Two pet food entrepreneurs who stole the hearts of TV viewers when they appeared on Dragons’ Den earlier this month have chosen to exhibit at PATS Telford in September.
Husband-and-wife team Jack Walker and Aneisha Soobroyen, who founded the dog and cat food brand Scrumbles a year ago, were invited onto the hit BBC2 show after researchers heard them on Radio Leicester.
The duo were angling for cash from animal-loving Dragon Deborah Meaden. She was very interested in what they had to say, but demanded a 20 per cent cut of the business in return for investing £60,000.
In the end the savvy duo turned the offer down – much to the surprise of viewers and of Aneisha, who thought her husband was going to accept it!
But Jack said: “We are big admirers of Deborah and have no doubt she would add a huge amount of value to the company but the deal wasn’t right for us and our supporters on the day.
“It was edited to look like Aneisha and I didn’t agree, but that was all for TV. It was certainly entertaining!”
The couple could not believe the reaction to the programme and the amount of exposure it brought them, with editorial from The Sun and Daily Mail, radio breakfast shows and more media appearances in the pipeline.
“It’s given us an amazing platform to introduce the brand to millions more customers. What’s been most heart-warming has been the support we’ve seen from our existing customers and the Scrumbles community – we have the best customers!” said Jack.
With such a buzz around the brand, it was a no-brainer to choose PATS – the UK’s No 1 pet industry exhibition – to help capitalise on all the recent publicity.
Jack said: “We attended PATS Telford when we first launched, and visited Sandown, as we always like to keep ahead of the latest trends and innovations in the industry.
“We decided to exhibit at PATS this year as it’s the best way to reach the hundreds of fantastic independent businesses that make up the backbone of the pet industry. As a team of two, we can’t always reach as many customers as we’d wish on the road or on the phone, and PATS brings everybody under one roof. It’s a great place to be!”
Jack and Aneisha both previously had careers outside the pet industry. They chose to launch their new brand following their own experiences of trying to source suitable food for their cat Boo, who suffered a series of tummy upsets.
Aneisha said: “It was about three years ago when Boo had issues. This led us to discover the power of probiotics and the importance of gut health, which sewed the seed for what was to become Scrumbles.
“We’ve both worked within food and consumer goods across sales, marketing and operations. We’ve been lucky enough to work with some incredibly innovative and ethical businesses such as Innocent drinks and Bear Nibbles. Our experience has helped us understand the challenges that may be ahead.”
The duo will be bringing their entire Scrumbles range for dogs and cats to PATS Telford 2019, where they will be launching their new wet food and treats. The range specialises in healthy, gut-friendly treats and probiotic food tailored to breeds and life stage, with everything made in the UK.
Jack said: “We’re really looking forward to attending PATS and doing business there. We understand pet businesses come in all shapes and sizes so this year we have split our offering into two. For groomers, boutiques and smaller pet businesses we’re running an introductory deal on our cat and dog treats, so businesses needn’t worry about large orders and delivery costs. For more established businesses we have a starter deal to give them a great deal on a comprehensive offering of food and treats.”