Jeff Anderson started making homemade dog treats not because he knew he wanted to start a business, but because he wanted healthier food for his beloved canine companions, Doobie and Lilly. At eleven years old, Doobie had developed several lumps on his body. After paying a visit to a holistic vet, Jeff discovered that these lumps were likely due to malnutrition during Doobie’s key growing years. Convinced that there must be an alternative to conventional, unhealthy dog treats, Jeff and friend Koji Miyagawa started using household food scraps to make delicious, organic and GMO free treats for their beloved pups. The duo soon realized that they’d discovered a business opportunity and Dooshi Pet Supplies was born. The business uses 100% upcycled food scraps from sushi restaurants and organic juice bars to create healthy and delicious dog treats. After less than one year of business, Dooshi is experiencing great success.

Dooshi Pet Supplies is expanding rapidly; you can purchase Dooshi’s healthy treats online and at fourteen different retail locations. Dooshi contributes much of its success to local support from the Whistler community: Dooshi upcycles ingredients from seven Whistler restaurants and has vibrant partnerships with both Whistler Animals Galore (WAG) and Pemberton Animal Wellbeing Society (PAWS). The business is already developing an international market; it has a customer base in Seattle and California and is receiving order requests from overseas, such as from France and Japan. Dooshi explains that its vision for the future includes a Dooshi factory in every city where there are sushi restaurants or smoothie bars aiming to upcycle their food scraps.

Dooshi is a proud alumni of the Whistler Centre for Sustainability’s Social Venture Challenge 2016. Jeff explains that this was a big catalyst for the company: “The program transformed our idea into a plan”. Jeff says the program provided a great business overview for Dooshi, from marketing channels to banking info, the workshops taught them the necessary steps to take in order to make their initiative a reality. When asked what advice he would give to the Social Venture Challenge 2017 participants, Jeff said immediately: “Just have fun with it, don’t let it stress you out too much”. He says it’s easy to feel stressed, but the journey is what matters most and you will gain valuable knowledge all along the way.

The Social Venture Challenge is an initiative that encourages, supports and helps to grow new social ventures in the Sea to Sky Corridor through mentorship, capacity building and spreading awareness. Explore this year’s inspiring list of participants here.

By Nicole Nauss