Debbie Keeble Wiki – Debbie Keeble Biography
The 54-year-old Debbie Keeble founded Heck with her husband Andrew in 2013. They live in Yorkshire and have four children named Jamie, 30, Guy, 29, Roddie, 27 and Ellie, 25.
Andrew and I come from farming families. We grew up 15 miles away in North Yorkshire and met at a 17-year-old bar. I didn’t think I’d marry her, but after that I didn’t look after anyone. We got married four years later.
I’ve always wanted to stay in farming; Nothing that wakes you up in the fields is better than running. I couldn’t stand sitting at a desk all day, so I went to agricultural school and became a pig farmer. However, the market was not doing well. By our 30s, we had a shared income of just £ 250 a week with our four children. We had to make a change.
So in 1999 we started making our own sausages. At first, we used pre-purchased spice powder, but it tasted awful. Using real leeks and apples worked much better.
We farmed during the day, then made the sausages at night and delivered the kids after dropping them off at school. We stocked our first Debbie & Andrew sausage range at Tesco and Asda. The business grew so quickly that we joined a larger company. This was a disaster.
We passed three big companies whose money ran out and we lost the brand in 2012. It was traumatic, and we had to start from scratch in the late 40’s. But our children trusted us. We said, ‘What’s going on? Let’s try it again but do it differently. ‘
We created bright packaging and exciting flavors and used £ 700,000 in compensation from our first job, which felt like a huge risk.
In April 2013, we launched our Heck sausages at Tesco: pork, Italian chicken and a flat version that would fit on a slice of bread. Our goal was to appeal to those who do not usually buy sausages. It worked.
In 2017, we launched a vegan option on Waitrose after a friend of ours complained about how soft most vegan sausages were. The ingredients in our meat-free options include quinoa, paprika, ginger, lemon, and kale.
Today, we have a turnover of £ 33 million and six ranges from crackers to burgers and ground beef, all stocked in major supermarkets.
The crash was terrible. There was a big demand for storage, then it was closed. But we recovered quite well.
As a family business, we are in control. Our children also have important roles and we all meet for lunch every day – often includes sausages! How many mothers can say that?