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From Contracts to Canines: How Amanda Made Seven Figures in Two Years Selling Plant-Centric Dog Food

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2024

Amanda Rolat had a desirable job as a lawyer, but liked to fill her free time researching health and wellness topics. One of the health topics she most related to was plant based eating. Her other passion is dogs, and she unabashedly revealed she follows more dog Instagram accounts than people accounts. As she learned more about the benefits of a plant-based diet, she sought out plant based dog food, but there was no brand that met her expectations. Learn How Amanda Started her plant centric dog food in our case study.

Case Study

HSS: It must have felt like a huge trade off successful career as an attorney off to this new endeavor to start Bramble. What made you decide it was worth the risk?

Amanda Rolat: Bramble really grew out of wanting to feed my dogs with my own values which include following a more plant centric diet. We don't refer to it as vegan necessarily because you can eat a really highly processed and unhealth vegan diet. For me it's a whole food plant-based diet which in effect ruled out things like kibble and dry food.

I wanted to bring that to other dogs, not just for their health, but I wanted to do it for the environment too. It took me a lot of time to reach out to advisors and mentors. It was also difficult to make those early decisions of should I just hire someone work for me? Should I have a co-founder? Do I want to leave my career to do this? I was attending conferences, and I was in circles where if someone else was doing this, I would have run across them. It got to the point where I realized that someone needs to do this, I think that I'm the right person to do it.

I was also open to a new experience. I understood the need to redefine success in my own terms. Even if the business didn't take off, I recognized that taking this risk would be a personal success, making the journey worthwhile.

HSS: How did you get those initial clients and how did you keep them?

AR: Bramble started as a hobby. I follow a lot of female founders in the health and wellness space on Instagram, and the people I follow practice plant-based eating. That's where I keep up with new products. I also volunteer for animal rescues and I'm one of those people that follows more animals and more dogs on Instagram than people.

From the community I created, I had gotten to know some of the influencers in this space who believed in me and the product. Getting product into people's hands was a combination of leaning on my network on social media, and knowing that people like me would want this product. If you approach people who are already feeding vegan kibble with vegan fresh food they're more inclined to try it.

If they try it and their dog loves it, that encourages people to integrate Bramble into their dog’s diet. The product really product spoke for itself. Dogs loved it and people loved it. Our growth was really organic-for at least the first two years.

  • Insight: Use your network to help evangelize your product.

HSS: How did you handle the competition and how are you able to scale?

AR: Competition is interesting for Bramble, because there's not really competition. If there was competition, I would have probably been feeding that product to my dogs. There are fresh dog food companies and there are vegan kibble companies. I don't consider that direct competition because none of those are the products that I wanted to feed my dogs.

There are people out there who wanted to feed less animal protein to their dogs and whose dogs have allergies or sensitivities to animal protein. The only option on the market for people like that was dry processed food. We have been able to differentiate ourselves by being the only company that has vet formulated trials that prove it's healthier to feed your dog plant based fresh pet food.

The other fresh dog food companies are behemoths compared to Bramble. They've been around for years, and they are doing really well. We have a very niche segment of the market and the big companies don’t seem interested in our niche. Bramble also lends itself really well to being mixed with other vegan kibbles to allow it to reach a more affordable price point.

The other way that I dealt with competition was taking the great advice one of my advisors gave me. They said “You can't pay attention to how many followers someone else has or what they are doing. You need to focus on what you are doing and believe in your product.”

In terms of scaling, we were really lucky that we spent our first two years in one manufacturing facility at the Rutgers Food Innovation Center, which is a place for food startups. We were able to grow the first two years there without moving to different co-packers.

Now that we’ve grown more, we just moved to a much bigger co-manufacturer. It's been a few months of working with new equipment, and encountering some changes to the texture of the recipe. It’s a tradeoff because it’s a slight change to what everyone is used to so that we can manufacture in much larger volumes and we've worked through it. We're still giving our customers what they want at the end of the day even if there are slight differences from the new manufacturing process. We’ve been very transparent with our customers and our base knows the product continues to stay true to our values.

  • Insight: Stay transparent with your customers when changes are happening to maintain trust.

HSS: What would you say was the most pivotal moment in Bramble’s history?

AR: Our move to this new manufacturer. We went from demonstrating proof of concept, to serving a larger consumer base. We’ve gotten through the growing pains of scaling this product, and finding a new home, and we've gotten to the other side of the challenges that come with scaling.

HSS: What is your growth strategy?

AR: We have grown organically and through word of mouth and now, for the first time, we are really investing in digital marketing. We have a digital marketing agency and we have just begun a real push into marketing and PR. We’re now looking to grow faster and we’ll be focusing on brand building, brand awareness, and introducing new product lines.

HSS: What are your lessons learned so far, as you look back on the business?

AR: I have four:

1. You need a thick skin. There are so many moments in a new business that are really hard to push through. I think that there are businesses that maybe don't make it through because of those moments, even if the founder or the product are exceptional.

2. There’s luck involved in success.

3. A lot of success is how you frame it. When I started the business, it was almost like an experiment. I thought to myself, even if this business does not become what I ultimately want it to be, I will still feel like I'll have succeeded.

4. Build community. Building a startup can be lonely and it can be challenging. There are not that many people who really understand this experience. There's a community that you can build out there that helps you believe in your product on the good days and on the bad days.

HSS: Do you have any additional advice for female founded endeavors and businesses?

AR: Lean into the community of other female founders. There's support out there and there are female founders who champion other female founders. They can help bring you up the learning curve and open doors. If nothing else, they can make you really feel like you've got this and that you are doing a good job.

It can be really demoralizing if you're getting a bunch of rejections from investors. Leaning into that female founder community has been one of the most wonderful things that I've seen and learned through this process because they can help you through the highs and lows.

  • Insight: Lean into the community of other female founders.

HSS: Thanks so much for taking the time!


  • Use your network to help evangelize your product.
  • Stay transparent with your customers when changes are happening to maintain trust.
  • Lean into the community of other female founders.

How We Met: LinkedIn

I messaged Amanda and we set up a call over email.