I recently visited the headquarters and kitchen of The Doggie Express and spent time with Kelly, one of the owners and CEO, and Tiffiany, head chef. You can tell their team of ladies is a tight-knit family, and they made me feel right at home. We talked, we laughed, and they not only fed me, but also sent me home with a doggie bag!
Me: Tell me about The Doggie Express. What do you offer and what makes it unique?
Kelly: We offer a variety of organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, preservative-free gourmet dog treats. We deliver within the Houston area and can ship anywhere in the contiguous United States. We have spent years creating the perfect recipes that dogs (and humans) can enjoy. Our recipes are all vet-approved and certified by the State of Texas.
Me: What made you start The Doggie Express?
Kelly: I have a background in nutrition and was always looking for a healthier dog treat to feed my dogs. One day while driving down the road, I saw an Edible Arrangements truck, and I got the idea that we could create something similar for dog treats.
Me: So how did you turn that initial idea into the current company?
Kelly: Well, it took some time to convince my partner to go for it, then we started building a team, and I traveled all over the country researching and taste testing dog treats. I am very picky about our recipes - not only must the treats be nutritious for dogs, they must also taste AND look good. If they have bacon in them, I want to see the bacon! And I won't sell treats that I wouldn't eat myself.
Me: How do you come up with the recipes?
Tiffiany: I graduated from culinary school, started experimenting with gluten-free recipes way back before gluten-free was a "thing", and opened Kozy Kitchen in Dallas, which is a restaurant serving fresh, gluten-free gourmet meals. All our dog treat recipes are modified from human recipes, and over the years I've refined our special flour blend. We are continuously tweaking the recipes to use better ingredients and to improve the nutritional value, taste, texture, and look of our treats.
Me: What are your favorite or best-selling flavors?
Kelly: My top three favorites are the cranberry carrot almond crunch cookies, carob chip pupcakes, and the morning glory woofins.
[Ed note: My favorite was also the cranberry carrot almond crunch cookie! The crunch cookies, pupcakes, and woofins are all about the size of a golf ball - the perfect treat size in my opinion. The DEX decorated cookies are unbelievably beautiful, and come in a regular and mini size. They also offer Bones Day cake, ice cream, and jerky, which I haven't tried yet.]
Me: What is the shelf life for your treats?
Tiffiany: The crunch cookies can last up to a month, the pupcakes/woofins up to 1.5 weeks, and the decorated cookies can last up to 3 months (longer because they are dehydrated). Our treats are packaged in a resealable bag, and we recommend storing them in the refrigerator or a cool, dry place.
Me: What's your favorite thing about your job?
Kelly: I love delivering the treats and spending time with our clients' dogs.
Tiffiany: [laughing] Yes, we don't let Kelly near the kitchen! And every time she makes a delivery, she texts us pictures of the happy dogs with their treats. My favorite thing is getting to do something that I love with the people I love.
Me: What's your least favorite thing about your job?
Tiffiany: I don't typically like the first time I test a new recipe, because often we end up throwing it away, and I hate to be wasteful.
Me: Do the dogs have a job around here?
Tiffiany: Yes, they are in charge of quality control. Ethel is the pickiest eater, so if she likes it, we know we have a winner. And... occasionally they get into trouble. During the Christmas rush, Ellie opened the door to a room she wasn't supposed to be in and ate an entire tray of decorated candy cane cookies.
Kelly: The dogs also make an appearance on our packaging boxes.
Me: What exciting things do you have planned for The Doggie Express in the next year?
Kelly: We are looking into moving to a commercial kitchen.
Tiffiany: [jumping up and down with excitement] And I'm getting a new BIG mixer!!!
Me: Where can people get your delicious dog treats?
Kelly: They are sold at several doggie daycare and grooming salons around Houston, and we make appearances at local festivals and markets. You can also order online at The Doggie Express website. Orders placed by 11am can be delivered same-day, orders placed after 11am will be delivered next-day. If you don't see exactly what you're looking for on the website, we can also make custom cookies for your special event or business.