I first came into contact with Ceri Phillips, owner and founder of From The Barkery, when she generously sent the girls a gift of treats and a waterproof FTB blanket which we now use daily. It was at that moment that I fell in love with this brand and from there our relationship blossomed.
I recently caught up with Ceri to find out why she started FTB, what her favourite products are, what inspires her and how she helps the local pet community.
QUESTION 1: WHAT’S IN A NAME? WHY DID YOU START FROM THE BARKERY (FTB)?
ANSWER: I was born and raised in the UK and once I left school, I went into, what was then, the elite world of private yachting. After intense training, I became a fully qualified Butler and worked my way up the yachting ladder, where I met and worked for, some of the world’s most influential people. It was also where I met my South African husband, Simon, a Private Chef. After many years of working abroad, Simon and I returned to Cape Town and opened a small restaurant in the small coastal town of Kommetjie. It was during this time that the beginning of ‘The Barkery’ was born. In 2011 I began making healthy treats for customers who would bring their dogs into our restaurant to play with Barkley and Bentley, our two black labs. After a while, I decided the biscuits needed a name, so we came up with The Barkery, but I noticed we kept saying, our biscuits were ‘From The Barkery’, so with that, the name changed and has been From The Barkery ever since.
We have always personalised our treats with the doggies names on or fun things, like woof, spoilt or yum. The business has grown over the years and now includes cakes, pup cakes, gift boxes, CBD and more. After selling our restaurants, we moved FTB to our home, but quickly found we needed a bigger space and so now, we produce everything from our factory/bakery in Noordhoek, Cape Town.
QUESTION 2: WHO ARE THE BLACK LABRADORS THAT APPEAR IN YOUR BRANDING?
ANSWER: Bentley and Barkley were our two black Labradors. Barkley was our first boy and Bentley, Barkley’s son, came a long a couple of years later. They have both since passed on, but were such characters and just full of life. They loved the biscuits and without a doubt were the original tasting officers and inspiration.
Pablo, the black lab, who features from time to time, is a family members dog that I take care of when they travel. He’s very partial to the biscuits too and Jimmy Choo and Pablo are the best of friends.
QUESTION 3: WHAT ROLE DOES YOUR CAT JIMMY CHOO PLAY IN THE BUSINESS?
ANSWER: Jimmy Choo’s always been involved, just like Barkley and Bentley from the start. He would always be there, with the dogs, tasting everything produced; he absolutely adored Barkley and Bentley. Now, he still gets to taste, we just bring treats home for him. He is Chief of Staff, Chief of Tasters and well Chief of Everything really. My total pride and joy. After Bentley recently passed away, Jimmy Choo took over as Chief Tasting Officer, a position he takes very seriously. He loves all the attention and is a total poser when it comes to picture time.
QUESTION 4: WHAT MAKES FROM THE BARKERY UNIQUE TO THE PET COMMUNITY?
ANSWER: I believe it’s the love and care we put into everything we do. We hand make and taste everything ourselves and ensure that what goes into our products is the best, human grade produce one can buy.
We have a lot of personalized orders, that’s just a little something different and special we can offer.
QUESTION 5: DO YOU ONLY SELL PRODUCTS FOR DOGS?
QUESTION 6: WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO LAUNCH A CBD PRODUCT RANGE?
ANSWER: Bentley was diagnosed with an aggressive lung tumour and given just days to live. It was suggested, by our local vet, to give him Cannabidiol (CBD) alongside his cancer medication, to try combat and slow down his aggressive symptoms. Desperate to try anything to help him, I gave him the oil. Almost immediately I saw him improve and he lived, happily, for another 10 months. That alone, inspired me to embark on a journey to create a new range of products that incorporated CBD. We saw with our own eyes the benefits of introducing CBD to Bentley and wanted to help other animals the same way it helped him.
Jimmy Choo will be 17 this year and we noticed he struggles a bit here and there – he was the inspiration behind the Cat Tincture. We worked alongside a biochemist who helped us develop our CBD oil.
QUESTION 7: WHAT’S YOUR FIRM FAVOURITE FTB PRODUCT & WHY?
ANSWER: To be honest, they are all my favourites. The smells that come from the bakery when we are baking are divine. I do love it when the individual treats are all packaged up, with the dogs names on and are going off to a doggy day care pawty. That’s just too cute.
I love our furry blankets too, they are waterproof and if like us, you have dogs that love water – they came in very handy to protect our car and their beds from getting wet.
QUESTION 8: WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT WORKING IN THE PET COMMUNITY?
ANSWER: I love creating and coming up with new ideas that we can share with our furry friends. When our clients send us pictures of their precious furries in their party hats, with their cakes, treats and friends, that is what I love the most. It brings me so much joy to see.
When my clients call or email me to share stories of their animals who no longer suffer with anxiety or pain, while simultaneously enjoying yummy treats, makes it all worthwhile. It really does make all the difference to know that people care for their animals and want the best for them.
QUESTION 9: WHERE CAN PET PARENTS PURCHASE YOUR PRODUCTS IF NOT ON YOUR WEBSITE?
ANSWER: We do supply quite a few vets, vet shops, pet shops and stores throughout South Africa. Our list of current stockists is on our website here, so people can look and see if there is a store near them.
QUESTION 10: DOES FTB SUPPORT THE PET COMMUNITY IN ANY WAY?
ANSWER: We do like to support our local animal rescues, including Tears, 1 Kennel At A Time and Sharon’s Foster Furries, because they are local to us, we know them and know what a fab job they all do. We like to support animal rescues that help all animals and do offer fundraising prizes, where we can.
On our website, we have an option where clients can add R5 to their order, as a donation to Tears. 100% of all the donations made through our website goes to Tears and we always add in funds at the end of each month too. You can read more about it here.
QUESTION 11: WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO CONTINUE DOING WHAT YOU DO?
ANSWER: Our furry clients, for sure, motivate me every single day. When we receive pictures of the furries with their treats and an email saying how our particular CBD product has helped their elderly pet so much. Now that’s what motivates me and makes it all worthwhile and to strive even harder to keep the furries happy and healthy.
QUESTION 12: WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST SATISFYING MILESTONE DURING YOUR FTB JOURNEY?
ANSWER: Seeing the business grow. I started off creating for a select few furries and now that select few has grown into a select few thousand. Being able to achieve what we have with our CBD products has been very satisfying too.