A Wiltshire-based pet food entrepreneur is going for growth after securing a new 4,000sq ft manufacturing facility.
Part of NatWest’s Entrepreneur Accelerator Programme, Dylan Watkins, who owns Poppy’s Picnic, which provides raw, nutritional meals for dogs, has secured the new facility to accommodate growing demand for his unique product range.
Entrepreneur Dylan was inspired to set up the business in October 2016, after recognising a niche in the market for clean un-processed dog food, following a health kick which saw him overhaul his diet. Scrutinising his own food made him realise he was still feeding Poppy, his Miniature Schnauzer, the same processed food every day and decided to experiment by creating healthier versions of the food she enjoyed.
Poppy’s Picnic has been part of the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator Programme – a scheme for high growth businesses - for the past 18 months. With the help of the bank, the business has raised more than £600,000 in crowd funding, enabling it to grow from an idea founded in Dylan’s kitchen, to a business valued at £4.8milllon.
The manufacturing plant in Melksham, Wiltshire will be operational in Q4 and will support the production of online orders, as well as enabling the business to expand its retail order capabilities. Later this year the Poppy’s Picnic will expand its product range further, by launching a first of its kind nutritious raw cat food as well as expanding into Asia following high numbers of sales in Hong Kong.
Dylan said: “I’m proud at just how far Poppy’s Picnic has progressed this year. My mentors on the NatWest Accelerator Programme have been fantastic; they have helped me channel my energy in the right directions, empowered me to build a strong team, and enabled us to make strategic decisions for our future growth. Our new production facility is in the advance stages of planning and we have already brought new and innovative products to the market. The NatWest Accelerator Programme has been invaluable in focusing our vision for an even more exciting future and has helped us to become an award-winning company.”
Sharad Verma, Business Growth Enabler at NatWest, said: “Dylan opened his first NatWest account at the age of 11, and since joining NatWest’s Entrepreneur Accelerator Programme, it is clear he has an entrepreneurial spirit. It’s been a pleasure to support Dylan on his business journey and I look forward to continuing to do so as his businesses goes from strength to strength.”