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Now browsing: Hometown News > News > Volusia County

DeLand girl minds her business, donates profits to animal cause
Rating: 2.09 / 5 (34 votes)  
Posted: 2013 Mar 01 - 06:11

By Erika Webb

A bit of advice for Ellen Degeneres: Have your people call Emily Rose Coffield's people before a line forms. Better yet, just have them call her directly. Emily prefers to take care of business herself.

And business she has.

The petite third grader exhausts her mother, Jessica Coffield. In this case, that's a good problem.

"I have to rein her in or she'd do everything," Ms. Coffield said.

Emily ventured into the business world two years ago, making aprons with her grandmother who sold them at work. The profits went to the Halifax Humane Society at Christmastime.

"I couldn't find a place for her to volunteer with me because she was too young," Ms. Coffield said.

"So I came up with my own thing," Emily said.

The apron enterprise was short-lived by design, Ms. Coffield said, just a one-shot venture, an experiment in volunteerism.

But Emily doesn't do things half way. She wanted to give more.

The "dream in her pocket," her mother said, was to start a business that would continue to benefit animals.

That's how Pups Dream Treats was born.

"It started when I went to the store and saw dog treats," Emily said. "I looked at the price and they were really expensive, so I went online and found recipes. The ingredients weren't expensive."

Once again, her grandmother was up for the task and she and Emily took to the kitchen, creating five different types of dog treats: apple pupcakes, beef, bacon, sweet potato treats and pumpkin balls.

The family dog, Roxy, chosen and named by Emily, was the taste tester and chose the sweet potato treats, paws down.

"We tried it three ways and each time the dog went to the sweet potato treat first," Ms. Coffield said.

That one became "Roxy's Pick."

Since any successful entrepreneur knows the importance of marketing, Emily set about networking.

She went to a party with her mother and met Kimberly Cline, owner of Funky Trunk Treasures in downtown DeLand. Ms. Cline's shop is filled with eclectic art and accessories.

Naturally she's always on the prowl for new talent.

Ms. Cline, a photographer, was hired to take pictures at the party. Emily was working the room and the two struck up a conversation.

"Are you an artist?" Ms. Cline asked.

"No, but I own my own business," Emily replied.

"When she explained what she was doing with the dog treats, I asked her if she'd like to come downtown and sell her treats at an event for animals," Ms. Cline said. "She pulls out her iPhone and starts taking my information: 'What's your name again? What is your number and when is a good time to call you?'"

Ms. Cline was amused, and impressed.

The animal event was the Krewe of Amalee annual Mardi Gras dog parade Jan. 26.

My Angel with Paws Inc., a non-profit service dog organization in DeLand, had a silent auction at Funky Trunk Treasures during Fourth Friday DeLand Art Walk the night before the parade. Ms. Cline made the arrangements and Emily sold her dog treats that night and the next day at the organization's booth at the parade.

"On Friday (night) we were here until 10:30, later than Emily's used to being out," Ms. Coffield said. "I told her she didn't have to come back downtown for the parade on Saturday if she didn't want to, but Emily was the one who really wanted to go back."

That weekend Emily earned $234, half of which she donated to My Angel with Paws.

"She did all the work," Ms. Coffield said. "She talked to customers, explained what she was doing, sold it. She did very good and we're very proud of her."

Ms. Coffield said Emily donates half and keeps half, but not for herself.

"Emily buys all of the supplies to make the treats," Ms. Coffield said. "Because this was her second business adventure, I wanted her to learn that there are costs and responsibilities, a work load."

As dads often will, Emily's helped her get started. He sold her first batch of treats at work. The $144 yield went back into the business for ingredients to make the treats she sold at Fourth Friday and the dog parade, she said.

"I have a feeling there'll be more," her mom said, prompting enthusiastic nods and smiles from Emily.

Aside from buying, baking and selling, Emily created her own business cards and wrote her own bio for the marketing display she created.

"They (My Angel with Paws) were so happy with my progress that they asked me to come sell dog treats at a temperament program on April 6, where dogs come (from all around the state)," Emily said. "They (dogs) have a test. I think they have to be nice."

Marylou Weiner, a member of the organization's board of directors and a My Angel with Paws supporter, said Emily was invited to join the group at their booth at the dog parade "because of her help and winning personality."

Emily's naturally animated eyes light up even more when she talks about animals. The family has four cats and one dog; three are rescues.

Two of the cats, Charlie and Midnight, just showed up at their door.

"Both me and my mom love animals," she said. "So we were like OK, come on in. It's my dad we have to convince."

Emily is nothing if not convincing, so the cats stayed.

She said helping animals is her first priority, but eventually she would like to do something to help children who are sick.

She has other passions, including acting, dancing and writing.

The straight-A student has twice won the young author's award -- in first grade for a poem she wrote about her mother and in second grade for a fictional account of a dog and a lamp that decided to trade lives. Each character thought the other had an easier job. So the lamp guarded the house and the dog agreed to light it.

When the house, "in a country setting," was robbed, the dog didn't light up and the lamp didn't scare away the intruders. So they went back to being who they were, each doing what each was suited for doing.

What a concept.

"She's going for a third (win) this year," Ms. Coffield said.

"I'm a really good dancer, too," Emily said.

But she's not bragging. Emily will just as quickly reveal what she doesn't think she's good at doing.

"I'm not good at hip-hop," she said. "My best friend is really good at it."

What about math?

"Math, I don't like but I always end up getting awards in it," she said grinning.

Emily Rose Coffield describes herself as an actress, dancer, writer and business person. With strawberry blonde hair, bright green eyes and the tiniest smattering of freckles across her nose, she looks like a mini Meryl Streep.

"I'm gonna get bigger and bigger and bigger and be on the Ellen Show," she said.

"I'm gonna get you and me on Ellen one day," she told Ms. Cline.

Ellen may want to strike while the iron is hot.

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