At 6 a.m. her alarm rings, she gets out of bed and starts preparing for the day to come. She believes that waking up early makes a person more productive. She heads into her kitchen, grabs a bowl, a whisk and starts with the baking. She adds oats, flour, vegetables, and minced meat to the bowl in her hand. In another bowl; she adds broth, lactose free milk, and salmon oil. She mixes the contents of both bowls together; spreads the mixture on the baking tray and puts it into the oven.
It usually takes 40 minutes for the oven to be done, so she uses the extra time on her hands to take a shower, get dressed, and walk her dog Roy. Once the 40 minutes are up; she takes out the tray from the oven, lets it cool down, and then cuts the food into small square shaped pieces. She divides the pieces and puts them into big plastic jars, then sticks a red sticker logo on the jars. Right in the center of the sticker is the picture of a cartoon dog with a chef’s hat and under it is the word Animalicious in white with a sub-title that reads “Premium Home-Made Dog Food”
It’s now 9 a.m. and Noha is done with the packaging, she grabs her bag, the keys to her car and heads out of the house. She is a content creator and a social media manager. At exactly 1 p.m., her phone rings.
“Hello” Noha Says as soon as she picks up the phone.
“Hello Noha, It’s Mariam from CairoContra. I’m going to be writing an article about Animalicious so I wanted to ask you some questions. Are you free for a phone interview?” I ask her.
We chat for a bit and then I ask her the first question on my list.
“Why did you start Animalicious?”
“Well...I have a husky and he is a very picky eater,” she laughs. “He was my motivation. So, I tried to develop recipes for him that were enjoyable and beneficial at the same time…”
“So, this was your only motivation?” I ask her
“Well…I also felt that we don’t really know the ingredients of the dry food being sold in supermarkets or pet shops. For example, it’s written that the food has a certain protein percentage, but where did it come from? I know exactly what I put in it and I know the ingredients” She says.
I look at my list of questions and ask her “And how do you manage your time between both of your jobs? Animalicious and Content Creation.”
“I am an early bird; I wake up very early. So sometimes I bake in the morning and get my orders ready if I have urgent orders. But if I don’t have a lot of orders, I work on the weekends and it’s usually better for me because I then have more time…If it’s the time of a feast or some holiday; I prepare orders for my regular customers in advance because their dogs won’t eat anything else."
“But how did you learn to make dried dog food and treats?” I ask her. It’s not every day you come across someone who bakes dog food.
“I kept researching online and then I went to my dog’s vet and talked to him. He helped me develop a recipe if eaten by a dog; it won’t need to eat anything else. He told me lots of information. For example, that olive oil is good for dogs’ hair and oats are good for their digestion. But the recipe also developed differently depending on each dog and its preferences,” she laughs “I honestly tried a lot of recipes on my dog, he tried all stages of the food”
I laugh and ask her the question I was most interested to know the answer to “How do you know if the dogs will like the food?”
“Look… some dogs don’t eat dog food even if you get them the best brands, but they might like treats instead because it’s sweeter and has things like peanut butter…so they’re into it more. There is never a dog that doesn’t like both dry food and treats. It usually depends on what the owner taught the dog. Some dogs start to like the food after having it a couple of times” She says.
“What were the reactions of the people around you when they heard you are going to start a Facebook page to sell home-made dog food?” I ask her, “Some people like to make fun of things like this,” I continue.
“Yeah of course, there were some people who made fun of the idea. It was something that I wanted to do and even though I do it beside my actual job, it really makes me happy,” She says “If you check the Facebook page you will find people who send me messages thanking me. It really makes me happy… I love dogs and I get to serve so many of them. It is honestly the thing that makes me happy the most…It’s my reward.” she continues.
I pause for a moment, taking in what she said and then I ask her “How did the page and Animalicious spread?”
“It’s mostly word of mouth. I always cared that my customers were all animal and dog lovers. Also, by time, some pet clinics started to reach out to me. And now the products are being sold in some clinics. This is what I was targeting. I didn’t want it to just be a product in a supermarket. I wanted it to be present in certain vets and dog shops. So… it’s slowly happening,” she says.
I check off another question from my list and ask her “And what about your competitors? Why do you think Animalicious is different?”
“I think what makes Animalicious different is that I make both dried dog food and treats. I also customize orders for dogs who have allergies or a certain preference. A customer would call me and tell me to replace the meat in the dry food with turkey so I would go to the supermarket and make the change,” she says.
“And where do your price ranges stand in the market?” I ask her.
“There are a lot of dog food brands. My prices are in the middle,” she tells me.
I check off the last question on my list and thank Noha for her time. A colleague of hers asks her about the results of the last campaign she worked on and a couple of minutes later she receives a Facebook message with a new order.
After a long day, she arrives back home and is immediately greeted by Roy. As she lays on her bed and lets it absorb all the tiredness from her body; she closes her eyes and dreams of a world where Animalicious has grown to become the ultimate home-made brand for dog food.
Want to try Animalicious?
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