Our stories: Katy Loudon & Steph Armstrong

Written by Amelia Murray.

Katy and Steph Friday PiesWhen Kiwis move to the UK there is little in the way of cultural disparities that come as a shock. Throw a discussion around pie eating etiquette  into the mix, however, and you will ignite some very heated opinions that set our two nations apart. 

Katy Loudon and Steph Armstrong are the two female powerhouses behind the team at Friday pies – the company that has made it part of their mission to set this record straight. After a prolonged period of British lockdowns, it could come at no better time, when so many of us Kiwis are craving that little slice of home.

Both from Auckland and eager to pursue the bright lights and vast opportunities of London, Katy arrived in 2018, with Steph not long after, in 2019. The pair met whilst living together at their North London flat, which has been the home of Friday Pies’ test kitchens, pie storage facilities and pick-up operations for the past 5 months.

Katy, who works as a Business Manager for French implant manufacturer Sebbin, and Steph, a Digital Optimisation Specialist for British Airways, were each put on furlough for several months in 2020. After cycling through several hobbies; from purchasing keyboards, sewing, to exploring a gap in the UK hummus market, the pair joined forces with their partners Michael Hughes, Andrew Pearson and mutual friend Thomas Mills (Millsy), to bring the Kiwi pie to London. Katy says, “we were talking about how we miss home and miss pies, along with the culture of going to your local bakery or service station to buy one”.

Within a week, the group were each playing to their strengths, covering everything from recipe development to cooking, branding and partnerships, websites, logistics, Finances and even pie playlists! Monday and Tuesday evenings are now spent whipping up pies from their commercial premises, since outgrowing their home kitchen after just 3 weeks.

The group launched the business through a pie competition on Instagram that encouraged winners to donate to UK based food charity, FareShare. Steph explains, “we wanted to test the market and do some good at the same time and that is still a huge part of what we do now.” To keep the business sustainably driven, the team use compostable and recyclable packaging and all deliveries are done by e-bikes. The brand aims to embody the group’s values and how they, along with their friends, like to live – sustainably, with good food and a lot of fun.

After significant feedback from friends, several trials with different pastries and techniques were carried out to perfect the look and feel of a genuine kiwi pie. Katy laughs as she explains, “we didn’t post a photo of the actual pies for a few weeks, and we still managed to sell out!” The group soon partnered with the London based Wild Goose Bakery, which played an instrumental role in helping them get started.

Steph describes the group’s vision for the pies as “the kind that you could dress up or dress down, eat them from a paper bag or turn them into an epic dinner.” Working their culinary magic, Katy and Millsy, a full-time Chef at Ozone Café, bring together a mouth-watering selection of both meat and vegetarian options including ‘The Hilz Baz’, a chicken, cranberry and camembert pie that even sparked the attention of New Zealand’s very own, Hilary Barry.

Long-term, Katy and Steph are excited about the various directions the business could take. A recent collaboration with Allpress Espresso at their Dalston location, made the team hungry to one-day have their own physical presence. Steph recalls, “to experience all our mates coming down to Allpress, sitting out in the sunny courtyard and eating our pies was surreal to watch”.

Backed by an overwhelming amount of support and generosity, Katy and Steph have both agreed that one of the best things to come out of the business, is how amazing Kiwis are to other Kiwis - especially when they are away from home. Despite relentless requests from friends to send shipping containers of pies back to New Zealand, the team are committed to the UK market and excited to see it grow further.

Follow Katy and Steph on LinkedIn, or for more information on Friday Pies and how to order your batch please visit: https://www.fridaypies.co.uk/. You can also follow their updates on Instagram @friday.pies. Enjoy!

Interviewed and written by Amelia Murray.

Our stories: Jessie Healy

Written by Amelia Murray.

Jessie Healey 36 of 196As a child, Jessie knew that she one day wanted to make the world a better place. Arriving in London with just £500 in 2005, armed with a positive attitude and a wealth of friendships from her travels, she set off to make this dream a reality.

She embraced the harsh reality of a cold and dark British winter and saw the beauty in the daily London commute that so many of us love to hate. “I remember smiling and looking at the grim tube and thinking it was just the best thing ever!” With a tight purse, she was quick to land a temp job in PR and later worked her way into the digital marketing world.

Fast forward 5 years and Jessie found herself making the move back to New Zealand, in what a good friend described as her “OE from her OE”. Determined to experience New Zealand through fresh eyes, she moved in with a bunch of Irish housemates in a large flat share in Auckland. It was during this time back home that Jessie met her partner, who funnily enough, was British. He was due back to the UK as his visa was up, and Jessie made the decision to move back as well. She explains, “I still had my working visa and loads of friends and connections, so I thought I would just go back there and see what happens”.

However, the last 10 years back on UK soil has not come without its challenges. After being made redundant twice within the space of 12 months marked a turning point for Jessie. “It made me not want to rely on other businesses. I thought, with my own business, I can at least control my own destiny,” she explains.

Jessie soon identified a need for strategic marketing advice to eCommerce businesses that were either small, growing or looking to scale up. She explains, “they wouldn’t need a Chief Marketing Officer, but would need someone with a lot of experience to help them. I wanted to create an agency that provided expert advice and took on a tailored approach that left out the frills of an agency.”

With extensive knowledge from previous digital marketing roles, Jessie was able to explore the possibility of starting her own business. She acknowledges the support of her mentor, Cat Howell, who specialises in training programmes that assist new agencies. Being connected to this community of likeminded agency owners across the world helped to build her confidence and provided the reassurance that she was not doing it alone.

In 2018 Webtopia was established. What initially started as a case of working with various freelancers, soon led to the hire of her first full-time employee, and two years later, a further 8 employees. Jessie reflects, “A year ago at the beginning of the pandemic I had one employee. There was a hairy moment or two, but we soon learned that eCommerce really boomed. Retail had to pivot toward online which created a huge demand for agencies to service the need of digital advertising.”

Off the back of this wave, Jessie and her team have recently launched an online training programme to help accelerate small businesses through digital ad channels, coached by her and her team.

As a 16 year old, Jessie read ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’ by Susan Jeffers and acknowledges that this has been such a guiding principle for nearly everything in her life. “Yes, it feels scary, but embrace the pain anyway because when you are scared it means you are pushing yourself in the direction you need to go.”

Follow Jessie on LinkedIn
Find out more about Webtopia and their online eCommerce training courses.

Our Stories: Kiwiroa Marshall

Written by Amelia Murray.

From a young age, Kiwiroa Marshall has stayed true to her high school motto - Summa Pete, Seek Thou the Highest. As head girl atKiwiroa photo square 1 Papakura High, this has been a value which has resonated with Kiwiroa (known as Kiwi) and one which undoubtedly has been applied throughout various aspects of her life.

Kiwiroa describes herself as being from a true blue-collar background. Her father, who spent most of his life in the freezing works, always championed her progress. “Dad wanted more opportunities for me than he had, so he would go into school and talk to the careers advice officer and my teachers." It was an accounting teacher that said she should be going to to university that lead to her completing a four-year Bachelor of Management Studies (majoring in Accounting) at Waikato University.

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