Finley’s is a dog treat company that employs people with disabilities and gives 50% of their proceeds to provide employment training, accessibility, health & wellness, and advocacy platforms for people with disabilities. Enjoy the interview with the co-founder, Angie, below:
What is Finley’s?
“Finley’s is the feel good, do good dog treat company elevating people and pets by dedicating
50% of net profits to support people with disabilities through their employment and giving
How did the company get started?
“Based off of a classroom concept from many years ago, Finley’s was created by former special
education teachers Kyle and Angie Gallus in March of 2016. After seeing the potential and
talents of two former students who were now young adults and unemployed, Angie and Kyle
were on a mission to combat the 80 percent unemployment rate for people with disabilities.
After a long search, we finally signed a lease on a commercial kitchen in the Twin Cities. At the
time, we were both teaching full-time during the day. We baked 2 nights a week and sold
products online, at events, expos, and markets in the Twin Cities.
In April of 2017, we were fortunate to have Ashton Kutcher share a video about our company to
his social media platforms as “A business anyone can get behind.” Once this happened, we
increased our hours of production and gained local retailer interest.
In 2018, to meet industry expectations, we shifted our business model to scale our production
and ultimately greater serve our mission through increased distribution. Retailer demand grew in
Minnesota as we built a loyal customer base that started requesting our products in grocery and
pet stores in the area. As word of mouth spread, more stores and customers outside MN came
What were the goals of the company when it got started? How have those changed and
evolved as the company as grown?
“When we first started the company, our goal was to provide employment opportunities both in
the kitchen as well as out in the community at brewery and community events. We wanted to
provide paid employment opportunities for our ambassadors while providing the vocational
training needed to work toward independent employment.
After our business model shifted in 2018, we were excited to move our team members out of the
kitchen and provide greater opportunities in the community. Our ambassadors now work as our
marketing and sales teams out in the markets our products are sold, educating retail partners,
customers and corporate executives about the importance of advocacy, inclusion and
perseverance. Finley’s strives to be a stepping stone for every ambassador to gain the skills
they need to move to greater employment independence.”
How has employing individuals with disabilities had a big benefit on your company? How do you think we can inspire other companies to do the same?
“Because of our mission, Finley’s has been able to partner with some amazing manufacturing,
marketing and retail partners who stand behind what we are doing. We get to be a voice for
inclusion to other companies and give our ambassadors a platform to share their stories about
what employment opportunities mean to them.”
What are some of the biggest challenges that you have faced while running a company?
“As two former teachers, we’ve had to prove our ability to be in the business world. We are often
questioned about our ability to grow and run a company, and compete in the CPG space. We
have been very fortunate to be surrounded by an amazing team of advisors, stakeholders, and
Board members who believe in our products and mission, to guide key decisions as we scale.
We have been able to prove that with the right products, determination, and faith, we’re
accomplishing what we set out to do. The retail landscape is always evolving, with hurdles and
expectations for new brands that force us to pivot often, or “fail fast.” We have hard days but we
have always pushed forward staying focused on our mission. We’ve learned a “no” is always a
not yet, and to serve our purpose we have to live outside our comfort zone.”
What are your favorite parts about running this company?
“There is nothing more rewarding than being able to offer a paid position to an ambassador who
has never had the opportunity to work before. The people are by far the very BEST part of
running this company. Hearing their stories, watching them grow individually and celebrating
their successes far outweighs the challenges.”
What are the best ways that people can support your company?
“Spread the word about Finley’s to your favorite stores, purchase our products, and share your
stories or furry loved ones enjoying Finley’s on social media!”
In the next 5-10 years, what are some fun goals or things that you hope to implement into the company?
“As COVID lifts and life returns to the new normal we look forward to getting our teams back out into the community as much as possible. Creating jobs across the country, sharing through
advocacy platforms, and growing awareness of inclusion. Of course, we have some new
product ideas up our sleeve but you will have to wait for that!”
Anything else that you would like to share with the community?
“You can learn more about us and use our store locator to find products near you at:
www.getfinleys.com. Our products are also sold on: Amazon, Chewy.com and Target.com”