By Sunny Liu
Meg Cai started her pet bakery business because her dog Cookie is a vegetarian.
Now the 28-year-old shop owner said her Yorkshire terrier is the CEO of the booming home-based business! She has even designed a shirt for her dog that reads “Supaw Pet Bakery CEO”.
Ms Cai started baking when she could not find a vegetarian birthday cake for Cookie’s fifth birthday.
Now, everyday, dozens of cakes and treats come out from her small CBD apartment kitchen for customers all over Australia.
Formerly a bank teller in Canada, she suddenly found herself out of job when she migrated to Australia with her husband in early 2015. After several months of job hunting without any luck, Ms Cai officially became a housewife.
But she did not want to be just a full-time dog mum.
She founded Supaw Pet Bakery in September 2015 when several friends wanted her to bake cakes for their dogs and her customer base expanded quickly through word of mouth.
Ms Cai customises the pet’s face on the top of the cake by drawing and cutting based on the photos sent by the owner.
She has never taken any baking or cooking classes and thinks of herself as self-taught.
Her cake recipe is a secret, but she said it included chicken, beef, vegetables and coconut flour. There is even a gluten free option.
All her cakes and treats are sugar free and the ingredients are handpicked.
“What makes my cakes special is that they are not only healthy and yummy, but also look pretty,” she said.
“Sometimes it’s likely working in a lab. I do so many different tests on my recipe to make the best products.”
She now supplies the cakes to several pet shops in Melbourne and sells the products through social media as well as the shop’s website.
Coming from a Chinese background, Ms Cai found a good business opportunity through the popular Chinese social network Wechat, where she posts photos of her products and gets more than 200 views daily.
“My customers are multicultural. But they all want the best for their pets,” she said.
She does not have any plans to open a retail shop or expand her business through franchises. She was offered a generous amount of money by a pet shop for her recipe, but she declined the offer.
“I don’t want to sell my recipe, because it’s like my baby,” she said.
For her, baking for people’s fur babies is mainly recreational.
“I’m just doing this as a hobby. I’m not a very ambitious person. If I really want to make money, I’d work at a bank. But I love making tasty food for dogs and cats.”
Her four-legged customers cannot provide much feedback other than wagging their tails or licking her face, but Ms Cai knows her cakes are the best birthday present for them.