A tale of unplanned pregnancies, foster dogs and uncommercial decisions by Jonathan Self, Honey’s founder
Before I knew what was happening, my small holding (no one could seriously call it a proper farm) was knee deep in piglets.
One day after a soccer match with the piglets (they were keen players, but I could never get them to understand the offside rule), I found I had gone right off meat.
This wouldn’t have mattered, except that I was fostering half a dozen dogs and feeding them a natural diet of raw meat and bone.
It didn’t seem fair for my own change of heart to affect their well-being.
So, I searched for an ethical raw dog food company – one that shared my hatred of factory farming – and when I couldn’t find one, decided to launch my own.
Since my main objective was to feed my dogs the best possible diet, I didn’t really think of what I had started as a business.
Run from a friend’s kitchen, it supplied food to the dogs I was looking after, as well as to a handful of dog lovers who had heard what we were doing.
As we weren’t interested in generating a profit we happily showed anyone who asked us how to make their own raw dog food.
We would also offer advice, tips and recipes and – if they had a poorly dog – we would pay our vet to help them, too.
It is a policy that we still operate now.
In fact, to the best of my knowledge, we are the only dog food producer in the world that actively shows people how NOT to become customers.
We are pretty uncommercial in other respects:
Incidentally, if you become a customer you will receive my personal email address so that you can always reach me with comments, suggestions, criticisms or complaints.
We feel it is vitally important to know all about our four-legged customers. This is why we always:
As a result of this approach:
Honey’s has never gone in for advertising or promotion.
Instead, we have always relied on happy customers and people we have helped to spread the word.
However, in 2010 we did publish Honey’s Natural Feeding Handbook, which has since sold over 50,000 copies (on top of all the copies we have given away for free).
There has been a television documentary based on our work, articles in the newspapers and other books, but it hasn’t changed the sort of company we are.
The fact is we never want to be anything other than a small, artisan business. We don’t want to put our energy into growing bigger just for the sake of it. What is important to us is being able to:
Incidentally, I have never given up my day job (by trade I am a journalist) to run Honey’s. Instead, it has been managed by more or less the same team for the last decade. In 2019 I took the decision to set up an employee share trust, which will make it more of a partnership arrangement. Our MD, by the way, is my son, Nathaniel.
I have tried to paint a picture of the sort of company Honey’s is.
If you have any questions or require extra information, please do to get in touch with me directly.