THROWING THE DOG A MILLION-DOLLAR BONE

THROWING THE DOG A MILLION-DOLLAR BONE

EMMA Gibbons has carved a healthy niche out of the Australian pet food market, generating a $1 million turnover in just her second year of operation.

The Sunshine Coast-based Gibbons and her husband Russell (pictured) have established pet-treat company Huds & Toke as one of the most popular businesses of its kind in the country, taking on some stiff competition from overseas imports.

The Huds & Toke success story began just over two years ago when the couple started formulating ideas for unique horse and dog treats from their base of operations, the kitchen table.

Now the company designs, manufactures and distributes natural treats to more than 1000 horse retailers and 200 dog retailers across the country from their factory in Warana. 

According to Gibbons her work isn't "sexy or glamorous," but it is playing out in what she sees as a burgeoning market with huge potential.

"Pet parents are generating the new craze," she says.

"Dog treats alone are worth $180 million in Australia. In the horse sector, the consumable part of [$8 billion] not including feed and vets means Australia spent $90 million on their horses in the last financial year."

Gibbons' entrepreneurial flair earned her the Sunshine Coast 2014 Micro Small Business Woman of the Year Award, an accolade she has put down to a mix of originality and determination.

"Success isn't always about the best technology, it's also the innovation you use to get your name out there and how you encourage people to believe in what you can see when you are a small business," says Gibbons.

Huds & Toke is now setting its sights on international markets, with plans to launch into New Zealand in the next couple of months.

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