Start-Up Stories – Denzel’s
Looking for some new treats for your pooch/pooches? Look no further! Denzel’s are here to bring your dogs the healthy snacks they deserve! We got to chat with co-founder Nathan Perry about their awesome products…
What is Denzel’s?
Healthy, everyday snacks for dogs. We bring your favourite human snacking trends, such as superfoods, healthy nut butters and protein bars to the pet category. We are a healthy snack brand just for your dog.
How did you know you were ready to start a business?
Together my co-founder and I have worked in the pet category for over 10 years and have always had a passion for start-up brands. We saw a boom in human healthy snacking, and love the brands that are starting to make a real difference in this market. We saw a gap in the pet market for a fun, educational and humanised brand in such an emotive category so took the jump to start on our own.
Your chews have no artificial additives or preservatives, how long did it take to get that recipe just right?
It is a completely unique and new process of making chews. It took about 6 months in total. The hardest part was getting to a texture that was just right for dogs as it is a completely new concept, we actually knew the amazing ingredients we wanted to include our recipes from the very start!
“So lots of trial and error was needed, many hours spent baking”
but we now produce batches of hand-baked chews that are way better and tastier than we could have ever hoped for.
What makes Denzel’s different?
Our chews are hand baked in the UK rather than extruded like many other products out there – and therefore we don’t need to add any sugar, salt or preservatives. We even include fresh fruit!
The branding and communication is also very much targeted at the buyer of the product (like human snack brands) with the flavours we have and the low calorie, low sugar claims.
Pet food can be very confusing and be intimidating for dog owners, with complex packaging and unrecognisable ingredients and claims. So the buyer of our snacks know exactly what they are buying and feeding their dog, so we ensure we clearly communicate our ingredients, calories and nutrient breakdown in an approachable, honest and simple manner. We also include free cards in each pack – which will help educate the whole family on proper dog ownership and nutrition.
“We want to get the whole family involved!”
Why do you think so many start-ups fail? What are you doing differently?
We think one of the main reasons why start-ups fail is cash flow and believe it is crucial to know where you want to end up and what you want to achieve as a brand.
Cashflow can be crippling to small brands, as you are growing very quickly it is easy to have all your cash tied up in stock etc. We have avoided this by working with small, trusted UK suppliers that want to work collaboratively and grow with us. This means that our minimum orders haven’t been huge and we can use available cash for other parts of the business like marketing and PR. We have also teamed up with Virgin Start-up, who have backed us (alongside other human snack brands like Love Corn, Pip and Nut etc). This has given us some funding, a mentor, access to meetups with like-minded businesses and guidelines on how to succeed.
You need to understand where you would like to sell your product, who your competition is, what the right consumer price be should and how you can get there. A lot of startup businesses are unaware of the route to market, margins and costs involved in getting a product right for sale. This can be a nasty shock further down the line and leave companies in a really sticky situation when they can’t make things work.
“Our tip would be to work backwards from your end goal and vision for your brand”
then work out the steps to get there. It doesn’t need to be a concrete plan or a straight line to success, don’t worry.
People across the world are shifting to healthy eating, is it time that we help our pets do the same?
100%. Pets are such an important part of the family. So we feel like they should be fed with the best, and it should be easy to understand what you are feeding them as well. Obesity is on the rise in our pets as owners are often unaware of the contents of their food and treats. If you make healthy choices for your family you should be able to do so for your dog too.
How important is branding when starting a business?
We think branding is everything. Your brand is what makes you more than a product and different from everyone else, consumers want to interact with your brand and come on the journey with you. Of course, you must have a great product and we have worked hard on this, we want pooches to keep coming back for more.
If you could be someone else for a day, who would it be and why?
Dwayne Jonhson ‘The Rock’ – He is a big inspiration to me. It is well known how hard he works having to balance his workouts, movies, family and eating all that food! I find it very impressive and would love to try to manage this for a day.
Where can people find your healthy dog treats?
You can buy these from www.denzels.co.uk as well as lots of good independent pet stores, health stores, farm shops, delis, dog-friendly pubs and cafes across the UK.
What can we expect to see from Denzel’s in the next year?
Big things. We have huge plans for Denzel’s. This includes new exciting recipes and formats, team expansion and lots of cool campaigns. There are lots of exciting new distribution partners in the pipeline. Watch this space!
We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Denzel’s, one thing’s for certain: it’s going to be full of happy pups!
Like this? Be sure to check out our Start-Up Story on FITCH Brew Co here