Earlier this month we had the pleasure of welcoming the digital world of Halifax to Croft Myl as part of the Halifax Digital Festival.

We invited Matthew Cockroft of Pure Pet Food, Andy Banks of Veloskin, and Catherine Bonner of Ambient Tribe to join us in sharing our learnings and experiences of growing ecommerce dreams from a speck of an idea to successful and thriving businesses.

Pure Pet Food

Co-Founder of Pure Pet Food – an award winning, human grade pet food facility located in West Yorkshire – Matt Cockroft delved into how he and his business partner went from dehydrating food on the family kitchen table to reaching Dragon’s Den and beyond.

Showing us how true passion and gumption stands to take you as far as you want to go.

With £300 in their pockets and competitors with marketing budgets they couldn’t shake a fist at, Pure Pet Food chose to focus on their USP, using marketing tricks and their own learnings to push their growth.

Utilising their knowledge in nutrition, and true belief in their own product, Pure Pet Food set about getting their name out there using cunning PR techniques to work with small pet food stores in local towns to work together to spread the word.

With the determination to learn more about how businesses can thrive, Pure Pet Food began a journey of growth, learning more about key business skills including cohort analysis and understanding their customers cost of acquisition versus customer lifetime value.

To get started, Matt left us with some key takeaways –

  • Find a passion
  • Be prepared for a long slog!
  • If you don’t know an answer find someone who does
  • Win in a niche – “Being average is the riskiest thing you can do” – Reid Hoffman
  • Play to the brands strengths and focus
  • It never gets easy!


We then heard from Andy Banks of Veloskin – a skincare brand for cyclists – who took us through how they grew online by 350% in just six months by having a clear focus on vision, mixing online and offline, and having fun while boxing clever.

By understanding that you can’t navigate your business if you don’t know where you are, and you don’t know where you’re going, Veloskin set about lining out clear routes in a one page vision and strategic plan, and the efforts paid off.

Veloskin set out to –

  • Stop thinking about profiting on the 1st order
  • Do more marketing – PPC & data competitions
  • Nurture new customers so they are more likely to buy
  • Give new customers free delivery (if needed!)
  • Launch on Amazon

Moving to Amazon made sense for the business, as customers were already on there looking for products, while their largest competitors were already selling on the channel, so why miss out on the opportunity?

Amazon allowed Veloskin to position the brand amongst their competitors, without the need to negotiate with offline retailers, bring a new customer to the brand but encourage them to repurchase directly from Veloskin next time, and keep other sellers off Amazon to protect the price point.

Andy left us with the advice to –

  • Create a one page vision and strategic plan
  • Focus on new customer acquisition
  • Open up more digital sales channels – Amazon
  • Box clever
  • Work hard and enjoy the journey, not the destination


We then opened up our Q & A panel with Matt, Andy and Catherine Bonner from Ambient Tribe. Ambient Tribe partners with entrepreneurs and organisations to get their passion and vision out of their heads and into the hearts and minds of their people.

We had many interesting questions during the panel Catherine spoke about the importance of bringing your team in to understanding the passion and destination of the business with you, working as one team to get to where you want to go. Matt explained how he took learnings from understanding that when Pure Pet Food began hiring experts he had to treat them as experts and move away from getting involved in the day to day.

A common theme was to understand where you want your business to go, bring your team onboard, let the experts be experts while you focus on the business, and enjoy the journey while you’re on it!

What a day!

We were so happy with the turn out, so thank you to everyone who came along. We hope you took away some great learnings and key pointers to get started.

If you have any follow up questions, please get in touch, and to keep up with our events sign up to our mailing list at www.ventureforge.co.uk.