From nutritious iced treats to super-premium food
Special dogs deserve special treats, and what could be better on a warm day than a tub of Billy + Margot doggy iced treat, the pet treat that beats all others. Not only is it fun but it’s nutritious and specially formulated to be safe.
The inspiration behind the idea came from Marie's much-loved labrador, Billy. He loved ice cream but as a nutritionist Marie realised the ingredients were potentially bad for his canine digestive system and so decided to produce an iced treat for dogs with a special emphasis on health and nutrition. After 6 months of research and development Billy + Margot Ltd was established and launched at Crufts in March 2012. With widespread interest from the media, it wasn’t long before trade applications started to arrive to sell the product.
In the three years since Billy+Margot launched their unique iced treats and secured Deborah's backing in the Den, they have won ‘Best Dog Product of the Year’ and become known as one of the top brands of dog treats in the UK.
In 2013 the company added three new treats to their portfolio with a range of air-dried venison, low calorie Popcorn with Seaweed and some nutritious training biscuits. In October they introduced a unique range of Christmas crackers which were featured in the prestigious ‘Not On The High Street’ catalogue and sold out by Christmas Eve.
Billy + Margot then made their first venture into the canine daily food market when they introduced a range of super-premium complete wet food for dogs in March 2014.
The business also secured a listing with Ocado which has allowed national distribution of iced treats directly to customers. Sales of iced treats received a further boost when they were shown on ITV's 'This Morning' and the Turkey and root vegetable tin was featured (successfully) in a taste test against two other well-known products.
The company has already started to export to independent pet retailers in France, Spain, the Republic of Ireland, Switzerland, Holland, Germany and Norway and are now focusing on selling to national chains of pet shops throughout Europe and Asia.
Billy+Margot currently have over 700 retail outlets in the UK and abroad and have just agreed terms with Vital pet products, a national whoelsaler, who have listed all their products and made them available to their data base of 3000 pet shops, garden centres, vets and other outlets.
2015 will see the launch of another unique product so confidence is very high at Billy + Margot.
Every dog I know loves ‘human’ ice cream but it can be very bad for them, so when Marie started to explain her nutritious alternative I could immediately see a market for a premium iced treat that was actually good for them. It was also clear that Marie really knew her stuff and had a pretty good idea of where she wanted to go and what she needed to do to get there. Good product, clarity of vision and professionalism is a seductive combination for an investor and sure enough, Marie received two offers…I am pleased to say she accepted mine, I think she sensed that we shared a view and a vision of the opportunity.True to form, since I invested Marie has already developed a new product range of Venison treats with many more products underway.