Eleven-year-old Harper Marston of Hartford started her dog biscuit-making business, Church Street Treats, this spring following some research and some trial and error on what worked best for herself and her family.

Harper Marston of Hartford holds a dog bone-shaped cookie cutter and packaging she uses when making her dog biscuits for her business, Church Street Treats. Marston tried other small businesses for herself but decided this one was best and allowed her to be more independent, she said. Submitted photo

Part of her decision-making process, she said, was finding something she could do without a lot of help from her parents, although her parents and younger sister do help her in the making and selling of the product. Her mother, Jaymie Marston, said that she and Harper’s father, Mike Marston, “both knew that Harper could learn a lot from this experience regardless of the level of success. We knew she’d be able to express herself creatively, which is very much Harper’s style,” Jaymie said.

What inspired you to start making and selling dog biscuits? Tell us about your research in choosing your business and why you chose it instead of others. Well, I have been wanting to start a small company for a while now. I researched on the internet different ways for kids to make money. The first business I tried was a spa business but that wasn’t very successful because it was hard to get customers. They would have to come to my house, or my parents would have to bring me to theirs. I only actually had a couple family members as customers. Plus the cost was kind of expensive because the supplies cost a lot of money. I decided that wasn’t what I wanted to do.

After that I made bracelets I was going to sell, but a few of my friends do that and I wanted to do something different. So I kept looking online and when I saw the idea for dog treats, me and my mom looked on YouTube and Pinterest for different recipes.

I decided it was definitely something I could do independently without a lot of help from my parents, and I also know that a lot of people have dogs and would probably buy them from me because they aren’t that expensive and they are so healthy for dogs.

Question for Harper’s mom Jaymie: Why did you agree to let Harper set up her business? What are you hoping she will learn from her experience and what are some things that she and your family have learned so far? Harper’s dad and I completely support her journey in entrepreneurship. We both knew that she could learn a lot from this experience regardless of the level of success. We knew she’d be able to express herself creatively, which is very much Harper’s style.


We also knew she would learn how to manage her time, problem-solve, and communicate safely online. It seemed like a great hands-on way for her to learn about money and money management. She’s a pretty unique little girl and she has such a wide range of hobbies and interests. She already knows she wants to go to college someday and we wholeheartedly believe that she is destined to do really amazing things.

Whenever she comes to us with a new idea or wanting to try something new, we always try to make it happen for her. We’ve all spent a lot of time in the kitchen helping her and it’s given us hours of quality time as a family. We are behind her every step of the way, and this opportunity seems like something she can sustain for years if she continues to take it seriously. If she outgrows her business, or gets too busy, I think her little sister would love to take over.

Harper Marston talks about her dog biscuit business, Church Street Treats, with her mother, Jaymie Marston. Both of Harper’s parents support her in her entrepreneurial ideas and Harper’s younger sister, Hannah, helps her with making the biscuits. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

Has Church Street Treats been successful? Have you had some problems along the way and what have you done to resolve them? Church Street Treats has been very successful right from my first post I made on my mom’s Facebook page. I never expected so many people to respond. I’m very happy with how many people keep ordering my treats and I even have regular customers already. I am happy I’ve been able to put more money than I thought in my bank. In other words, business is booming.

The only problem I have faced so far is that with my sports and stuff, I don’t always have a lot of time to make all the bones (dog biscuits) people want but that’s a good problem, I guess. One of my customers told me that their treats molded in like a week or so. That was a big problem. We solved the problem by putting them in a dehydrator and now they last way longer, like at least three months. It’s all worth it because there are always going to be problems with everything and some are bigger than others, but you just have to figure it out.

What are the ingredients in your biscuits? Describe how you and your family work together to make your dog biscuits and who does the clean-up work. What is your and your sister Hannah’s favorite part of making dog biscuits?

I only use three ingredients and they are all natural ingredients. Instead of white flour, which can be more harsh on dogs’ tummies, I grind my own oats into flour. Me and my family always work together because it takes a long time to make a batch of treats. I can do mostly everything by myself now, but my mom runs the dehydrator. I have never done that. Sometimes when we make bigger batches, I need help making sure I get the math right when we make way more than the recipe calls for.

My sister, Hannah, is my assistant and she helps a lot. She loves dogs probably more than me so she always wants to help make the treats. We always mix the ingredients in one bowl, but me and Hannah both use our hands to mix everything really well. Then we all roll our own chunk of dough out onto wax paper and use the bone cookie cutters until we fill all the trays in the dehydrator. My mom cleans the kitchen usually, but she tells me all the time that needs to be part of the job too. My dad helps pick everything up too. We all usually pick up the mess, but my parents usually wash the dishes and the floor after we are done.

How and where can people find out more about your business and where are your treats available? Right now I mostly post on my mom’s Facebook page and then share it with my dad and my Grammie’s and Nana’s Facebook pages, but we talked about making a page just for my company where people can join and order what they want. I think when summer vacation starts we might do that. If you want some of my dog treats but don’t order them on Facebook, you can buy them at This and That gift shop in Rumford or you can buy them at Northland TrueValue Hardware Store in Turner. The cost for my dog treats is $4 per bag.

Eleven-year-old Harper Marston, left, prepares homemade dog biscuits for her business, Church Street Treats, with her sister, Hannah, at their home in Hartford. Submitted photo

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