear into smaller pieces, but is not brittle in the slightest. It is such an amazing jerky and I don't think I will ever be able to use 'pet shop' jerky again.

I asked Suzanne a few questions about Daisy, the beautiful dog behind the business, as well as learning more about Daisy's Doggy Deli...

What made you chose Daisy out of all the dogs available?
We adopted Daisy through Paws 4 Life. I was searching online for a rescue pup who was good with chickens and Daisy was being fostered on a farm with free range chickens. I took one look at her photo and fell in love. Next thing you know we’re driving down to Gordonton (near Hamilton) for our meet and greet. It was love at first sight.

How has she been since you rescued her?
I have to say Daisy is such an amazing pup. We really hit the jackpot with her. We've had a couple of homestays recently and even though she is having to share her humans, her beds, her space, her playground, she has never been anything other than completely welcoming.

She comes to farmers markets with us and tolerates humans, kids, dogs and puppies constantly coming up to her and asking for attention. Even at the end of one market a couple of months ago when a kid just came bounding up to her and man-handled her (before I could get there!) she didn't even flinch. Didn't growl or even give a warning sign of not happy.

She's smart, gentle, and so loyal and loving, and yet strong and funny and cheeky all at the same time. She'll be 2 next month but sometimes she acts like she's old before her time! People are always amazed at how calm she is... except when she's destroying stuff! Whoever dumped her and left her for dead didn't deserve her anyway.

Why did you start Daisy's Doggy Deli?
Daisy is very food orientated. We started going to obedience school and she was getting through a fair amount of treats, I just started looking at ingredients and when I couldn’t pronounce half of them I started really looking into ingredients. I also started to research raw fed diets and knew I wanted to get her off cooked dog roll and kibble. But after the switch there weren’t any raw fed dog treats available so I started making my own. And from there the Deli just grew!

What makes you stand out from other dog treat companies in New Zealand?
Good question! Perhaps my passion for good, wholesome treats that just haven’t been pumped full of chemicals? Or the ingredients I use? I will get a really nice piece of topside beef, slice it into jerky and whatever is left over is our Sunday lunch! The meat is that good! Or perhaps it’s just that I want the absolute best for Daisy, and I love sharing her treats with other pampered pooches.

If you could reduce your stock to one product, which one would you choose? 
Good question!! Can I have two answers? For my cookie range with would be the sardine oatcakes. I love making those! For my raw fed range it would be the chicken & turmeric sausages. Dogs seem to go mad for them and I just love how simple and clean and healthy they are.

Tell us about what you believe to be the main misconception in dog nutrition.
I think big dog food companies have used clever marketing tactics to sell us a range of products that our dogs just don’t need. I won’t give Daisy dental sticks for example. Any ‘treat’ that lists over 20 unpronounceable ingredients and has a shelf life of 3+ years can’t be good for our fur babies.

How do you think we can change the general populations opinion on dog nutrition?
Most of the people that I talk to are very aware of their dogs’ diets and do their very best to feed nutritional balanced meals. I think rather we need to change the dog food manufacturers’ opinions on what is acceptable to feed our dogs.

Where do you see Daisy's Doggy Deli in the next five years?
Our long term dream and goal is to move to the country, to a nice house with some land. Just a couple of acres nothing too flash! There we would run Daisy’s Farmstay where dogs can stay with us while their humans go on holiday. There would be a little shop to sell our Doggy Deli treats out of. Once we are all set up then I would like to foster rescue dogs until they find their forever home. I’d also like to set up a chicken sanctuary. I’d have to keep the two areas separate! And of course finally adopt a little sister for Daisy.

Will Daisy's little sister be another rescue?
Definitely yes. I absolutely love all dogs, but I want to do as much as I can for rescue pups who deserve the best life. I imagine once we get our foster home set up there will be a few foster fails so she might end up with more than one little sister!

What is the biggest achievement you have had since starting the Deli?
We will be one year old in October which seems to be quite an achievement in itself! There is so much to learn and there is so much hard work goes in behind the scenes which I never really appreciated until I actually started the Deli.

We are also expanding the dog sitting side of the business, which includes day stays, adventure walks and overnight stays. This is what we will build on over the next two years working towards our long term goal of the farmstay, a foster home and chicken sanctuary.

Would you change anything that you have done since starting the business?
Yes I wish hadn’t dropped my phone a million times! Because now the lens on my camera is cracked and I can’t take any decent photos whilst out and about!! Must get that fixed really.

What would you say to someone wanting to start a pet-based business?
Although it's a huge market (according to Stuff we spend $800 million a year on our dogs alone!) there are a lot of businesses out there and it pays to do your research into what people and their fur babies want and need. Also be prepared to put in *a lot* of hours... I'm almost one year in and still working 12-15 hour days, 7 days a week.


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