Cleverly designed dog treats to pamper any pup by Scott Rose
Kool Dog Kafe (www.kooldogkafe.com) has been making a splash of late in the dog-eat-dog world of specialty treats for pups. They say that every well-catered-to canine remembers the first Kool Dog Kafe treat it ever had the privilege to consume. The only hazards in buying the company's healthful and imaginative goodies for dogs is that you'll cave to the temptation to eat them yourself, and that you'll never get your dog to eat anything else. I interviewed Kool Dog's Chris Arvay about these eye-popping, tongue-hanging-out scrumptious goodies.
Who designs Kool Dog treats?
The process is mostly a team collaborative event which starts with Kerry King, who is one of the original founders and creative energies behind developing and creating the Kool Dog Kafe treats. She began designing and baking dog treats in her California kitchen in 1999 using a rolling pin, a tiny mixer and her small home oven. Eventually she moved the business to a large state of the art production facility in Albuquerque, NM. After the initial treat size, shape, color, flavor and theme is designed for each cookie, it goes through several rounds of revisions with input from the entire design team. We get ideas and suggestions from our customers and we involve the entire Kool Dog Kafe staff by having events such as treat design contests.
What are the inspirations for the designs?
Inspiration comes from many places; we do a lot of things we love or think are fun. We try to give our treats a theme such as the holiday, wedding, birthday or season. We can be as creative and have as much fun with them as we want!
How many different designs do you add each season?
We usually develop a dozen or so design options each season, with only a handful making the final round of approval for production.
Please tell me about your holiday-themed treats.
There is a lot of excitement around here when it comes to our holiday-themed treats; our biggest challenge is narrowing down the selection! We like to do fun, unique designs from our simple Christmas light bulb to the intricacy of our snowflakes. We take our designs and find ways to make them come to life, like our Yamaka puppy which was quite a hit this past season. As a matter of fact, we are designing now for the Christmas holiday in preparation to meet the increasing demand for our treats.
Please tell me about the ingredients of your various treats.
We always strive to create a product that is not just delicious to all dogs, but healthy at the same time. Our ingredient vendors have the highest levels of quality control for all their products, and they buy only from US growers. We purchase from the same ingredient suppliers that supply local human bakeries and restaurants. Two of our most popular flavor ingredients are cinnamon and peanut butter, especially when hand dipped in our delicious carob and yogurt flavors. We always try to have one of those flavor combinations when introducing new treats, as they are so well-liked. By dogs, of course.
What will people find on the Kool Stuff page of your website?
We have the "anatomy of a gourmet bone" as well as fun and easy to make at home dog treat recipes. Recently we launched Kool Video Productions where you can see "The Perfect Pretzel" our latest feature which allows the viewer to follow the creative process of the perfect kool dog kafe pretzel treat from beginning to end.
Kool Dog Kafe has a monthly photo contest, doesn't it?
Yes, we love to showcase our customers' kool dogs, and we especially feature photos submitted of dogs enjoying our treats or birthday cakes. We select a winner each month; they receive a free Kool Dog treats sampler.
How long should customers expect to wait between placing an order and receiving the shipment?
Just like your local bakery, we bake your treats fresh for your order to give you the best quality treats upon arrival. Upon receipt, all retail customer orders are processed within 2 business days (Mon-Friday). Customers will then receive an email with their tracking number once their order is shipped. We ship via Fed Ex from New Mexico; estimated shipping time is between 2-4 business days, depending on their specific location.
If somebody owns a retail store, will you sell Kool Dog Kafe products to them wholesale?
Yes, we sell wholesale to hundreds of retail locations across the US and Internationally including England, Australia, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Canada, etc. We don't currently have a list of all retail outlets carrying Kool Dog products, but customers can email us to find a store in their area.
Please tell me about your Kool Treat Club.
The Treat of the Month Club is one of our most exciting offerings! There are two plans; $19.99 per month for 12 months and $21.99 per month for six months. Each month, we put together a selection of delicious treats, themed for the particular month. So pet parents and their dogs receive a new Kool Dog Kafe surprise every month. Regular customers like not having to reorder all the time. 12 month club members get a free bonus of a Birthday Cake for their doggie.
Does Kool Dog Kafe have taste testers for new treats?
Our headquarter treat testers are Chloe, a golden retriever, Kona, a chocolate lab, Zack and Zoe, pugs. We also have a treat tester on the West Coast, Joey, a shepherd/chow mix and a treat tester on the East Coast, Molly, a Wheaton terrier. Between the six of them we have a pretty good idea of what a "good treat" should be! There is some serious quality control on that panel.
Do you have any cute anecdotes about dogs and Kool Dog Kafe treats?
Recently, a retail customer ordered custom doggie cupcakes for her wedding in June 2007. She wanted to include her dog in wedding so they gave doggie cupcakes as party favors for her guests' dogs, from her dog. It was an Irish themed wedding so we did a large quantity of custom green and white cupcakes with the couple's initials and four leaf clover decorations.
A touching and favorite story concerns one of our canine customers, a 5 year old Airedale. Nine months ago, his sister passed away and as a result he became heartbroken and disturbed, and unable to eat any normal dog food. His parents have to hand feed him selected organic foods, and even that's been difficult. But somehow, our treats make him happy. He loves licking off the icings first before eating the entire biscuit. So his parents keep plenty Kool Dog Kafe treats around the house.
Please tell me about exciting upcoming events and product launches.
We are preparing to introduce our expanded full line of birthday specific treats. Our dog birthday cakes have been very popular since the beginning with our customers constantly clamoring for more options for indulging their four legged kids. The birthday line will include cupcakes, assorted treats, birthday bones, and of course, birthday cakes. In addition, as we enter the wedding season, we are announcing the introduction of the first of its kind and unique all new doggie wedding line! As dog weddings continue to gain in popularity, the happy couple needs a true wedding cake as well as wedding cookies to give their guests as wedding favors. Our new line of gourmet dog wedding cookies will take care of all their needs.
What else should people know about the Kool Dog Kafe?
We take great pride in both the quality of our product and the level of customer service we provide. Ensuring that our customers are happy is our number one priority. We truly do not put out any products that we do not first feed our dogs! If our dogs don't like it then it's back to the drawing board - and they really are picky taste testers.
We are also very conscious of the growing industry trends and customers' requests. We continue to innovate with more wheat/corn free treats, organic treats and products for special needs animals. And yes, we are looking at expansion with products for cats too. We have fun at what we do and feel that it shows in our product, people and over all business. We are looking forward to many more years of new and exciting treats and unique products!