A Sister's Illness Inspires Family To Create Pet Business
One day can change everything.
At 10-years-old, Madee Hickman woke up sick. Soon, she would learn that she has Dysautonomia, Ehlers-Danlos, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and POTS aka Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. In other words, not one, but three incurable diseases.
That doesn’t stop her from fighting to find a cure.
Madee, alongside her sister Abbi, worked together to create a company to raise money for Madee and for medical research into these diseases. Sharing a mutual love of pets, the sisters decided to create a dog treat company.
Embarking on a business is no small feat, but Abbi—already involved in the business world having already started Abbi’s Pins for Pets—wasn't a novice. Together, Abbi and Madee worked to make their homemade treats into a business to help bring their treats to dogs everywhere.
“We have always loved dogs and made our own dog treats,” said Abbi and Madee. “Our dogs loved them so decided to turn our hobby into a business.”
In 2017, Madee’s Dog Treats was born. The family-run business is run by sisters, but their parents help run it while they’re in school.
“We have family meetings each evening to discuss what has transpired during the day,” says Abbi, who shares that although her parents provide help during the school hours, the sisters have the final say when it comes to business decisions.
The sister-run business is known for its two product offerings, the Tipsy Pooch Beer Grain Dog Treats and Woof & Hoof all natural paw and body wax.
“People are very curious when they see the name Tipsy Pooch,” says Abbi.
The unique beer-based grain treats came about after the sisters were approached by someone at a weekly event, and shared the idea with them, according to Madee. After the Hickman’s looked into it further, they discovered a way to create treats infused with beer grain.
“Tipsy Pooch is made from Spent Beer Grain after breweries are done brewing beer,” said Abbi. “We take the Spent grain and recycle it into dog treats.”
The Woof & Hoof all-natural paw and body wax was created to help dry, cracked snouts, paws and hot spots. “It can be applied anywhere on the dogs body, nose, paws or belly,” says Abbi.
Having received positive feedback about their treats, Abbi is optimistic about the future for Madee’s Dog Treats. By participating in weekly events in Nevada and North California, hosting media campaigns and wholesaling their products, the sisters are reaching more and more people and pets.
“The hardest part in the business right now is getting big companies to take a chance on us,” said Sunee and Matt. “We have the production and distribution available. We are ready to take the leash off and run!
The family’s future goals include growing the business to eventually switch to being completely wholesale, and to bring their USA- made treats to all 50 U.S. states.
At the end of the day, the family wants to bring awareness to Madee’s diseases and to help find a cure.
“We are very proud of the girls,” said Sunee and Matt. “When Madee first got sick it was very hard on everyone. We spent everything we had to find answers. The girls starting this business truly saved us all.”