I used to have a marketing agency looking after brands such as Kettle Chips and Cobra Beer, but from the age of 12 I had a dream to own my own farm.
I bought my farm in Devon eight years ago, rearing specialist breed cattle such as Ruby Reds and North Devons, but I didn't want to go down the conventional food chain, I wanted to sell to specialist butchers.
Up to three years ago I hadn't really done anything in terms of the brand because I didn't have to worry about it making money. But I recognised that the farming industry was in a mess and that farmers had lost the vital relationship between themselves and consumers.
Supermarkets, however, had become brilliant at that relationship and farmers didn't have much of a place in the consumer's psyche.
There was an opportunity to create an affordable premium brand that could fill that gap. I wanted the consumer to think about farming in a different way, which meant a brand with an edge about it. Using the Black Farmer brand was quite edgy, and people wondered if it was politically correct.
A lot of farmers and producers were good at producing but awful at marketing, or didn't realise how important it is. Rather than do all the production myself, I knew there were a lot of businesses that I could partner with to produce food to my spec and sell it under the brand.
My spec is that it has to be British and has to have a point of difference in terms of taste. Our sausages are 90% pork and gluten-free, and our corn-fed chicken has tarragon and butter in the cavity and comes wrapped in bacon.
It took me a year to get my first listing, and one of the reasons I managed it was with the power of consumers. All the buyers said no initially, so I travelled around the country doing sampling at food shows and put a petition page on my website for everyone who loved the products to lobby buyers. It produced a phenomenal response. I've always believed the consumer is the best sales force you can have because if they get behind your brand they can really make a difference.
Now I'm in over 1,200 stores across the top eight multiples, but I could be much bigger. Brand retail value is £5m a year and we are set to be an £8m brand by the end of 2008.