Milking festivals for all they have

Milking festivals for all they have

Raised in entrepreneurial families, it was no surprise Andrew and Jodie Farran found themselves going into business at a fairly young age. Andrew tells BQ how selling milkshakes at festivals led to the launch of milkshake brand Shaken Udder…

Husband and wife team Andrew and Jodie Farran launched Shaken Udder in the summer of 2004 in a bid to offer something a little different to festival goers.

After spending a weekend dancing away at V Festival, Andrew found himself unhappy at the variety of food and drink available and came up with the idea of launching his own fresh milkshake range.

When he returned home, it wasn't long before he told Jodie his idea and the pair found themselves in Andrew’s mum's kitchen surrounded by 100s of ingredients and gallons of milk and ice cream.

With the blender centre-stage they set to work, emerging hours later, full but smiling, with a long list of possible flavours and a company name, Shaken Udder.

“Shaken Udder produces high quality milkshakes and dairy products all made with real fruit or chocolate with no artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, or anything like that,” Andrew said. “It’s all about the taste and quality of the ingredients.

“Jodie and I started the business in 2004 when we left university, we’d both been entrepreneurial from a young age. I’d just been to V Music Festival and found that all of the food was horrendous. I came up with the idea of selling really good quality milkshakes which were freshly made and thought it would do really well.

“The story began there really. We saved up to start the business and we bought a catering trailer. By the summer of 2004 we were travelling across the UK selling our milkshakes at festivals all over the place.”

The van proved a huge success and before they knew it, Andrew and Jodie started fielding enquiries from customers all over the UK asking where they could buy their milkshakes outside of festivals.

In search of a place for their funky cow brand, they took a long, hard look at the retail shelves and were disappointed with what they found. So they decided to make their own.

“We decided to expand and a couple of years later, we pumped more money into the business and managed to launch our retail product.

“It took about 18 months to get a shelf stable product as there was nothing out there like it at the time.

“All of the other milkshakes were just flavoured milk, with thickeners, ours actually incorporated the real fruit.

“With this in mind it was quite difficult to get a stable product but we managed to do it. We built a factory on the farm where my parents live and we’ve been growing ever since.”

Reinvesting all of their money into a factory was a huge gamble for the couple but one that proved a resounding success.

The factory started churning out their first batch of shelf-ready milkshakes in the summer of 2008 and it took only six months for them to hit shelves.

“We built the factory in 2008 and we launched in the likes of Harvey Nicholls, Harrod’s and Selfridges in late 2008 through to early 2009,” Andrew added.

“To test the water on how the product would go down I bought a stand at the Speciality Fine Food Fair, this was before we started, and we took some samples of the product.

“As soon as we opened up we saw three people walking towards us and I noticed two of them had Leeds Festival wristbands on.

“They said ‘oh we’ve been living off your milkshakes all weekend!’ and it turned out they were attending the event alongside the buyers from Harvey Nicholls.

“This led to us securing a listing with Harvey Nicholls and once we were in there, the rest soon followed. We went on to stock John Lewis, Selfridges and many others.”

Eight years on and the couple have seen the company grow exponentially, supplying the likes of Tesco, Booth’s, Fortnum & Mason and the Co-op among others.

Andrew said: “We’ve been with our retail partners now for around six years and we’re still growing.

“This year we’ve grown our number of retailers by around 22% and the business has grown 35%. Next year, with our new products coming out, we’ll hopefully see a lot more growth.”

The pair have also received orders from overseas. This was something which, as Andrew (Howie) explains, brought with it a series of challenges.

However, they have not been deterred. He said: “We’ve already sold products to Hong Kong but it has proven difficult for us to export with most of our products having a short shelf life.

“As I say however, we’ve seen tremendous growth this year and have a lot of new products launching next year. We’re hoping with these new products we’ll be able to start exporting.”

Going forward, Shaken Udder is expanding its product range to include more than just flavoured milkshakes as it looks to break into new markets both at home and overseas.

When quizzed what their new product ranges would include however, Andrew was tight lipped!

“We’re pushing our brand into different categories,” he concluded. “There is going to be more high quality products which will see us push the brand into different markets.

“As for what we have in store, I can’t say too much just yet!”

 

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