Fashionista Turned Pet Food Mogul


Marie Moody’s career went to the dogs. Specifically, to two pooches: Stella, a terrier blend, and Chewy, an Airedale-Shar-Pei mix. Stella and Chewy led this fashion rep to leave the world of design and start her own dog food company.

Since there weren’t any commercial raw dog foods available, Moody decided to make meals for Chewy herself.

She created a diet of raw meat and bones supplemented by uncooked vegetables and fruits–a menu based on what the domestic dog’s ancestors, coyotes and wolves, eat in the wild. Moody used free-range and antibiotic- and hormone-free meats, as well as organic produce, but no grains–a key ingredient in many commercial dog foods.

Not only did Chewy’s health improve, but he became so healthy that when Moody adopted Stella a year later, she began to prepare food for her, too. That got Moody, who didn’t even cook for herself, thinking about her fellow animal lovers.

“If people knew how good this diet was for their pets, and if it wasn’t that difficult for them to provide it, then I thought that a lot of people might do it,” she says. “I wanted to create a food that had what’s best about a raw diet, but was convenient and not dangerous.”

Armed with a $50,000 loan from her father (she used the money to purchase freezers for 50 of the top pet stores in New York City), Moody started Stella & Chewy’s in 2003 from the kitchen of her Manhattan apartment. With only her dogs as co-workers (and taste testers), Moody hand-prepared, marketed and sold her dog food. “I used taxis to make deliveries,” she says.

Four years later, she outgrew her apartment and needed a factory. Since real estate in New York was too expensive, she returned home to Muskego, a suburb of Milwaukee, to expand her business in 2007.

Image from Stella & Chewy’s

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