Chuckling Goat

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Chuckling Goat's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Chuckling Goat is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett, MP
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles, MP

Highlighting best practice
Director Shann Jones
Chuckling Goat’s kefir has just been named
Best New Dairy Drink in the world
Despite rejecting all traditional business advice, Shann and
Rich Jones have built a multi-million-pound business in just
four years. Based on a quality product and a sustainable
approach to growth, Chuckling Goat now exports its kefir products
to 38 different countries and has been recognised internationally as
the “Best New Dairy Drink” of 2018. Directors Shann and Rich tell
The Parliamentary Review
how all this has been possible.
In 2014, Rich sold his motorcycle to buy bottles for our handmade live culture
drink, kefir. At the time, the two of us were working together on our family farm in
Wales, milking our goats to make the kefir and handmade kefir skincare in a stone
outbuilding. We had no money and we were struggling to sell our new health
product, which, at the time, was completely alien to most people in the UK.
Four years later, kefir has become a household name. Our business, which started
from a kitchen table, has a turnover of £4 million, a 7,900 per cent increase from
2014. Over £1 million of that is annual profit. Today we have 21 employees, and
147,000 customers in 38 different countries. Neither of us have any previous business
experience, and we certainly didn’t have deep pockets. So, how did we accomplish
this? We simply overturned every piece of traditional business advice wereceived.
Making everything in small batches, by hand, on the farm
We took the decision early on that everything we sell should be created in an artisan
style, with the highest-quality ingredients. It seemed the only way to stay true to our
values of high quality, instead of mass-producing our drinks in a factory. This did
cause us some difficulties after Shann went on the Steve Wright show on Radio 2 to
»Directors: Shann and
»Established in 2014
»Located in Brynhoffnant,
southwest Wales
»No. of employees: 22
»Services: Manufacturing live
culture drink kefir and kefir
skincare products
»Annual turnover: Now £4
million; a 7,900 per cent
increase since 2014
»Awarded “Best New Dairy
Drink” at the 2018 International
Beverage Awards
»Shann Nix Jones is the author
of three number-one Amazon
bestsellers on the topic of gut
health and natural healing
Chuckling Goat
talk about our products, the resulting
media storm creating so much demand
that we had an eight-week waiting
list for our kefir. In response, we were
able to scale slowly over time in order
to meet the ever-increasing demand.
We believe in intensive communication
and transparent relationships with our
customers; we explained the situation
to them, and they understood and
stayed with us.
Bricks-and-mortar is dead
Today our business is 99 per cent
online. We briefly experimented with
opening a local shop, but we found the
outlay prohibitive. The money that we
might have spent on rent, insurance,
electricity and business rates we have
instead ploughed into creating a top-
notch e-commerce website, hiring a
talented website designer and keeping
him on site with us four days per week,
ready to respond to daily fluctuations
and issues. To offset this lack of
physical accessibility, we offer free
shipping, anywhere in the UK. Amazon
has changed the world; customers are
used to ordering whatever they like
online, and having it arrive 24 hours
later. Why would anyone travel to the
high street, when the world is available
at the click of a button?
Sell exclusively direct to the
end user
We do not sell through any third parties
– we only sell direct to our customers. In
the new business environment, the real
goal is to develop a connection with
the customer. In order to do this, you
need the customer’s email address. We
don’t want to pay an outside retailer
a percentage of our profit, in order to
contact our customers. As an added
benefit, we don’t turn any of our profit
over to another retailer. This stance has
also enabled us to avoid the “Tesco
trap” in which a small producer enters
into a contract with a large supplier
and scales up to meet the demand,
after which the large supplier demands
that the producer cuts corners and the
quality drops, with the result that the
producer goes out of business. The
field is littered with the bodies of small
companies who have turned over their
souls to large corporations and lived
to regret it. We prefer to retain control
over our supply and quality.
The Jones family began
their business on their
family goat farm in
We believe in
and transparent
with our
Highlighting best practice
Don’t buy things you can’t
afford – grow slowly and
Throughout our entire growth process,
we have never incurred a penny of
debt, despite the fact that we had no
money to begin with. If we couldn’t
pay cash for it, we didn’t buy it. When
the government adviser told us that
we needed to spend £16,000 on a
vessel to make more kefir, and offered
us a grant to do so, we respectfully
declined. Instead we sourced small
microbrewery vats, each of which cost
£150. Then we designed specialised
stainless steel shelves to house the
vats. When we needed to increase
production, we simply added more
small vats. This had the additional
benefit of keeping our production line
flexible and isolating any potential
problems to one vat.
Loan or grant money is expensive
money. Grants are prohibitive in terms
of time and paperwork, and you are
then told what you can buy. This limits
a business’s flexibility and ability to
find and adapt second-hand items,
which can work just as well. Grants also
create artificial inflation in a business’s
growth, which can create crisis when
the grant is removed. Business loans are
also dangerous, as at best they create
anxiety. At worst, they strap you into
a desperate and inescapable situation.
Today we have a million-pound yearly
profit, and no debt. This allows us
complete peace of mind, and total
freedom of motion. With this freedom,
we have the confidence that we can
adapt to anything that the rapidly
changing market might throw at us.
Family first
We never had any desire to engage
in a traditional business enterprise, in
which money was the most important
thing. Our business motto from the
beginning has been “family first”.
Aswe grew, we were able to invite our
daughter, our son-in-law and Rich’s
brother to join us in the business. Our
concept of family has now extended
to include the rest of our ever-growing
team, which we actively nurture and
support. Every member of our team
received a £1,000 bonus for Christmas
last year. This wasn’t directly helping
our profits, but in the words of Harold
Kushner, “No one ever said on their
deathbed – I wish I’d spent more time
at the office.” Our business is our life
– our mission is to do the best job we
can, and help as many other people as
possible along the way.
Our business
motto from
the beginning
has been
‘family first’
Co-directors Richard and
Shann Jones, with goat

This article was sponsored by Chuckling Goat. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister