With dogs sharing Natalie Tyson’s life from an early age, launching her own canine business in later years has been a personal triumph. Olive & Berry was born offering stylish, high quality and locally sourced canine products.
Sam Hobden from Haynet recently caught up with Natalie to find out more about the personality behind this innovative canine business:
You are clearly passionate about the dogs in your life! Have you always had dogs and were you brought up with them?
Oh, I’m obsessed with them! I can’t walk past a dog without smiling at it…We got our first family dog when I was at primary school after years of begging our parents. I’ve always had black Labradors and our one rule is that they need to be named after a black variety of food. Our first dog was called Liquorice and obviously now there’s Olive & Berry. We’re going to run out of names soon!
What was your childhood ambition? Did you always want to run your own business?
When I was younger, I used to tell my mum I wanted to have a job where I wore a suit and smelled of perfume. A very random career choice but it has kind of worked out like that. Since leaving university I’ve had a passion to start my own business, but I didn’t know what in. Until one day it just clicked! As weird as it is, I used to sit in the office at my corporate company feeling quite empty thinking there’s more to me than this.
I’m passionate about being able to be in a position where I can really make a difference to people and the community. Owning Olive & Berry means I can run a business on my own terms, I can make sure the products we sell to customers are high quality, I can make sure they get the best service possible and I can ensure our products, packaging and footprint is sustainable. And guess what, there’s no one telling me what to do which is great!
Recently you have set up your own canine supplies company. What made you step into this area of the industry?
I really struggled to find any dog interior I loved when I bought Olive & Berry. I spent so long searching for the right furniture, curtains and colour palettes for my home to then be so disappointed with the dog products currently on the market. In my opinion, they didn’t look nice in my home and I had to ‘settle’ for something. And anything I did like was an absolute fortune!
So our mission is to provide trendy, fashionable dog interior that you don’t need to hide in your cupboard when guests come round for a coffee.
Tell us about Olive & Berry and its vision. What are you particularly proud of with your company?
Our passion is to make sure our customers can buy high quality, on-trend pet interior that they are proud to have in their home. Our long-term vision is to provide customers with a bespoke service where they can match dog interior to their home that doesn’t cost another mortgage! Pet owners shouldn’t have to deal with stinky dog beds, manky old tennis balls and crumbly biscuits in their pockets etc. Solutions should be provided for this so they can have a lovely home with lovely dog interior (that’s useful) inside it!
I’m proud of so many things we have achieved so far but these are my biggest achievements:
1. Locally produced– our products are designed and locally produced in England; I think it’s really important that we support businesses in the UK. It also helps because we have great relationships with our suppliers, we visit their factories and understand their processes. This means we can deliver safe and beautiful products to our customers.
2. Sustainable– Did you know that a plastic bottle lasts up to 450 years in the ocean and all dead whales & dolphins washed up on the shore have plastic in them? This is really sad so we’re trying to help here too. The fibre in our beds is made out of recycled plastic bottles, we want to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
3. Charity – A personal passion of mine is supporting the homeless, so we donate a penny for every £1 spent to local homeless charities. I believe dogs give you a purpose in life and although it’s still a work in progress I think dogs can help the homeless in some way. We’re still working on this…
Marketing a business is key through social media. Which network works for your canine business and why?
We have Instagram and Facebook at the moment, where we showcase our products, offers and updates. We also like to post and share hilarious pictures of dogs because who doesn’t love to see those? It’s so nice having direct access to our customers and other dog lovers, it means we can get a real insight into what they like and want in a friendly, light-hearted setting.
What have been the triumphs and challenges of running Olive & Berry?
Oh wow, well it’s still really early days for us, we only started trading in August this year but we have had so many highs and lows already. My favourite triumph is developing a product from start to finish and seeing a customer’s reactions, this is so scary but also really rewarding when they like it, especially when our products are making a difference to their pets and their lives.
The biggest challenge we have faced so far is with other businesses actually, there have been occasions where we have put our trust in a supplier, and they have let us down which has cost us a lot of money. I think there needs to be better policing out there, but I guess money can be replaced, and it was a great learning for me so early on in my business journey.
Let’s give a shout out for your brand! Why should customers come to your site and buy?
Well if you take pride in your home and you have struggled to find products that look amazing, we’re for you. Our products are different from anything you will have seen out there, not only do we think they look pretty smart they are also doing good in this world. They are locally produced, sustainable and support local charities. We really enjoy hearing what people think so please do follow us on social media and let us know what you love or what you’d like to see us create next!
What are your future plans for Olive & Berry?
We want to let our customers decide this through the products they buy and what they tell us. In the short term we are trying to spread the word about Olive & Berry, in the long term we’re working on new ranges and exciting products as well as growing the brand so we can help make more changes for good.
On a day off, where would we find you?
Doing something active and then eating something tasty, any kind of sport or competitive games! I love a good meal out too.
Where do you hope to be in ten years’ time?
I would love the brand to be known for changing the way we view dog interior. I would also hope we have raised a lot of money for charity and continued to develop sustainable products. Watch this space I guess!
Against the Clock
Working Dog or Toy Dog: Working dog
Champagne or Gin: Gin 100%
Sunshine or Snow: Hard one, sunshine, snow just gets in the way!
Home Counties or Far Away Shores: Far away, I love travelling
Spend or Save: Spend
Home Cooked or Eating Out: Eating out
Music or Film: Music
Wellies or Heels: Wellies
Natalie Tyson founded Olive & Berry in 2019 inspired by her two black labradors and her quest to find high-quality, long-lasting and stylish products. Unable to find interior and environmentally friendly products to suit her stylish home, Natalie decided to make and source them herself, and so Olive & Berry was born.
Not willing to compromise on quality, Olive & Berry works with manufacturers local to its Yorkshire base wherever possible, creating home-friendly colour palettes, and banishing brown, black or paw print products to the back of the cupboard. Pet comfort comes first and all items are designed or sourced with cosiness, durability and longevity as well as style in mind.
To browse the product range and keep up to date on special offers visit www.oliveandberry.co.uk
Connect on Instagram: www.instagram.com.oliveandberryuk
Connect on Facebook: www.facebook.com/oliveandberry