Female Founder Feature – Debbie Hendrickx


Debbie Hendrickx is the Owner and gelato maker of Swell, gelato for dogs; she finds inspiration in simple, delicious ingredients as well as the lessons she learns from her furry customers.

Tell us about your company. What inspired you to start it?

When my 18 year retail career came to an end in 2016, I decided to take the summer off and only do things I loved. I am passionate about dogs and love making gelato so I bought a bright orange cart and took to the local dog parks for the summer with my homemade gelato for dogs. It was an instant hit and I knew that was my now or never moment. Swell, gelato for dogs was officially launched after that summer

Who are your co-founders and what makes you a great team?

I am still a company of one but growing quickly, so Swell is in the process of scaling up.

How is your company making a difference?

Swell, gelato for dogs keeps things simple. The motto is: don’t over-complicate things. Use great ingredients , don’t take shortcuts and make a real connection with your customers. Dogs are the most wonderful beings and they keep life simple too. They just want to be loved and show you their love so they deserve the very best.

What are some of the challenges you have faced?

Launching my product in other states where I don’t have the home girl advantage. Growing while keeping a small business authenticity.

What is your biggest win?

As a mid-life warrior, taking the risk to launch Swell business and actually making it happen đŸ™‚

Who is your role model?

I get inspired on a daily basis. It is always by those with high integrity who follow their passion.

What do you wish you had known before starting your company?

The importance of finding a supporting business network right from the start( or even before the start).  Initial struggles that you think are unique to your business more often than not are quite common. A strong support network can help you navigate those tricky start-up waters.

Anything else you want people to know?

Dogs are the great equalizer in today’s crazy world. No matter what beliefs, political opinions, age, gender… a dog lover is a dog lover and when they come together to do fun activities with their dogs none of the other stuff matters. There are great lessons to be learned from our dogs.

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