An upmarket meat box subscription business started by two friends, field&flower, is planning further expansion after raising almost £1m through a crowdfunding campaign.
Best friends James Mansfield and James Flower met at agricultural college and decided to combine their last names to create the unique brand field&flower which delivers bespoke meat hampers directly to customer homes across the UK.
Sharing a passion for high quality food and animal welfare, the two men vowed to launch a business together with Londoner James Mansfield planning to focus on management and marketing, while fifth generation farmer James Flower would take a more hands-on role in the rearing of livestock.
The two friends used their spare time at university to plan their business, perfecting a subscription model to market grass-fed, free-range beef directly to consumers.
Shortly after graduating in 2010, they purchased a single cow from the Flower family farm in Somerset and launched their brand, supporting the early stages with part time jobs.
Since its launch, the business has grown significantly and has a customer base of 4,500 active subscribers. As well as beef, field&flower also provide a range of poultry, wild game, fish, dairy and deli products from a small hand-picked team of independent farmers, fishermen and producers that share the same standards of welfare, sustainability and quality.
Today, their bespoke boxes are in demand all over the UK and they have delivered to over 20,000 households since founding. Including a few special deliveries to the likes of English comedian and writer Russel Kane, celebrity nutritionist Madeleine Shaw, English rugby union stars Will Greenwood and Anthony Watson and Buckingham Palace.
The founders’ vision has been rewarded with a long list of accolades including several coveted food industry awards and their continued focus on quality produce and high animal welfare standards, grass-fed meat and sustainability has won them an army of loyal customers.
With many customers eager to invest in the business the founders decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign at the end of 2017 raising £880k from 650 new investors in just 8 weeks.
Co-founder of field&flower and fifth-generation farmer James Mansfield, describes: “In the first year, it was a hard graft, we did early morning deliveries and travelled to London to sell our meat at Borough market. But after a few months of delivering our boxes, we had an email from Virgin asking us to cater for 2000 VIP guests in the Virgin Media Louder Lounge, so we launched the field&flower kitchen.
“Our name field&flower, came from a desire to portray provenance and keep the business personal to us, we had plenty of other names lined up, including some not so good contenders such as ‘High Steaks’!”
“The catering arm was lucrative, but we soon stopped the events side of things and focused our attention on the online home delivery business which was really taking off. What sets us aside from supermarkets is that we supply what consumers want – ethical, high-welfare, free-range meat with complete traceability, that’s at the core of what we do. We are always trying to reconnect the consumer with the farmer and our open book policy means we don’t hide anything.”
“All of our animals are grass fed and reared in a natural environment. This means that the quality of life is better and therefore the meat quality is too. A traceability card goes into all of our boxes with the farm name, breed, kill date and butchery date and we invite our customers to exclusive free meat up events to meet our farmers and watch a butchery demo – so consumers have complete transparency when it comes to what they are eating and paying for.”
“We’ve done some hard yards over the last seven years to build our business to what it is today and this significant investment will surely take us forward and allow us to evolve by way of getting our unique brand out there. We will focus on getting exposure through sales, marketing, retention and digital in order to take field&flower forward and we are very excited for the future.”