How dog food innovators Bella and Duke became the leaders of the pack

THE co-founders of Bella and Duke, the UK’s leading pet food subscription company, have unveiled their secret recipe for business success.

Chief Operating Officer Tony Ottley and Chief Emotions Officer Mark Scott revealed all as guests of the Go Radio Business Show with Hunter & Haughey.

Mark explained: “We started Bella and Duke just under five years ago. We had four dogs and three got cancer all into the age of 10.

“I was a 17-and-a-half stone lad, really good at drinking and smoking and all that stuff. I started working on my own health and felt great. I hadn’t realised how important good nutrition was. It dawned on me when I started looking at the size of the packets of dog food, just how many crap ingredients were in there. Tony and I began thinking about a really good food that would enhance pets’ lives.”

Tony takes up the story: “Basically we wanted a diet that was species-appropriate. People think dry dog food, which is full of carbohydrates and sugar, is good for dogs, because that’s what they’ve been told. What we’ve come up with is a raw diet, which is appropriate for dogs. Have you ever seen a dog around a campfire cooking its food? No!

“Imagine if you were to eat the same in food every day of your life for the whole of your life and how awful that would be. That’s when dogs develop intolerances and problems. So we advocate in our box, a chicken meal, a duck meal, a turkey meal, a beef meal, a lamb meal, a fish meal . . . the dog gets real variety.

The focus on nutritious, natural food, planned and prepared for individual customers, has seen not only pets but the innovative company thrive.

Mark explained: “We now have 140,000 customers within the database. We’re a DTOC: which means we’re direct-to-consumer. The pros are you get to know your customer. You get to know data, have a bespoke engagement with them and build that relationship. It means we also have a very strong community. It’s an amazing way to get direct feedback from customers.

“We’ve recruited one customer at a time . . . now we’re doing £25 million after four and a half years.”

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