There are three things which are immediately evident when you meet Amanda Rishel. She is a bundle of energy, loves her dog Tucker and is excited about the future of the company she co-founded with her husband – Barkable Bites. Barkable Bites specializes in healthy dog treats based on Rishel’s original recipes.
Rishel is a chemical engineer who received her Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Penn State University. When she made the decision to start a pet food company, she had to step outside her box. Today she could not he happier with her decision to take that leap of faith.
In addition to her roles as a chemical engineeer and small business owner, Rishel also sits on the Board of Directors at Remembering ADAM Inc. Remembering ADAM Inc.’s mission is to create environmental change that will promote healthy decisions and behaviors regarding substance use.
In the following interview, Rishel shares her experiences balancing a full time job with the responsibilities of becoming a small business owner.
Did you alwyas want to own your own business?
I have ALWAYS wanted to own my own business. I grew up watching my parents operate a very successful pharmacy. Their dedication and success motivated me to start Barkable Bites.
How did you come up with the idea for Barkable Bites?
Barkable Bites was started by my husband and I but inspired by our dog Tucker. A few years ago, we rescued Tucker from a local animal shelter. He quickly stole our hearts and became our best friend. I have always loved cooking and spending time in the kitchen, and I wanted Tucker to eat healthy but delicious treats. I decided to combine my love for Tucker and cooking by baking all natural dog treats. Tucker was instantly on board with my plan, especially because he was assigned to be the primary taste tester.
What has been the most suprising thing you encountered while starting your business?
There are a lot of regulations for business from state licensing to pet regulations. I spent a significant amount of time researching the requirements before I could begin the business. I was surprised to find that there were so many requirements for pet food. It can be very overwhelming at first but I learned a great deal about new business requirements. I continue to learn new things about running a business and also how to market my treats.
What do you enjoy the most and the least about being a business owner?
My favorite part about owning the business is being my own boss and making all the decisions. If the business does well, it’s because of my hard work and dedication. As for the least part, I can be modest about my product, and it’s difficult for me to “brag” because I created it. I am hoping that will get easier with time.