Cindy James


President/Head BARKtender


Crafty Beasts Brewing Company Limited

Cindy James will provide tips for crafting a visionary business model for pet food on Tuesday, April 30, at 3-3:20 pm during “The pet food market and marketing innovations” concurrent sessions. Register here

What is the single, most important concept you hope attendees will learn from your presentation?

Battling the realities of creating a purpose-led venture with tips on how to stay on track with your vision and purpose.

Please explain the significance of this concept to the pet food industry and your organization:

With the emergence of global climate change realities and the rise of the conscious consumer the opportunity to give back as a business is at its peak.  What was once a “nice to have” is moving towards an obligation to be part of the solution contributing to the 17 UN Sustainability goals leading up to 2030.

When I started brewing dog beer in 2018 I embedded a purpose in our company. That purpose was to create a product that would give back by using food waste, by-products and/or up cycled ingredients as the foundation for our healthy, hydrating brews. Two things matter most to us, the health and wellness of both the pets we serve (literally we serve beer) and to be a contributor to as many of the 17 UN Sustainability goals as possible.

What are potential next stages?

As I will mention in my presentation, achieving our purpose is not as easy as it sounds. A readily available supply of clean upcycled ingredients that meet our production needs has been a challenge to source. Great organizations like Upcycled Food Association in the US and companies like Still Good Foods in Canada are making inroads to increasing the supply chain. Personally, I think it will take time for new innovations and our industry support to grow and diversify what is available to the pet food industry.

Presentation Description:

Pawsitively purpose-driven: Crafting a visionary business model for pet food — James unveils a pioneering business model that integrates purpose into every aspect of pet food operations, focusing on the romance versus reality story her company is experiencing. She covers practical strategies to integrate purpose into your pet food business, from sourcing to marketing; the benefits of purpose-driven practices, including enhanced brand reputation and customer loyalty; and the real challenges created by staying true to a mission.


Cindy James is an inventor, problem solver, leader and a “Silverpreneur” with a dynamic and diverse background in both the pet and education industries and a career spanning more than two decades. In the pet industry, she has been a driving force in promoting responsible pet ownership and animal welfare, including owning a dog daycare in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and culminating in starting Crafty Beasts Brewing Co. in 2020. Over time, she evolved into an advocate for pet nutrition, leading her company to improve the health and wellness of our four-legged companions. As an educator, small business coach and university administrator, James has had the privilege of shaping the minds of future generations and aspiring entrepreneurs, designing and implementing programs that empower learners of all ages to excel academically and personally.