This is the second interview in our series featuring local vendors in the San Diego Area. Sue Paul is the proprietor of Flopper’s Garden, an Oceanside-based business that offers all natural botanicals and wellness treats for companion rabbits and other small furries (and the humans that love them). We talked with Sue about how she “grew” her business.
SDHRS: First Question: Is their a Flopper?
Sue: Yes, I named my company in honor of my first rescued rabbit, a beautiful French angora named Bunny Flop. I started the company not only to offer the highest quality pet rabbit botanical products, but also as a way to support the rabbit rescue community.
SDHRS: What are some examples of your products?
Sue: I offer dried herbal mixes and snack supplements, plants, chew treats, and my new hydroponic bunny garden. I use gentle culinary and wild herbs, grasses, leaves, and flowers to create products that support a rabbit’s natural diet and that appeal to their foraging nature.
SDHRS: How do herbs and botanicals help rabbits?
SUE: Herbs are special types of plants that are useful as food, flavoring, or as a therapeutic agent to bring about a change in the body. Some herbs are nourishing, some tonify, some stimulate or calm (and some are potential poisons to rabbits). In today’s world of monoculture agriculture, which doesn’t give a rabbit the full nutrition and wellness benefits from the wild herbs and grasses they would selectively feed from in their natural environment, products like mine offer back into the diet what a rabbit would normally find in the wild.
SDHRS: You have a reputation for purity and quality in your products. How do you develop your blends?
Sue: Much thought goes into each of my products. I only use organically grown botanicals known to be safe for rabbits. I choose certified organic suppliers with high standards and a good reputation in the natural medicine field. They adhere to strict procedures concerning the growing, harvesting, handling, drying, and storing of botanicals. This includes lab analysis for quality and consistency. It also includes keeping facilities’ temperature and humidity regulated to protect the aroma and color profile of the botanicals. I make everything in small batches by hand to ensure freshness. Many other products use fruit for palatability, but I’ve managed to avoid that (except cranberry).
My approach is to gently support various systems of the body with food, herbs, and other botanicals to bring the body back into balance and build overall optimal health. Each product is not just for enjoyment or a treat but also has a health focus. My Bunny Bouquet Hay Topper and Organic Snack Crackers are two of my top selling products. They provide extra nutrition and fiber naturally along with other wellness benefits. The crackers support a healthy digestive system while indulging a rabbit’s snack habit and the Hay Topper is a great way to see if a bunny enjoys flowers and herbs. All my products have approval by my resident product testers, too!
SDHRS: How did you get involved in nutrition?
Sue: I am a Holistic Health Practitioner with training in nutrition and natural products, specialty fitness, bodywork therapies, aromatherapy and essential oil therapies, as well as western herbology. I’ve used my skills for over 20 years to help people live healthier lives in harmony with nature. I decided about three years ago to combine this background and my lifelong love of bunnies to create Flopper’s Garden. Since then I’ve been developing my product line, first for my own rabbits and local rabbit rescue community, and now I’m getting organized to make my products more widely available.
SDHRS: Your job sounds like fun!
Sue: Being very food oriented myself and curious about natural nutrition and holistic health, I love researching about potential health benefits of plants. I enjoy the challenge of creating new combinations that offer benefits in a delivery form that rabbits enjoy. It’s especially fun when going through the new product development process to test for enjoyment with my own rabbits, especially when I get a winner!
SDHRS: How can people obtain your products?
Sue: Some of my products are available through the San Diego House Rabbit Society Bunny Store and some from BinkyBunny.com. Or by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling me at (760)231-6653.