This week’s Ms New Brunswick is Mekayla White. At just 21 years old, she recently took over a dog treat business that she used to work for, Bailey's Dog Bakery. She is an incredibly motivated young woman, working at a veterinary clinic part time while running her business and preparing to go back to school full-time in the fall. I am so inspired by young women who aren't afraid to chase down their own ambitions independently. I can imagine the support and encouragement that Mekayla has gotten from her friends and family, but it takes a lot of self-determination to take something on yourself. In New Brunswick in particular it is incredibly encouraging to see young people making their own opportunities. Mekayla is running a very successful business, and she isn't even out of school yet. This ambitious woman is definitely going places and I look forward to following her story.
Tell me about your business.
Bailey’s Dog Bakery is my dog treat business. I sell dry dog snacks, hot dog jerky, training and special occasion treats like birthday bones, cupcakes and birthday cakes. I wholesale the treats to a few doggy daycares, and sell them every week at the Dieppe Farmer’s Market. This coming weekend I will be at the Victoria Craft Fair. I also take a lot of online orders over Facebook. Most treats last for 2-4 months at room temp in a dry place. All treats are dehydrated, so that extends the shelf life of the treats making it safe to store them for longer periods of time. My family are really involved with the dog shows in Atlantic Canada, and we are constantly travelling to show our dog, so this business was a natural fit for me and fit in well with our lifestyle. It seemed like a good investment for me to make, and I love it.
How did you get started?
I purchased the business this past April from the previous owner. I had worked at a veterinary clinic that owned the bakery and I did a lot of baking during my time there. I had to quit to go back to school, but I later heard that they were selling the bakery and I thought that would be a good opportunity for me to work part time while going to school. The business has done very well since I’ve taken it over. I’ve actually been surprised by how well it’s done – it’s definitely kept me busy this summer!
Since my family was already so involved in the dog show circuit, I’ve had a lot of success with the treats at the shows. They are great because they are a market of people that really cater to their pets on a regular basis. The dog show season is February-November almost every weekend. People will pre-order from me through Facebook and then I’ll deliver treats to them at the shows. This has allowed me to have clients all over the province!
What are your future plans for your business?
I do hope to eventually grow the business and get into some pet stores. For now though, I hope to sort of just maintain it while I’m still in school. I do want to grow it significantly but I am trying to make sure I also focus on finishing school. I am hoping to apply and get into veterinary school.
Has the community been supportive?
Very supportive! I have a lot of repeat clients and people come to the Dieppe Market every week to see me. The dog show circuit has been very supportive as well and a lot of my business comes from that community. My family has also been incredibly supportive, and even helped me get started when I took the business over.
How can your community support you better?
Spreading the word more would be the easiest way to help me out. Here in Moncton, there is not as much of a regular clientele. So much of my business is dependant on the Dieppe Market and the Dog show circuit. Two local doggy daycares are also big supporters of my business, but the best thing you can do for me and for other small businesses is help me spread the word and like me on Facebook!
What is the biggest difficulty in your business?
Right now it’s time management. I spend a lot of time baking treats, close to 6 hours everyday. I also work part time at a local vet clinic, plus I am doing the markets on the weekends, so that all adds up! I am working on it though, and will hopefully have things settled down by the time school starts back up again in the fall.
What piece of advice would you offer other women starting their own business?
I think being an entrepreneur is great. It’s a good thing for young women to do, I know that for me, it gives me a lot of independence and responsibility. I think if you’re dedicated enough and willing to put in the hours it’s great for anyone to experience. I would say that you should be certain that you are doing something that you actually want to pursue. It helps if you are passionate about the thing you are trying to go after. Also, don’t skip doing the research, about your market, competition, costs etc etc.
How can we get in touch with you?
The easiest way to get in touch with me is through my Facebook page!
The Ms New Brunswick project is about taking a title back for all the women who really embody the heart and soul of our province through creative endeavours and entrepreneurship. The makers and doers who are sharing with us their time, energy and talents, and carrying us forward. Full-time or side hustle. Big or small. At home or in an office. Products or service. Crafters, moms, entrepreneurs, shop owners, consultants. Whatever. If there is a woman in our province giving life to an idea or product, I want to know about it.
If you or someone you know would be right for the Ms New Brunswick series please fill out the Nomination Form!