For Perth-based Jeri Kelly, baking treats for her beloved dog Mabel rapidly went from a lockdown hobby to establishing her own business, Mabel’s Bakery.
Jeri, 34, who is also a full-time administrator for a local solicitor, has been creating Instagrammable doggie treats for pet owners for almost a year.
From bespoke birthday drizzle cakes to “pupcakes” and biscuits, she can’t believe how quickly things have taken off.
And she says she owes the success to her biggest supporter, three-year-old Mabel – her pure white Staffordshire bull terrier.
Jeri said: “She’s my life – she’s my best friend.
“I was going through a really difficult point in my life. I lost my dad very suddenly a couple of years ago and she kept me going. She’s the reason I got up in the morning.
“Mabel has been an absolute life saver for me. She’s my wee soul mate.
“I had been baking her little treats because she is like a princess and I completely spoil her. Then my friends said: ‘you need to get this on social media and sell it – there’s nothing like this in Perth.’”
What’s in the cakes?
Jeri loves baking and cooking and can usually be found unwinding in her kitchen in the home she shares with Mabel. During lockdown, while she was working from home, it focused her mind and helped her stay creative.
She continued: “I put it on Instagram and thought ‘just go for it, Jeri – if it works, it works’. Then it exploded.
“I’m a self-taught baker and I never could have imagined I would be making dog birthday cakes!”
Jeri has always enjoyed baking for Mabel and became interested in using natural, human-grade ingredients that are also suitable for animals.
Her bakes contain no added sugars and are naturally coloured and sweetened.
Jeri explained: “Unless I have been asked to make them gluten-free, most of my bakes contain wholemeal flour. This is less heavy than plain flour.
“I am always researching what ingredients are best for dogs. For example, I am using pumpkin puree, which is good for their digestive system.
“With my birthday cakes, I tend to use apple puree, which gives it a nice sweet taste. The frosting is made from a sugar-free yoghurt powder.”
Jeri takes orders from customers via her Instagram page and also attends pop-up events, which she advertises on her page. She was recently at The Yard in Perth’s autumn “Barket”.
People often tell Jeri the biscuits smell good enough to eat. Well they could – they just wouldn’t taste like conventional cakes.
Jeri samples all her bakes and, of course, Mabel helps out too.
She said: “Mabel’s starting to get a wee belly – I’m having to take her out on bigger walks!”
What can customers buy?
Jeri sells bags of biscuits and also offers packages for celebrations such as birthdays and “gotcha” days.
Biscuits range from £4 for a small bag to £7 for a large bag and flavours include cheese, salmon and beetroot and peanut butter and banana. Biscuits can even be stored in the freezer in zip-locked bags.
Bespoke birthday cakes start from £20 and prices vary according to size. The standard is a four-inch, two-tiered cake along with four personalised biscuits.
Meanwhile, the £15 treat boxes contain two “pupcakes”, four personalised biscuits, a party hat and a small toy.
Jeri added: “I love it when owners send photos to me and their dogs are wearing their party hats.”