Welcome to Episode Number 51: How to Raise Money for Animal Charities with Kaitlin Anderson of Treat Dreams. On this episode, I’m talking to an entrepreneur who’s passion for giving back to animal rescue organizations has led her to create a booming online store with t-shirts and more. You’ll love hearing how the business started with her and her mom making tons of dog treats in their home kitchen and how they’ve transitioned to a much more scalable business model that raises money for animal rescue.
She has great advice on finding inspiration, staying focused on profits and of course, you’ll get to hear all about her dogs! You might recognize some of Treat Dreams’ most popular shirts like Namaste Home with My Dog, Indoorsy Dog Person and Blessed and Dog Obsessed.
How to Raise Money For Animal Rescue with T-Shirts
Kailtlin Anderson is one half of a mother-daughter team that has a passion for dogs! She and her mom started Treat Dreams, which is an online dog lovers apparel store that helps support dog rescues. Between them they have 5 full time dogs and foster dogs that come and go, too! As a matter of fact, 3 of their current pups are foster fails. They spend their days loading up the dogs and going back and forth to each other’s homes to run Treat Dreams. They’re committed to working hard to be original and honest while creating a great business with cool products that help support dog rescues across the country. To date, Treat Dreams has donated over $25,000 to animal rescue
(01:39) Introducing Kaitlin Anderson of Treat Dreams
(02:01) How Kaitlin and her mom came up with the t-shirt ideas
(03:56) The first t-shirt designs they came up with
(06:39) How they handle the logistics of a t-shirt shop
(08:40) The way they structure their giveback program
(11:11) Where you should invest in your business
(14:39) Kaitlin’s favorite social platform for advertising
(17:39) Where Kaitlin gets her inspiration
(19:58) What shelters and rescues Kaitlin supports
(23:14) Kaitlin’s goals for her business
(25:28) Meet Kaitlin’s dogs
(29:18) Where to find Kaitlin Anderson
TORI: Do you have advice on what a new dog mom-preneur should spend her money on?
Kaitlin: When we first started out, we were doing dog treats on Etsy. I didn’t want to spend money on a website. But I did read an article from The Business Journal or something and this man said that the best thing you can do is to look at every purchase and say, “Is this is going to directly impact my sales or is this just a new desk I want because it will be pretty?” And so I took that piece of advice and realized that what I really needed was a decent camera (note from Tori: this is the camera I use) because I only had an iPhone. That was six years ago. I needed to take really good pictures of my products because that was going to impact my sales. And the bottom line is if I had a good picture, then hopefully it would make for a bigger sale.
TORI: Tell us about the logistics of your business. How do you fulfill orders?
Katilin: My mom keeps everything at her house. She is the shipper and so she’s the one in there filling every single order. We’ve got industrial shelving units with all the different sizes in two rooms downstairs. We just keep inventory that way. I’m starting to slowly do pre-orders so that I only order exactly what people have purchased, but I lack a lot of patience. I just want to order a lot now and get them here as quickly as possible. We do have someone folds the t-shirts for us so all my mom has to do is come in, put it in the bag, make a shipping label and make it happen.
TORI: How do you get the inspiration for your business?
Kaitlin: I’m the furthest from being an artist, but whenever you need to be creative, it’s nice when it comes naturally to you as opposed to having a deadline and you have to be creative now. Like at Christmas, I know I need new products. That can be a little intimidating because I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I need to be creative. I can’t be creative. What’s happening?” I really enjoy right now when there’s no deadlines. There’s really nothing happening. And then just something will come to me. And honestly, it does just come to me from talking to other people about my dogs.
TORI: Tell us about the rescues you work with.
Kaitlin: We have a local rescue called Country Roads Animal Rescue. I love local rescues simply because Oklahoma just has this terrible lack of knowledge about rescue and shelters that keep dogs outside and they are not up to code when it comes to euthanasia. I have a real heart for my own backyard. But I also realized that my customers live all over the United States. They also have rescues that they want to help. So I like to ask on Instagram about what rescue centers they want us to work with. Then I’ll find some way to make sure they’re reputable and use their profits for the right reasons and everything. So I make sure they are vetted.
TORI: What are some goals you have for your business this year?
Kaitlin: Hopefully by the end of this month, we will be making pillow cases. I have someone who is screen printing them and I have someone who I sends them off. So I’m very thankful to allow people to help me out. I’m very excited about those. One of my big goals is to do some more blogging. I’m not a blogger and it’s almost like a chore for me to sit down and do. But when I post about certain things that I’ve experienced, people want to know more. “Why is that your favorite? How long have you had it?” And so I want to be better about sharing some of the information that I have just from living with dogs my whole life and trying out so many different things.
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