Luv’ing Pups in the City and County!
The excitement in David Laskovski’s voice is evident as he can’t wait to share the good news, “We’re thrilled, over the moon!” He exclaims. “We are so excited to see the business grow and develop with us!”
David is the founder of LuvPups dog treats. He and his partner just bought a beautiful 20 acre property in Prince Edward County where they will live and fully launch the business focused on delicacies for dogs.
It starts with a recipe for success.
The business started in his Toronto home during Covid-19 when David noticed rising prices of dog treats and food. “I took to the kitchen!” he says. “I decided during the pandemic to experiment with new recipes. Why couldn’t I make frozen yogurt treats for my dogs, myself?”
When businesses and bars began opening again post-pandemic, David also saw that more spaces were becoming increasingly pet-friendly. While guests were enjoying their beers and pizza on a patio, why couldn’t their furry family members enjoy a similar experience? He loved the idea of making ‘human-style’ dog treats like pizza, frozen yogurt, and craft beer, among other tasty tidbits. And while David’s homemade ‘beer,’ is more bone-broth than barley and hops, the treats he creates allow everyone in the family a social experience that can be safely shared.
“I wanted to offer dogs the same kind of tasting experience that their humans get to have. A taste, treats, and play zone – a kind of ‘doggie’ experience of the County.” He says. “We knew Prince Edward County is a destination people like coming to, not just us.” David did his market research and worked with pet food consultants to make sure the idea was fully feasible beyond being well-located.
More and more, and particularly after a home-based pandemic, people see their pets as their children and want them to be a prized part of their lives. “I get so much happiness from playing with and watching these guys,” David says of his own dogs. “I’m sure others have the same feelings. It’s a great experience for everyone to just have them involved in our lives.”
Every dish, a new learning experience…
While the business is still in its infancy, David says there is a definite learning curve. “My partner and I are new at this. Some roadblocks have come up along the way.” One example is that they have been working with Niagara Food and Beverage, and others, to ensure all products are safe and ingredients easily sourced for LuvPups’ smaller-scale production, operations and distribution model. “But there is nothing we cannot overcome,” David says. “And that’s where my Mentor has been very helpful!”
David only recently began working with his Mentor, Neil, at the start of CGLCC’s OUT For Business Youth Entrepreneur program in October. Having only two meetings between them to date, David is enthusiastic about continuing to benefit from Neil’s expertise. “I am super excited to learn from some of the best in the 2SLGBTI+ community!”
Don’t be afraid to mix it up!
Shifting from a very different day job as an emergency dispatch worker, David admits that becoming an entrepreneur can be intense. “It’s been a whirlwind of information. It’s been overwhelming at times, for sure,” he says. “But having a program like this to give great advice and guidance is priceless. I’m soaking it all up like a sponge”
This is the first time he has worked with a more formalized mentorship program, but he’s found the match made between him and Neil incredibly rewarding. “I think it’s so cool for me to meet him and his partner who are both out in a small town community.” Says David. “I think it’s so great that someone in such a small town can be out and open in the community. It says a LOT about our country and it makes me proud – how far we’ve come. I love seeing that!”
David also felt that being a part of OUT For Business was helpful in expanding his connections and ‘rainbow community.’ “Meeting all the different people in the Program – it’s so great to see the diversity! And we’ve just started – I’m so excited!” He noted that even though all participants in the program are entrepreneurs, “we all have different needs, different obstacles to deal with. The program and the mentorship it offers helps with all of that.”
Continue baking until awesome.
The next steps for David, his partner, and LuvPups, is to continue the business planning and working on the strategy to ensure their products are on store shelves. Further support and financing will be sought moving forward as well.
“As I talked to him, it was fantastic and inspiring,” David says of his mentorship meetings with Neil. “He owns his own grocery store, he has worked on his own products, his sauces are available in stores now. He has great contacts and knowledge. It was a great pairing up!”
OUT For Business
Like David, if you are a young LGBT+ entrepreneur between the ages of 18 and 39, you can find the support and connections you need. Discover more about upcoming OUT For Business Youth Mentorship opportunities, and sign up on the waitlist for upcoming cohorts, today!