We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelly West and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kelly, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I worked at the best company in the world, Boeing, but I didn’t enjoy the work I was doing, and didn’t like my current boss or department. Once the China Virus and the lockdown hit it was crystal clear I wanted to 1. Do something I enjoyed, 2. Do something from home to be with my dog, at the time, I had a 3 year old black Lab named Riley. I now have two Labs, Riley and Harper.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?

Black Lab Bakery is a dog cookie business that began in Mukilteo, WA and is now run out of Buckeye, AZ, I moved to AZ September of 2021. My dog cookies have natural ingredients without any preservatives, sugar, salt or butter. I ship orders all over the country and sell at local farmers markets in AZ. Participating in farmers markets is challenging for me as I am more introvert than extrovert. Luckily I was able to bring my two black Labs with me in Washington state and that provided a helpful buffer for me. My Labs are pretty well behaved and loveable and people enjoyed visiting with them, I get to hear everyone’s dog story. My Labs are 4 yrs and 9 months old and are a joy. When I first started, I wasn’t sure what type of bakery items I wanted to bake so there was some trial & error but my two Labs were more than happy to taste test the cookies. I call them the CEOs of Black Lab Bakery, the “Chief Eating Officers”. To start, I focused on three different cookies: blueberry, strawberry, and carob. I later added a pumpkin cookie. I love when a new customer becomes a repeat customer, either to try a new cookie flavor or to buy a favorite.

Black Lab Bakery is a great supporter of Law Enforcement and K9’s and I’ve had fundraisers for both K9’s and LE Officers when the worst happens. I have sent many bags of complimentary cookies to First Responders for their dogs throughout the U.S. I also partner with a company called VARLO K9 Gear, VARLO Nation. They are LE and have K9 working dogs that are beloved throughout the country.

One of my favorite compliments is having people tell me their dog won’t eat other dog cookies/treats, only Black Lab Bakery cookies.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I have only lived in AZ for a couple of months so I am still learning about the area. Typically, I do things where I can include my dogs so we’ve been hiking and walking a lot. I am looking forward to a lot more now that the weather is cooler. The area is beautiful and we are happy to be here.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I started Black Lab Bakery in Mukilteo, in Washington state, where I previously lived. Everyone was stuck at home during the lockdown, and a group of us with dogs that all lived in the same area started to meet up numerous times a day to chat and to let the dogs play. The people and the dogs became very close. One of those people had her own dog grooming business, it was very busy and the people were obviously dog lovers. Starting a dog bakery occurred to me as a way to work from home, to be with my dogs, and to provide healthy cookies for dogs.

Website: BlackLabBakery.net

Instagram: BlackLabBakery

Facebook: BlackLabBakeryArizona

Other: tiktok: blacklabbakery

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