We have made it past the ghoulish fun of Halloween, traipsing right into the oncoming holiday season. (Egads, there’s a smidge over 7 weeks until we are merrily gathered around the Christmas tree, yule log ablaze, our spirits warmed by frothy spiked eggnog!)
Inspired by the Holiday Gift Guide featuring the season’s must haves and a few of our favorite things (find the guide here:) we thought it would be awesome to get to know the people behind the businesses!
Our Favorite Things – CuddleMutt!
Kristen of CuddleMutt is AMAZING! She’s sweet, kind, brimming with personality and a HUGE heart (her business is built on giving back to shelter dogs). AND…. CuddleMutt just turned 2 in September!
How did you get started?
As the daughter of two entrepreneurial parents, I was drawn to the idea of starting my own company. But I was also drawn to the idea of making a difference. I was brainstorming different ideas that would make an impact. But as I was picking up foster dog #12, the idea for CuddleMutt hit me (more on that with question #2).
Where did you get the idea for CuddleMutt?
As a dog foster mom, I saw the need for soft blankets firsthand as well as the need for monetary donations. An old towel is not the same as a soft blanket. And I saw organizations holding back their impact due to lack of funding. CuddleMutt’s buy a blanket, give a blanket model + 20% of profit donation for all other accessories helps address both of these needs.
What’s unique about CuddleMutt? What sets you apart from others in your industry?
CuddleMutt was founded on the concept of providing beautifully designed, high quality accessories that make a difference. Our unique give back model of a tangible item (blanket for blanket) and 20% of profit for all other accessories sets us apart.
What is something that surprised you about owning a business?
The amount of groundwork you need to do, and the structure that has to be built. As a one-person company, you are everything. The director of IT, HR, sales, operations, design etc. But luckily, there is always google to help!
Did you have any early challenges? If so how did you overcome them? If not, what is something you’ve accomplished with CuddleMutt that makes you the proudest?
Finding a manufacturer to work with a small business was one of my biggest challenges. After no luck with any manufacturers found via google, I sent out emails to other small businesses asking if they had any recommendations, which led me to the manufacturer I have now and have had since the beginning based locally in Maplewood, MN!
What is some advice you’d give someone just starting out?
Network! Reach out and meet with other small business owners. The entrepreneurial journey is full of bumps along the way and having other entrepreneurs in your network is helpful!
Do you have any pets?
Yes! We adopted our Louie (Terrier/Maltese mix- best guess) from Secondhand Hounds last December. He is also CuddleMutt’s Chief Dog Officer!
Tell us about the humans behind CuddleMutt:
This is Kristen typing- hi! I’m the founder of CuddleMutt. I run the company, but I have an amazing support system of family and friends that help out. I couldn’t do it without them!
Where can we find CuddleMutt?
You can always find us online- www.cuddlemutt.com. We just redid our website! But you can also find us at these two MN malls over the holidays:
— Southdale (Edina, MN)- Nov 1st – Dec. 31st- Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
— Ridgedale (Minnetonka, MN)- Nov 23rd – Dec 22nd- Saturdays and Sundays + Black Friday
Give her some love, whether in snagging one of the blankets (they are SUPER soft & Bender loves his – he’s tucked in every night with it!), a collar or bandana. Have all your gifts already (overachiever!) then give her some love via a like & follow on Facebook & Instagram!
More of our favorite things to come, plus some tasty treat recipes (we found a gingerbread recipe for dogs!) and some tricks to teach your pup so she’s the star of your holiday party!