So here we are…I always think it’s nice to put a face to the name…
Some of you would have met either one of us at various agility and flyball shows over the past few years.
We like to be as transparent as possible here at NDD so we thought a little insight into us and NDD might interest you all!
Natural Dogs Direct is the brainchild of Efdal & Sureyya Ahmet. When Efdal was made redundant back in 2013 he started working for a family friend who manufactured natural dogs treats. We would regularly attend various dog agility shows all over country selling the treats on a stand. It was then that we learnt about a raw diet for dogs. Many customers fed their dogs a raw diet and we started to research the idea.
Sureyya’s father is one of the biggest kebab manufactuers in the Uk. We found out that he was paying to dispose of lamb bones, many tonnes per week. We took his so called ‘waste’, cut the bones into portions, vacuum packed the product and there we had our first 3 products, all produced from another factory’s waste and one single lamb carcass.
Sureyya then set to work on researching how we then needed to proceed with the relevant authorities. So much paperwork was involved and Sureyya had to quickly not only complete what was needed, she had to rapidly teach herself a whole new skill set including Defra Regulations, Animal By-Product production, HACCP, Trading Standards requirements along with business marketing, accounting and any other back office work to do with running a business!
We had to send off an ABPR Approval form to Defra. This had to outline the whole manufacturing process, hazard and analysis system, health and saftey in the workplace, recall policies, critical control points and cleanliness of the factory. Once we had the Defra and Trading Standards approval of the plant we then started to manufcture and send out our frozen products next day delivery via courier.
Efdal would be in the factory manufacting during the week then would load up his van with freezers and stock and head out to dog shows every weekend all over the country to spread the word about NDD. Every week he would save the takings and immediately reinvest the money into buying machinery that we needed, freezers, stock from abbattoirs etc. We were growing at rate that we hadn’t prepared for. The demand was much higher than what we could manage. Thats when we took on a part time member of staff. Our product range still wasnt very big, but we were the first in the industry to vacuum pack our products. This provided optimum freshness for the product. Our bone products are arguably the meatiest in the country and our customers love that.
NDD has always prided itself on quality not quantity. It would have been easy to buy meat from every local abbattoir and sell it on. We search and vet all of our suppliers for quality and cleanliness. If we wouldnt be happy feeding it to our own dogs then its simply not good enough for customers dogs either. We will happily wait and negotiate with suppliers until the price is right, for us to then pass on the savings to our customers.
We have build up a brand name with a great reputation. That is extremely important to us. We want to build a brand that people have confidence in. No matter how big we have grown or will grow, both myself and Efdal personally deal with our customers. This personal touch is something that the public feel is important. Many companies lose the great customer service as they get bigger. We always do our upmost to make sure the customer is happy, even when the couriers can’t do their job properly!
5 years on and we have, in the past year moved to a bigger premises, double the size of our first factory. We have in total 4 staff including ourselves and will need to recruit by the end of the summer. We managed the business just the two of us to start with as we couldnt really afford staff. It was a combination of 16-20 hour days, 7 days a week to build NDD up to where it is now. We had to plough every single penny back into the business. When we got the keys to our first factory, we didnt know how we would pay the next months rent. We had 4 products in an industry that we firmly believed in and hope…a lot of hope! Facebook was our starting point. A business page was opened and we traded via that for the first two years until we could afford to build a website.
Our products are now being sent nationwide to every corner of the UK!
We have excellent reviews over our social media including Facebook and Google. A strong social media presence is important as it welcomes the customer into our little world of raw dog food! We try to be as transparent as our packaging at all times. No question is too big or too small to ask.
We welcome your feedback and opinions about the products and future products so please do get in touch with us via our Facebook page. Alternatively we welcome customers at the factory, so pop in with any queries you may have and one of us will happily get the kettle on and have a chat with you.
Finally we’d like to welcome you all to our NDD family and thank you for all your support up till now!
Sue & Ef x