Meet founder & Chief Integrity Officer Lucy Postins
Lucy Postins founded The Honest Kitchen in 2002
With $7,000, and a beach cottage kitchen, she built the world’s first human grade pet food company. Seventeen years later, our products are distributed in over 5,000 pet supply stores internationally, with a staff of over 50 employees (and probably close to 50 co-woofers). Read on, for her International Woman’s Day interview.
The Honest Kitchen: What was the moment you decided to start your own company?
Lucy Postins: I decided to start my own pet food company whilst standing in my kitchen, after marveling at the amazing impact that a healthy, whole-food diet could have on my own dog’s health. I’d been trying to address my Rhodesian Ridgeback’s chronic ear infections with vet prescribed treatments but nothing was really bringing about a long term cure. So I turned to food as a potential ‘medicine’ and began feeding him my own home prepared diet. Originally, The Honest Kitchen was just going to be a local direct-to-consumer business but it turned out the products really spoke for themselves and sales started to grow by word of mouth when people began to see the results in their pets’ health, so it gradually morphed into a larger, nationally distributed brand.
THK: What advice would you give to yourself in 2002 (when the company was founded)?
LP: I think the advice I’d have given myself (and hopefully something I’ve done an OK job at following over the years) would be to always stay true to the mission and values of the company, and trust my instinct.
THK: You invented Human Grade pet food, what would you like people to know about what makes it special?
LP: For me, the fact that The Honest Kitchen’s foods are truly human grade, is the most important attribute, that meaningfully sets them apart from conventional, feed-grade pet food. Being Human Grade ensures a higher quality standard for every single one of our raw ingredients. It means a better level of safety testings, cleanliness in our production facilities, training for our crews and a much bigger focus on attention to detail.
THK: What do you think is the single biggest issue currently facing women/ feminism? And as a mother of 2 daughters, what advice do you have for young girls in their careers?
LP: That’s such a complex, multi-faceted question! I’ve actually had a number of really interesting conversations about women’s rights recently through my involvement in a couple of organizations both locally here in San Diego, mentoring women entrepreneurs in their start-ups as well as more recently with an amazing friend who’s starting a women’s empowerment organization called DARE Women, in France, which I’m planning to get a lot more involved with in the next few months. For me, I don’t think the issue is actually as much about fighting for equal rights (although of course that’s an essential element of the big picture) but actually embracing some of the beautiful feminine qualities – such as compassion, quiet determination, organization, sensitivity and intuition, to name a few – that make women who they are, and make them brilliant colleagues and leaders.
I have many examples of projects that have been incredibly efficient and streamlined when women have taken the lead on them. Also, the female communication style of listening with focus, and allowing everyone at the table time and space to have their say and give their input or share their instinctive ideas about the best way to proceed (rather than just trying to take up air-time through thousands of words without actually saying anything very meaningful at all!), is something that really stands out as noticeable in meetings with women… My advice to young women and girls would be to really celebrate what makes women who we are in the workplace because actually these traits result in the strongest, most authentic and resilient corporate cultures.
THK: People may not know that you’re quite the chef; for both pets and people. What’s your signature dish to make?
LP: I don’t think I have a single signature dish but I love to just use cookbooks for inspiration and then put my own twist on dishes. My family always joke that meals never come out the same way twice (although some of that may be down to my memory because I can never quite remember what I did each time)! I love to make chicken paprika, salmon with fresh hollandaise sauce using eggs form our family’s chickens, and traditional British roast dinners including leeks in cheese sauce and very crispy potatoes.
THK: What keeps your British wit sharp?
LP: My sarcastic friends! I’m proud to say that many of the ex-pats we first met when we came to San Diego as immigrants 22 years ago are still our friends so we keep each other tuned up in the wit department….although I’ve noticed after a couple of decades living in the US that when we go back to the UK the sarcastic sense of humor is on a whole different level. You definitely have to knock back a couple of glasses of wine as soon as you get to the pub, to keep up with the caustic sense of humor of the locals!
For more information about Lucy Postins!