Smart Cookie: Kat Gawlik, Founder of Doggie 'Poo - Ecobuy

1)      Could you tell us a little about yourself and what’s your business about?

I’m Kat and I’m the one lady show behind Doggie ‘Poo.  I created Doggie ‘Poo as an offshoot from  my natural body products for humans business, as I had recently adopted a gorgeous rescue kelpie/border collie called Tilly, (who is also my model!) and wanted to use natural, ethical and high quality products in her daily care. I make by hand in small batches a natural neem oil shampoo bar that is plastic and palm oil free and an expanding range of natural grooming and health products for our furry best friends.

2)      Do you have a morning routine? If so, what is it you do to set yourself up for the day ahead?

First thing in the morning Tilly wakes me up with her talking/whining (she sleeps on our bed) so I take her to the beach to have a run around and a play. Next comes coffee. Then Tilly gets her breakfast which I try to make as healthy and varied as possible – raw meat, raw boney chicken parts, sardines, hemp seeds, yoghurt, grain free dog biscuits, cooked vegetables, and a sprinkle of rose hip powder (vitamin C and antioxidant) and seaweed. Once she’s happy then I can start my day!

3)      Why did you choose to go sustainable and eco-friendly?

There is no other way! I studied biology at uni, and I have always loved plants, animals and nature. I realise that every choice we make and every product we use has a trickle down effect – be it positive or negative. I choose to source ethical ingredients and make natural and biodegradable products because I don’t want to play a part in harming our beautiful planet in any way. I also believe that nature has so much to offer us in the way of medicinal, healing and useful plants and I like to incorporate some of these things into my products rather than using laboratory-made synthetics, that to me are inferior.

4)      What was the hardest part of starting your own business?

Not really knowing what I’m doing in terms of how to create a successful and expanding business, pricing things appropriately and marketing my products etc while also remaining ethical, humble and staying true to my beliefs. I’m still not sure, so If anyone has any advice, please get in touch!

5)    And what is the most rewarding part of working for yourself?

Being able to be creative, work on my own terms and seeing and hearing feedback from people who love my products and how they have helped their dog’s issues such as sensitive skin.

6)      Best piece of advice you have ever received?

I usually take any advice with a grain of salt, unless the person who is giving it to me is a living breathing example of where I want to be in life. However, the best piece of advice I can recall is from a long time sailor who lives aboard his self built and luxurious catamaran and sails it to different countries with his family. When I dreamed of living aboard a yacht and sailing it to beautiful and remote destinations even though I had only ever been on his sailboat before, he encouraged me that it wasn’t out of reach and sailing was something that I could easily learn. My partner and I could afford a nice sailboat, because “what ever price it’s for sale at, offer them half of that”. Because of his encouragement and positivity, we achieved our dream and have been living aboard and travelling on our sailboat for the last 7 years 🙂

7) One book and/or documentary everyone should read/watch? Why?

That’s a big call! I’m definitely a doco fan, and would rather watch a documentary than a Hollywood blockbuster any day. I can’t recommend one that everyone should watch, but the doco that had the biggest impact on my life and turned me into a vegetarian 12 years ago was ‘Earthlings’. It is set in America so I’m not sure how relevant some of the practices are in the Australian meat and dairy industry, but it was eye-opening, sad and disturbing and had me in tears.