Dylan Watkins has come far since his first business when he was eleven designing mini models out of clay and selling them. This early insight to starting a business at a young age drew Dylan to a keen sense of entrepreneurial drive.
He ventured to University to study law, however, realised law was far from his passion instead wanted to focus on Public Relations. Dylan was blessed in many ways to have worked with some of the biggest and coolest brands in the world including Apple, Ducati, Disney, worked on the Olympic Handover Beijing, Wonderbra, Innocent, Pedigree, Mars and Pepsico.
Dylan’s life changed, however, when he welcomed a lovely Schnauzer into his life named Poppy. He researched long and hard to find a suitable breeder. A wonderful Schnauzer breeder in the heart of England (Barry Day) called to say he had a little puppy which would be perfect for Dylan. Poppy became a part of Dylan life immediately with love.
When Poppy came into Dylan’s life, he was overweight and decided to overhaul his diet, focusing on fresh, simple ingredients. He was eating quality food every day, however, sticking his hand into packs of dry brown kibble for his beloved dog, Poppy. A light bulb moment occurred, and Dylan started researching dog food – proper dog food. He experimented in his kitchen, using every utensil until he cracked his first recipe.
Dylan then moved to Wiltshire where he met his neighbour, who asked him to make some food for her dogs, then the local butcher, who agreed to work with Dylan to make it. He realised there was an opportunity.
Dylan is now the founder and head of the pack at Poppy’s Picnic: makers of wholesome raw dog food. The food is handmade in the heart of Wiltshire by 4th generation butchers, using the same ingredients humans eat. Dylan is now selling Poppy’s Picnic food across the UK and even internationally, in Hong Kong.
the Jupital had the opportunity to speak with Dylan about his business, Poppy’s Picnic:
the Jupital: What advice would you offer someone who was keen to set up a business from scratch?
“My main piece of advice is to do it. Start with a pen and paper and write, do a mind map, share your idea with friends and family and be ready for changes from the original concept! Starting a business from scratch one needs to embrace the climb up the mountain! You have to be everything from the creator, to the packer, to the customer service executive to the ‘I forgot to order packing tape’! You need passion about what you do, and you also need to find the drive when it is a challenging day. Remember all the things which made you start the business in the first place. I have learnt nothing is perfect – we are far from superhuman! Before Poppy’s Picnic, my other businesses included construction, restaurants and a marketing communications business. All gave me valuable experience and insights which lead to the best inner growth and development. It’s taken my 40 odd years on this planet to realise these valuable experience and insights are what I grow from and make Poppy’s Picnic the company it deserves to be.”
the Jupital: How long does it take to trial and test a new dog food product and what sort of steps do you have to make the dog food agreed by food standards? Is Poppy the “tester” for new food products?
“All of our food carries a seal of approval from Poppy herself! Every time we make our handmade food Poppy eats from every batch. Ethically we want to make sure we make the best food and are looking for ways to improve. We are excited to launch our organic range in 2018. However, such innovation takes time and planning. Recipe development is a full-time commitment, and it’s common to spend upwards of fourteen months to make sure we’ve created the best food. Our food is tested to the highest levels, and we work closely with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to make sure all of their rules and regulations are met, and we go the extra mile. For far too long dry and canned dog and cat products are made with questionable ingredients. Our food is made with the same ingredients you and I would eat, and it is also the food which is biologically proper to their dietary needs. Eating processed foods day-in-day-out might be unhealthy for us, so why make our four-legged friends eat it?”
the Jupital: What is the best thing about working at Poppy’s Picnic?
Poppy’s daughters Katie and Slipper are on our non-executive dog board of testers (and secretly we think Slipper is going to do a takeover and rename the business Slipper Snacks). We have a recruit, Winnie the Cavapoo (15 weeks) who joined the board last week, and we are about to start our search for new wagging tails to join the board. If you have a willing furry friend, let us know! I know what Poppy’s Picnic is doing is changing the lives of the animals we all love and care for, and as we all learn about the benefits of certain foods we eat, this knowledge transferred down to our furry friends.Through Poppy’s Picnic, my knowledge, understanding of food and its benefits for both animals and humans has gone stratospheric. The letters, emails and reviews touch my heart regularly. It is nice to know we have changed the lives of dogs (and owners) which puts the bounce in my step. Our food reduces intolerance, removes medications and ultimately makes pets healthier. Ultimately, I love having Poppy, Slipper and Katie with me and being able to have a fantastic, vibrant and talented team of intelligent brains, abilities and life experience makes working at Poppy’s Picnic a pleasure. “
Poppy’s Picnic complete range offers total dog nutrition and aims to launch two new products “Enhanced” (new raw food with extra oomph!) and new to market “Meatballs”. The range is expanding into treats, an expert range and cat food. Dylan is keen on every cat and dog in the UK, and beyond, to have access to the best quality raw meals – the closest to what they might eat in the wild.
To learn more about Poppy’s Picnic click here. Alternatively, Poppy’ Picnic is active on the following social media streams:
A quality diet may be vital to keeping pets healthy. What other suggestions might there be to keep an animal’s lifestyle healthy?