Whitefish Bay - Hannah Anderson has long held a passion for veganism and animals, so two years ago she decided to combine her two passions and create organic,vegan dog treats.
It turns out Anderson isn't the only pet owner to share her values. Mostly selling her products on Amazon, her business Threepaws Gourmet has doubled its sales in its second year of business. Her dog treats are 100 percent organic and vegan, and some of the treats are also free of grain and gluten. She said she had to be creative to produce treats that are colorful without using artificial coloring.
"It was important for me to stand out in a sea of brown boring dog treats, so I thought 'How can I do that, while also having it be fun and healthy,'" she said.
In her "confetti bones," for example, she sprinkles the dog treats with coconut flakes that are coated with organic blueberries, beets and turmeric, creating a rainbow of colors. Her "banana yummies" treats are shaped like a banana and also use turmeric-tinged coconut flavors to create a yellow color. Two bananas go into the production of each bag of these treats.
But as her popularity grows, Anderson has not always been able to meet the demand, baking dog treats by herself in her Whitefish Bay home. HomeGoods recently sent her a purchase order, but she didn't have the capacity to fulfill a large order.
To take her business to the next level, Anderson entered an entrepreneurship contest during the Riverworks Business Improvement District's Riverworks Week. Out of the six people competing in the "Dolphin Pool" event on Sept. 14, the panel of judges chose Anderson's Threepaws Gourmet as the winning contestant. She won $1,000 cash, as well as entrepreneurial consulting.
Another Whitefish Bay entrepreneur, Elizabeth Pasho, entered the competition with a unique, practical idea of her own: a cup holder that clips onto the back pocket of an airplane seat, train seat, or the back seat of a car.
Pasho said she came up with the idea on a flight, when she needed a place to set her coffee before she could put her tray table down. She came up with the design for a plastic cup holder and had the design patented. The plastic devices collapses thin enough to fit into suit pockets, pants pockets and purses.
Her company name, Hallare, means 'holder' in Swedish. Pasho hopes to expand production numbers and sell them at airport coffee shops, airport book stores and mass retailers such as Target. She also wants to team up with promotional marketers to sell to corporate accounts.
Another North Shore contestant, Shorewood resident Maggie Joos, explained the benefits of her meal delivery service, which launched on Sept. 14.
Joos said her business name, The Real Good Life, is meant to provide wholesome, convenient meals to busy families. She prepares meals in the kitchen at North Shore Presbyterian Church on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and delivers them to her customers downtown, in the North Shore and in Wauwatosa on Wednesdays. She delivered seven meals in her first week, but she aims to deliver to 14 customers. A percentage of sales will go to the Hunger Task Force.
Joos said she aims for organic and local ingredients, but balances healthy options with some flour, sugar, meat and cheese. The meals have a maximum preparation time of 40 minutes.
"I chop up the vegetables, I brown the meat, I put the sauces together," Joos said. "All the details are already figured out, so it's either ready for the microwave or at most 40 minutes.
Other "Dolphin Pool" finalists from outside of the North Shore area included Anna Lardinois, a Milwaukee resident who runs the Gothic Milwaukee walking tours; Milwaukee resident Kiersten Ghaznavi, who creates handmade earrings, pins, paper doll portraits, graphic design and illustration services through Keghaznavi Illustration; and Milwaukee resident Steve King, who offers a fresh dairy cheese of soft-small-cheese-curds in flavored creamy sauce through his company 3D Dairy Foods and CheeBrands.