We had the good fortune of connecting with Michelle & Michael Yencho and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michelle & Michael, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The entirety of our success comes from our commitment to transparency, honesty, and putting quality above ‘the bottom line’. We’ve cultivated trust within the Colorado Springs community because we do things differently than every other dog food company on the market.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
There are 2 major differences between Butterfly (Dog) Food and virtually every other dog food on the market.
First, we achieve well rounded nutrition through 100% whole foods. Other brands lean on the use of synthetic vitamins & minerals. Our commitment to 100% whole foods also means we use zero preservatives, fillers, meat byproducts, diseased meat, added hormones, antibiotics, chemicals or artificial anything! Yes, most other dog foods contain most or all of these yucky ingredients.
The second main difference is that Butterfly (Dog) Food is 100% human grade. This is a big deal because there are little to no regulations around ‘feed grade’ ingredients. Pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, GMOs, and chemicals are used freely in the growth & processing of ‘feed grade’ ingredients used in most commercial dog foods. (Not us!!!)
Our ingredients come from our own organic farm in Colorado Springs. Anything we can’t grow comes from a family-owned & local restaurant food supply company. We buy Colorado-grown and organic ingredients whenever possible, and are always 100% non-GMO
The dog food industry is plagued with little regulatory oversight, ambiguity, and very low standards for processing & ingredients allowed in the food. We’re successful because our standards are leaps and bounds above the rules set forth by the AAFCO and state & federal governments for safety. We conduct costly lab testing that ensures our food contains excellent nutrition and that the clams we make on our label are actually true.
We tell it like it is and we’re always open to an honest conversation about how & why we do what we do. We’ve been doing it for 12 years and our only goal is to help dogs live long, healthy lives.
Has it always been easy, no? The hardest thing we’ve encountered is awareness; letting people know we exist. Like any small business, we have to be careful where we spend our marketing dollars. The biggest thing we’ve learned is to figure out where the greatest density of our target market is, and focus our energy there. This takes trial & error both in messaging, timing, and location.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Colorado Springs has some rad outdoor trails, many of which are dog friendly. The Yucca Flats area of Palmer Park is beautiful and off-leash. We also enjoy Bear Creek Canon Park and Ute Valley Park for on-leash trail hikes.
For food, we love and frequent: 503W for lunch, Elephant Thai for authentic Thai food, Pueblo Viejo on N. Academy for great Mexican, The Famous for a high-end steak dinner, Adam’s Mountain Cafe in Manitou Springs for lunch, Green Line Grill for killer burgers, FH Beerworks for local brews & great tacos, La Baguette for amazing french onion soup, Monse’s Pupuseria for El Salvadorian goodness, and if you happen to be flying out of the Denver airport, my all time favorite Asian salad is from Etai’s Bakery in the airport.
For shopping I like Old Colorado City, in particular Heart Shake Studios, Conscious Living, and Eclectic Co.
And at the end of the day, wind with a donation-based yoga class at Cambio Yoga, a locally owned studio with a lot of heart!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
A big thanks to the catalyst who led us to create Butterfly (Dog) Food, our dearly departed BJ. BJ was our dog and best friend. 12 years ago she was diagnosed with cancer and given just 3-6 MONTHS to live. Unwilling to accept this fate, we went on a tireless journey to understand canine nutrition and whole food diets for dogs. We developed our own fresh blend of dog food, fed it exclusively to BJ, and she ended up living 8 more YEARS!!! Out of love for her, we decided to create this business and share Butterfly (Dog) Food with others. We owe her all of our drive, passion, and fortitude. And we cannot forget our human families, who have supported our dreams in a million and one ways. THANK YOU