Lucy Postins, Honest Kitchen, Woman Entrepreneur

imgresI have been out in LA getting to know the community in the start-up world.  I met someone (who I later then had dinner with) who investments primarily in later stage CPG companies.  He raved about Lucy Postins and her company Honest Kitchen that changed the pet food world by making dehydrated human-grade food for animals.  As we build out WeFestival in LA, I am looking to meet more women out on the west coast who are killing it.  Lucy would be one of them.

Lucy grew up in the UK.  Her father was an executive for Shell Oil and her Mom was a stay-at-home Mom until she became a librarian.  She lived in Berkshire, a very rural upbringing where they had a garden and grew their own food.  They also had a close connection to animals including pets, ducks and ponies.

After graduating high school, Lucy went to the Agricultural College in Warwick.  She majored in equine (nutritional etc) and business studies figuring out how she could marry the two.  She had been riding since she was 5 so she had a huge passion for the animals but also had a nose for business.  The curriculum including that the third year of her schooling is to have a work/internship experience.  She worked in a motor school that worked with race car drivers and Lucy learned about selling sponsorships. It was there that she met her husband.

She graduated college and her then boyfriend, now husband, was an automotive sculpture by trade and he was offered a 3 month gig in San Diego.  She came along and that 3 month gig turned into a full time job.  She started to circulate her resume and landed a job at Solid Gold Health Products, a company that made pet food.  She started in the equine area and moved into dogs and cats.  She worked there for 5 years until a puppy came into her life.

Her puppy started getting ear infections and she began thinking about providing him with a raw food diet.  She wasn’t having any success with medications from the vet.  She began creating her own recipes while destroying her kitchen in the process.  The recipe took about ten months to figure out.  She started with the dehydration of human-grade products because nobody else was doing that.  Getting human-grade products Government approved was a whole other level of difficulty but she got there.

First she found a human food manufacturer who would make her products and ship them to her garage where she would pack and send to her customers from there.  Lucy wanted to sell these products online only not in stores.  That was the first business plan, all business to consumer not business to business.  She set up a website, got Paypal working and before she could make a purchase herself to make sure everything was working some one randomly beat her to the punch.  She realized she was definitely on to something.

Lucy is a pioneer in this space. She was the first to do dehydrated food that was nutritionally complete using human grade food approved by the FDA.  She self-funded for the first few years mortgaging her house several times until 2011 when they took on investors.

They now also sell to stores and are carried in the US, Canada and parts of Asia.  Honest Kitchen sources their vegetables from farmers and gives away a piece of each sale to non-profits that they support.  They are currently focused on cats and dogs and working on new diet plans.

Lucy figured out how to take her business head and marry it with her love of animals.  Super impressed what Lucy has built.  Her casual yet driven attitude with the British accent is kind of hard not to pay attention to.