What did you do before Lily’s Kitchen took off?
I set up and ran a magazine publishing company, producing recruitment magazines for students and graduates. Starting a pet food business was not a planned move – but came about when my border terrier Lily became ill from eating mass-produced pet food. I was in the middle of a gardening landscaping course, which then had to go on hold.
Talk us through how you created it.
Lily’s was simply named after and created for my terrier. She’s at the heart of my family and her battle with itchy skin became the inspiration for this healthy pet food. Once I discovered what regular pet food was made from, I decided to cook Lily’s meals from scratch using proper, natural ingredients.
The transformation in her health was so remarkable I knew I had to share my recipes with other pet owners who, like me, are looking for a nutritious meal they can trust to be the best for their pet. Every recipe we make is filled with the best ingredients we can find, without including any nasty additives and derivatives usually lurking in pet food.
Each new recipe is created with vets and nutritionists – and of course taste tested by the team of office dogs or cats. Nothing gets launched unless Lily gives it her official paw of approval.
What flavour is most popular?
Our most loved is our Chicken and Turkey Casserole. It’s one of the original recipes I created in 2008 and we haven’t had the need to change it, other than to upgrade to chelates minerals, which absorb more easily than standard ones. Our new Sunday Lunch tin for dogs is proving exceptionally popular as pet owners find themselves wanting to share family occasions with their pets too.
And which didn’t sell?
Well they’re all someone’s favourite, but we do get feedback about our Fish Skins smelling very fishy… not very surprising.
When did you move to north London?
We’ve always been based in Hampstead – I started the company literally from my kitchen table. I still live here with Lily and her granddaughter Lulu, along with a few human family members, and we all, along with all the office dogs, enjoy a daily walk on the beautiful Heath.
Your HQ is on Wilkin Street Mews next to Camden Brewery.
Our office is in Hampstead but yes, the warehouse is in Kentish Town. We service all our London-based independent stockists from here including pet shops, vet clinics, delis and organic food shops. You might see one of our two Lily’s Kitchen vans out and about.
Is it true that broccoli is bad for dogs?
We use lots of freshly prepared meat along with vibrant veg and fruit in our recipes to deliver all the nutrients a dog needs, naturally and safely and in the right proportions. Broccoli is a great addition to a dog’s diet, providing a fibre and vitamin C. As with everything, moderation is key.
What’s next for Lily’s Kitchen?
We’re going to increase awareness of our food so that more pet owners across the country are able to make an informed choice about what to feed their pets. We’re also growing in Italy, Sweden and The Netherlands.