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Work in Progress Episode 2 – Life outside the London bubble

Could your location make or break your business? Bex Burn-Callander chats with owners who have built businesses in Thirsk, Margate and London, learning how they made the most of local advantages and overcame any regional challenges.  

We'll be speaking to

Judy Bell, founder of Shepherds Purse, which produces award-winning cheeses from sheep’s milk. The Yorkshire-based business supplies the likes of M&S, and also makes cheese on behalf of Alex James of Blur fame.

Kevin Glynn and David Nolan launched home-cooked dog food delivery brand Butternut Box to help pet owners give their beloved pooches a better diet. The firm started life in London but now delivers nationwide.

Dom Bridges started his skin and haircare brand Haeckels after moving his family to Margate. The business harvests botanicals from the coastline to make its range of products, which are sold around the world.

After a quick summary?

For Judy, who started making cheese on her family farm, Thirsk was the natural home for her business. She believes the thriving food and drinks industry in Yorkshire has helped the brand to resonate with consumers and buyers alike. The challenge was to find local talent.  

“We’re in the middle of nowhere,” admits Judy. But as the business has grown, great people have sought out the brand, and Shepherds Purse invests heavily in training and internal promotion. 

“We didn’t want to be a high end, chi-chi dog food company aiming exclusively at London... That was our idea of hell. We want to appeal to everyone.”

David, Co-Founder of Butternut Box

While Butternut Box’s headquarters is in London, 60% of sales are now outside the capital, reveals Kevin. “We didn’t want to be a high end, chi-chi dog food company aiming exclusively at London,” adds David. “That was our idea of hell. We want to appeal to everyone.”  

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Commuting time is non-existent for Dom, who lives 100 yards from his shop in Margate. The first-time entrepreneur sources raw materials from the local seaside, which makes the location crucial to Haeckels’ success.  

It all comes down to the quality of your business, the entrepreneurs agree. A good business, great product, and a strong story can work from almost anywhere. 

The views and opinions expressed by any individuals interviewed or participating in our Work in Progress podcasts are their own and do not represent the views or opinions of Asto.


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Shepherds Purse  | Butternut Box | Haeckels