Audrey Bazan has always dreamed of attending Baylor University, but even as a young girl living in Corpus Christi she recognized the financial sacrifice college would take. Audrey wanted to do her part to contribute, so she approached her mother with the idea of starting a small business. She loves dogs and has always enjoyed baking, so she decided to start making and selling homemade dog treats.
“I thought it would just be a few people every month ordering, but I created a menu and sent it with my mom to her animal rescue group meeting to see if there was any interest,” Audrey said. “Automatically, people started placing large orders, so it was pretty crazy even the first week for us!”
And so — with nothing but a dream, a few recipes, a home oven, and a handful of orders written on napkins — Audrey created her own business called Audrey’s Pawstries at the age of 12.
The treats were a hit, so Audrey and her mom started attending farmers markets in Corpus Christi once a month. About a year ago, they decided to move to Waco. They set up a booth at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market, and the business took off.
“The people in Waco are amazing,” Audrey’s mother, Michelle, said. “I’ve never seen a place where people love their dogs so much!”
Audrey currently offers eight flavors of treats, ranging from the best seller — peanut butter and bacon — to other crowd favorites such as sweet potato, grain-free pumpkin apple, and even a vegan banana flax. She usually has a seasonal flavor as well – her recent summer peach has been a popular addition at the market during July.
The Bazans’ three dogs — Judge, Layla and Baylor — are the official taste-testers for new flavors and often enjoy the broken “reject treats.”
The treats are shaped like a bone and cost $6.50 per dozen for the large size, and $6.50 per two dozen for the small size. If you’re looking for something extra-special for your dog’s birthday, Audrey’s Pawstries also makes pupcakes, which are dog-friendly cupcakes.
A carrot cake pupcake topped with peanut butter yogurt icing costs $12, or a sirloin beef pupcake topped with mashed potato frosting, peas and miniature treats costs $15.
Pets are Family
Audrey and Michelle hold dear to the “pets are family” school of thought, so all treats are homemade, hand decorated, and do not contain any added salt, sugar or food coloring to ensure only the best for canine companions.
“We think the dogs should have just as much fun as the people when they’re at the market,” Michelle said. “We kept seeing all the people walking around the market eating tacos or crepes and the dogs were just looking up at them so sad, so we created Morning Mutt Muffins made out of bacon, egg and cheese. They’re only 50 cents, and one woman told us her dog loves them even more than ice cream!”
Audrey is always looking for new ideas and recently started selling homemade paw balm for $7. Made from local beeswax, shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil and vitamin E oil, the paw balm helps protect sensitive paws from the hot pavement — a blessing during a Texas summer.
Now 15 years old and about to enter the 10th grade at Midway High School, Audrey is quite the entrepreneur. She applied for and received her LLC — or Limited Liability Company certificate — the week before her 13th birthday and juggles her booming business with a full schedule of Advanced Placement classes and extracurriculars. Every penny earned goes toward her college fund.
“Audrey never complains about the work or says she doesn’t want to go to the market this week,” Michelle said. “We spend all week baking — we have eight flavors and make at least 300-400 of each flavor every week — but she’s always looking for ways to expand.
“I still have the napkin her first order was written on, and I can’t believe how much this has grown since that first week. She’s just amazing; she’s the perfect kid. She really wants this — she really wants college — and I know she’s going to accomplish it.”
Audrey’s Pawstries has gained a following at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market, including one customer who has five dogs and orders 10 dozen treats every week. Audrey loves interacting with both her two-legged and four-legged customers, and old and new friends alike are featured on the business Facebook page.
For those unable to make it out to the market, orders can be placed on the Audrey’s Pawstries Facebook page. For larger orders, Michelle will even deliver. All treats are baked fresh each week and will last up to three months in the freezer — although, as Audrey said, “we don’t really get the chance to test that out too often around our house!”
Orders can be submitted via Facebook page