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The Successful Story Behind 'Lily's Kitchen'
- Jun 11, 2018 -

                                                      

There were times when Henrietta Morrison felt like giving up when trying to get her pet food idea off the ground.

She knew the type of products she wanted to sell, but finding a factory prepared to make them her way proved far more difficult than expected.

Unlike most mass-produced pet food, Henrietta wanted to use fresh meat as well as less predictable ingredients, such as vegetables and even blueberries.

"They laughed at me - they literally thought I was mad," she recalls after trekking to factory after factory in 2008.

But as luck would have it, her search coincided with the recession, which meant one factory had spare capacity. It agreed to make pet food using fresh ingredients, and Henrietta's brand, Lily's Kitchen, was born.

The idea came to her after Lily, her border terrier, became ill and refused to eat her normal food. In a last-ditch attempt to tempt Lily back to her bowl, Henrietta started cooking meals for her featuring lamb, lentils and vegetables in the kitchen of their north London home.

The trick worked, and got Henrietta thinking: "Why doesn't pet food smell delicious and have human-grade ingredients?"

She became a "woman on a mission", quitting in the final stages of a three-year garden design course, and remortgaging her house, in a bid to make her dream a reality.

"I know it sounds crazy, but I had this sense of urgency - I thought I had to set up a pet food company because thousands of people like me are unwittingly feeding their pets food that is making them ill."

There were just seven products in the initial range - including chicken and turkey casserole for dogs, which remains the company's most popular product. There are now 90, spanning both wet and dry food for cats as well as dogs, along with "treats".

After initially selling through vets, independent retailers, and from its own website for about five years, Ocado and then Waitrose started selling Lily's Kitchen products.


Henrietta went to a Waitrose store to see how the items looked on the shelves, only to be convinced that she had made a terrible mistake by expanding to supermarkets.

Her dog food was directly above a pack of six of bestseller Pedigree Chum - but one can of Lily's Kitchen cost the same as the multipack from US giant Mars.

"This is not going to work - people are not going to understand the difference," the 49-year-old remembers thinking at the time. "It did really shake my confidence."

Those fears turned out to be misplaced - "we have done incredibly well at Waitrose" - and were followed by deals with Tesco, Morrisons, Pets at Home and Sainsbury's.

Her faith was not misplaced. The business now has an annual turnover of £40m and 67 employees. Many members of staff have come from far bigger consumer goods companies, and all have a stake in the firm.


                                            The reasons behind the success, and what 'Sweet pet' are pursuing !


1,Producing what the market needs - even if it is a niche market - and even if customer does not recognize you short term.

This might sounds obvious, but sometime this has been somewhat neglected by organizations who focus solely on the profit itself, in nowadays business world. How many times did we encounter the experience that our organization needs to make a choice purely based on financial reasons? Surely gaining profit is a first priority for most of the organizations, but without ingratiating ourselves with what is truly needed for the consumers, the profit is unlikely to last long. There is an old Chinese saying 'shui dao qu cheng', which simply standards for 'When conditions are right, success will follow naturally, and I can not agree with this more. 


2, Be passionate about what you are doing, all the time, even if sometime it is turely discourage!

Imagine she gave up when she thought 'it is not going to work out'. there simply will not be a Lily's Kitchen anymore. Indeed, passion is what carries 'the women in mission' all the way to the success. More importantly, it gaves you an invaluable power to confront those sore moments. 


3, Be an observer.

How normally it is when a pet simply get tired of a regular diet?  and how often it is when you are hit from something falls down? yet one person developed Lily's Kitchen, and one developed the theory of gravity.  There are small things around us, and if we are careful enough to notice them,we might leave something to this world. Though it might not sound totally relevant, this is a quote for you, for all of us. 'You can never change to world by listening what the world tell you to do.'