Two best friends who started a meat delivery service from their kitchen with just one cow now make £2.8 million a year and receive orders from Buckingham Palace.
James Flower, 31, from Bristol, and James Mansfield, 34, from Bath, met at agricultural college back in 2006 and decided to set up a business related to their passion for farming, which they called Field&Flower in a nod to their own surnames.
Flower, a fifth-generation farmer, bought a premium Hereford grass-fed cow from his parents’ farm, and together with Mansfield started delivering the meat it yielded to friends straight from Flower’s mother’s kitchen in 2010, using a one-page website to process orders.
Within a year, it had become such a hit – already turning over £30,000 – that the two friends knew they were onto a winner. They now rake in 93 times that sum each year with their online delivery business.
Entrepreneurs James Mansfield (left) and James Flower (right) met on the first day of agricultural college and set up their business, Field&Flower, after they left
One of the proudest moments in the men’s careers came when they received an order for a meat subscription box containing different cuts of high quality raw meat from Buckingham Palace.
It’s not known who inside the palace ordered the delivery, but it may well have been someone on behalf of the Queen, as it is her official London residence.
Mansfield, who lives with Ted the cat and Arthur the dog, told FEMAIL Food&Drink: ‘The truth is it was all very secretive, and we still don’t know who received the meat.
‘James [Flower] delivered the box in our van and got pulled over by the police at Buckingham Palace for driving down a private road.
‘The biggest shock was when the order came in and the address on the email confirmation said Buckingham Palace. We thought it was a friend messing about!’
The men have served a steak baguette to Richard Branson, catered at Glastonbury and have even delivered their meat boxes to Buckingham Palace
Field&Flower is an online meat delivery service, which delivered meat to people’s homes. You don’t have to be in when the boxes arrive as they are chilled
Mansfield and Flower, who lives with his nine-year-old dog Molly, met in 2006 on their first day at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester.
They both had ambitions of setting up a business, and decided to unite when they left college in 2009.
They wanted to find a way of delivering better quality meat to the public directly from farms to support Britain’s farming industry, and came up with Field&Flower, an online delivery service.
Initially, the men ran an events business as well, cooking and catering at events including Glastonbury. They even dished up steak baguettes to Richard Branson at V Festival’s Louder Lounge.
The men started out using a cow bought from James Flowers’ parents’ farm but now they use a number of different suppliers. All their meat is sourced directly from British farmers
The business sources high quality meat directly from the source: British farms
The meat is butchered and then Field&Flower package it up and send it out to customers
But struggling to manage both the events and online side of things, they shut down the catering business to focus on delivering meat directly to customers.
They now turn over £2.8 million a year.
Mansfield said: ‘Lots of people said at the beginning that delivering meat to the home is a concept that wouldn’t catch on, but you have to have self-belief.
‘We’re very lucky to have the team we have, and a very loyal set of customers and family that have stood by us from day one.’
Field&Flower sells all different kinds of meat, and also quality fish too
Although Field&Flower started out just selling beef, the business now sells all kinds of meat and deli items
Field&Flower now offers customers meat boxes, individual cuts and joints of meat ranging from beef to chicken, processed meats, and deli items such as cured meats, pies and condiments.
The business has just finished crowdfunding, raising £880,000 to expand and improve their service for its 4,500 regular customers. The business is now valued at £9.75 million.
‘We’ve also made the upgrade from instant coffee to a coffee machine for the office, bought in the January sales!’ Mansfield added.