It all started 10 years ago in a New York City apartment that was packed with freezers and boxes of freeze-dried food.
“I started selling to one store, then two, then three,” Marie Moody, the founder and president of Stella & Chewy’s, said. “It slowly kept growing.”
Now, Stella & Chewy’s has grown into a large business with 170 employees, and a manufacturing plant in Wisconsin.
“It’s been really fun and exciting,” Moody said. “I feel like we made some tough decisions in the beginning that were expensive, such as controlling our own manufacturing. I feel like … these hard decisions are the ones that have really set us apart.”
Eventually as the company started gaining steam, Moody outsourced the manufacturing to a production facility. Though, when using a production facility, Moody wasn’t able to control her product as much as she wanted.
“After four years the business was sort of at a point where it was just beef and chicken and I wanted to use more organic ingredients,” Moody said. “I wanted to have control of the manufacturing process before going national. So I opened a plant in Wisconsin in 2007.”
In 2010, the business turned a corner by doing something a lot of companies don’t, she said.
“We took our first price increase on the freeze dried food,” Moody said. “It is a common mistake that people make, they don’t charge enough and are afraid to make the price jump. It really did make a big difference.”
Since then, the company has become a leader in the freeze–dried and frozen food space.
“We want to continue to be the leader in freeze dried food,” Moody said.