Today we’d like to introduce you to Nikita Hemani and Saurabh Rao.
Nikita and Saurabh, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
The idea of Simba’s Barkery began in 2012 when we started volunteering with a local dog rescue as foster parents. The dogs that come into the program are unfortunately not always the healthiest. With their unique personalities came a unique set of challenges such as allergies and dietary restrictions. We started reading ingredients on treat bags and dog food that led us to a realization that most commercialized pet products are packed with artificial flavorings, preservatives, etc. all leading to serious medical conditions in pets.
Since then we started baking treats for all our dogs at home. We did research on what is good for the dog and what is harmful and developed treats that are both healthy and tasty. In 2016, we finally decided it was time to share the love and we opened Simba’s Barkery. The bakery is named after our little pup, Simba. We rescued him from the DFW Labrador Rescue in 2015. Simba is not only the mascot for the business but also our official ‘lab’ taster. All treats are approved by him before they are sold.
The pet food industry has unfortunately evolved into packing sub-quality food into attractive packaging. Our approach is quite the opposite. We want to be at the forefront of a movement to bring simple, healthy and nutritional dog treats back to our four-legged pals.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
So far, our careers have been in the corporate world. We have been a small part of the puzzle but when you own your own business, it’s a different story. You are starting the business ground up and you are involved in all aspects of it from marketing, production, finance, etc. And in addition to all the back-end processes to make the business work, you have to build your brand and sell your product. You have to engage your customers. We knew starting a business was not easy, and the learning curve has been more challenging than we expected. But we are learning a lot on the way and it has been a rewarding journey so far.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Simba’s Barkery – what should we know?
Simba’s Barkery is not just another dog treat company. In addition to providing all-natural and preservative free treats, we want to give the dogs something more innovative like our Doggie Ale made with apples and strawberries, or signature blueberry pupcakes or our pupsicles. We source all our ingredients from local markets and use what is in season.
There are several dog owners in Dallas but we have noticed that there is a gap in dog-friendly events and gatherings. Hence, we came up with our #DogBar. The #DogBar is our pop-up store that serves up delicious dog delicacies. Customers can hire us to set-up our #DogBar for yappy hours, birthday pawties or any other dog-friendly events. We have bark-tenders that serve up treats prepared onsite like Pawberry Sundaes and Dog Beer Floats. We are partnering with bars, restaurants, and other venues to bring unique experiences to dog owners in the DFW area like wine and cheese tastings for both humans and pups!
Simba’s Barkery started because of our foster dogs and we strongly believe in giving back to the community. We started our “Lend a Paw” program where we partner with different rescues across DFW and donate a portion of our sales each month.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Simba’s Barkery is truly a family business and we couldn’t have done it without our family. When we started it was all-hands-on-deck and everyone pitched in to help us out. Whether that was making a customer delivery or helping with last minute packaging, they were ready to help wherever needed.
But there is one person who deserves a little extra credit and that is my mom, Bina. She has volunteered her time to help us keep up with increasing demand and we can think of expansion opportunities because of her input to Simba’s Barkery. We cannot thank her enough and hope that as we grow we can bring her on full time.
- Website: www.simbasbarkery.com
- Phone: 469-859-0799
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/simbasbarkery
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/thebarkerydfw
- Other: https://www.simbasbarkery.com/pages/dog-parties
Jenna Regan Photography, Haute Dog Photography