Kew Little Pigs

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

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 Kew Little Pigs is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Managing Director OliviaMikhail
Kew Little Pigs: an
Amersham-based micro-pig
breeder and exhibitor
Kew Little Pigs is a miniature pig breeding farm and
exhibitor based in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. Running
courses, experiences and events while also attending
corporate shows, film sets, photoshoots and parties, the
company’s versatility is a particular point of pride for Managing
Director Olivia Mikhail. She tells
The Parliamentary Review
about the farm’s pigs and the variety of challenges that anyone
setting up a small business can face.
We have been all over the UK to attend weddings, pet shows and even for
filming ventures such as Corals “CheltenHAM” and featuring in Hendrick’s Gin
Our farm sees a daily influx of pig lovers, especially on weekends. It never ceases to
amaze us the extent to which people love pigs. We offer training courses for those
looking to buy pigs, and for our selfie-seekers we also offer pig experiences. Our
farm staff work extremely hard to care for our pigs and ensure that our customers
have a great time while they are with us. Our office is equally busy, and staff can
be seen taking phone calls and tapping away on their computers, hard at work
booking customers in or answering queries.
Size matters
The welfare of our animals is of the utmost importance to us – we do weekly
health checks on all of our animals and our vets visit us regularly. As we are
extremely busy, we do like to give our animals some time off – we do not have
visitors on Mondays or Wednesday mornings to give them some peace and quiet.
»Managing Director:
»Founded in 2011
»Located in Amersham
»Services: Micro-pig breeder
and exhibitor
»No. of employees: 6
Kew Little Pigs
Highlighting best practice
Our staff receive initial training on the
care of our animals and are further
trained throughout their employment.
We strive to have the best customer
service possible. We are a friendly
and open all-female team who aim
to educate our customers with both
interesting and relevant information.
This year has seen our popularity soar.
We have gone from 50 people having
experiences with us, to around 500
every week. This is both a blessing
and at times a difficulty; thanks to the
speed of our expansion we have had
to employ and train staff quickly.Our
increase in visitors has also required
us to have better planning – especially
at weekends. This has also made us
assess the site more for health and
safety issues – with a larger footfall,
greater problems could occur. With
more staff, we have made the decision
to invest in an HR company to ensure
we look after our staff and are legally
doing what needs to be done.
Over the years we have successfully
raised money for charities close to our
hearts, such as Cancer Research UK,
Make a Wish UK and Save the Children
- for which we have a year-long
campaign and donate 20 per cent of
sales of our one hour visit experience.
Pig challenges
This business has been the hardest
experience of our lives, and has been
on the brink of closure, but we have
kept faith and been rewarded as a
result of hard work and determination.
We have fought through the bad
times and business is booming, and
we currently employ six members of
staff. We are now affiliated with the
following associations: The British Pig
Association, Old Amersham Business
Association, Bucks Business First.
We have been faced with the
negativity in the news arising from
rogue miniature pig breeders. We
are at times met with bad feedback
or questioned about our pigs’ size.
Unfortunately, many breeders have
not given potential buyers the requisite
training or understanding of livestock.
This means that pigs are not cared
for correctly and can get big or out
of control. We are the only miniature
pig breeder in the UK that does train
potential buyers.
Operating in the SME sphere
The first issue is with classification.
Government regards a small business
as anything with between one and 500
employees. I don’t feel like I should have
to say this, but a company employing
500 people is plainly and simply not a
small business. With six members of staff,
you’re living month to month trying to
get a small business off the ground.
The government desperately needs
to focus on local small businesses
who occupy the lower end of that
“one to 500” bracket. They need to
encourage local partnerships and local
employment to regenerate areas and
inspire entrepreneurialism.
The second issue is with financial
support and legislative leeway. Although
we were helped by The Prince’s Trust
in our early days, we have not since
received any support. Small businesses
Visitors always enjoy
their time at Kew Little
Thanks to the
speed of our
expansion, we
have had to
employ and
train staff
like ours need to be given more
freedom. For a business with just six
employees, the cost – both in terms of
money and time – of pensions, National
Insurance and new initiatives like Making
Tax Digital can cripple a business.
The government needs to offer
employment support and provide
smaller businesses with a bit more
freedom to feel their way through. Just
the smallest amount of relief would
take so much pressure away from SME
owners and give them the feeling that
HMRC is truly on their side.
Employers need to be given more
rights and more support. The amount
of time I’ve had to invest in training
around employment law and health
and safety is staggering – this
compliance minefield really just stops
us focusing on growing our business.
Altogether it’s valuable time that could
be put to use marketing our business
and developing our brand – which will
naturally benefit the economy on a
regional and national scale anyway.
The government really needs to
consider the significant administrative
burden that comes with running a
small business, and how they can
better support budding entrepreneurs.
Pig plans
In the future we hope to focus on
merchandise, which has been a goal for
many years. This, however, can involve
a high cost and needs to be planned in
advance ready for the Christmas season.
We also have a spin-off business
venture in the pipeline called Little Pig
Brother. This is a service focusing on
the lives of our pigs when we are not
around. The service is all camera and
internet-based and allows people from
all over the world to see the pigs in their
natural habitat and view what they get
up to when people are not around.
Employers need
to be given
more rights and
more support
We have reached huge milestones in our business over the years,
»2011 – first litter of piglets
»2012 – attending our first ever pet show
»2013 – took on staff for first time
»2014 – moved from London to Buckinghamshire
»2015 – registered to become a limited company
»2016 – won Social Media Advert of the Year for Coral
»2017 – our business survived a very large dispute with previous
landowners who wanted to build on our farm – we nearly lost our
pigs and our business. We found our larger premises in Amersham,
Buckinghamshire that was much better suited to our business
»2017 – we trademarked our logo and registered for VAT; we wrote
our first book,
Kew Little Pigs Can Fly
»2018 – 25 per cent growth, four further staff members
»In 2019 we have been nominated for awards, including Muddy
Stiletto’s Best Family Attraction, and the Best Women in Business
Awards’ Best Business and Most Inspiring Businesswoman

This article was sponsored by Kew Little Pigs. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.