NOBLESVILLE — What one Noblesville mother calls an e-learning failure led her daughter to a whole new kind of hands-on learning.
Colette Depoy is now in the first grade, but last spring in the onset of the pandemic, she was a spunky kindergartner full of energy and her parents struggled to keep her on task while they also worked.
Maggie Depoy is her mother and a special education teacher.
"Trying to run my online courses as well as keep my, who was at the time a kindergartner, active and learning was exhausting," Maggie said.
She says at one point, Colette asked for a new toy and they told her no. That led to an idea for how she could earn money on her own for the new toy.
"She said, 'Well I want to pay with it with my own money, how do I get my own money?' And so then we started talking about starting a business," Maggie said. "I said, 'Well what are you good at?' And she said, 'Well I can walk dogs.' And I said, 'Well you are great at walking dogs. That's actually a fun idea.'"
Colette got to work. What started as walking her own dog, Maverick, turned into walking nearly 15 local dogs in the neighborhood.
"Then we would post about the dogs and what we learned as we were walking the dogs, then we started to make treats for the dogs, and then the treats took off," Maggie said.
And a new business was born.
"It's called Lette Lou's Dog Business," says Colette. "And it's really fun. And it's like shaped like little hearts."
The dog treats get cooked up in the Depoy kitchen. The business is legitimate as the family got an LLC and Colette worked with a graphic designer on her logo with a brand named after her nickname.
For Colette, the dog treat business has made learning more fun and hands-on.
"We make them in the kitchen with my mom and sometimes my dad helps and sometimes my friends help too," Colette said. "I learned like counting money, and how to make stuff, and how to use things in the kitchen. And like I've been learning how to measure and stuff with those little squeezy pipe things. And it's just been really fun to learn in my business."
Every step of the process is a chance to learn.
"So if we were shipping treats to someone we did geography. If we were being paid, we learned fiscal responsibility," Maggie said.
With the past year of virtual learning, hybrid models and some in-person learning, Maggie shares this advice with fellow moms and educators.
"I think that there is a life lesson in everything that we are doing, any interaction throughout the day that you have, anything that kids are actively working on, there's a lesson in all of that, and they will continue to learn," says Maggie.
Colette already delivered her first wholesale order this past month. She also contributes to local charities quarterly.
You can learn more about Lette Lou's dog treats online.