The Man Behind The Black Farmer Brand, Entrepreneur and Game Changer
Wilfred is a classic entrepreneur and has an ‘anything is possible’ attitude to everything he approaches – even his health.
Within a year of his close brush with death – from leukaemia and a stem cell transplant, which confined him to a hospital bed for the best part of 2014 – and still in the early days in his recovery, Wilfred is fired up and ready for a new challenge. Always a game changer, this time he is shaking up the well-established world of TV advertising.
“Many people after a serious illness want to change their lives, or take a step back. I don’t. I love what I do and, if anything, the thought that I might not have the opportunity to do the things I want to do has spurred me on. But I do want to do the things I have always wanted, and to give back – I don’t want to leave this life with regrets. All my energy is going into taking The Black Farmer to its next stage of development, and part of that was to make a TV commercial – something I have longed to do for many years. To bring together a team of creative people, including my hero and Hollywood legend, director Tony Kaye, and to create a game-changing ad was exhilarating. And it gave voice to the things that make me tick as an individual, as The Black Farmer, including Morris dancing. It has given me the opportunity to shout about my love of and support for rural Britain, its place in our lives and its traditions.
Watch the full length advert here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53twFqvOJ5Q.
The launch of the campaign also gave Wilfred the opportunity to say Thank You to the doctors, nurses and staff at UCLH, where he was treated.
“The care I received from the team at UCLH was extraordinary. I can honestly say that it is thanks to them that I am alive today. When I was in hospital, I used to look out of the window and see this poster site, and vowed that one day I would display my message on it to say Thank You. I am delighted that two years into my recovery I am in a position to do just that,” he says.
And to celebrate the launch of his ground-breaking TV commercial, which gives an insight into his own soul, he launched #thisismysoul – a campaign to celebrate the unique stories of people from all walks of life across the UK. Wilfred is inviting everyone to take part and share their stories at http://www.theblackfarmer.com/this-is-my-soul.
Wilfred’s own story shapes everything he does. From his own humble beginnings in Jamaica and then inner-city Birmingham, to TV director, to buying his Devon farm and launching his now hugely successful The Black Farmer brand, you can catch a glimpse into the soul that makes this man so formidable. “The importance of sharing our stories unites us, makes us stronger. I find people and their stories endlessly fascinating and enriching. I never stop learning and being amazed at what drives and inspires us. We can learn so much from each other,” he says.
And what of Wilfred’s soul?
“I just love flamenco dancing. I also love Morris dancers and British eccentricity. I want to celebrate the traditional side of being British, and reclaim the flag to show that nationalism is not just the preserve of the sports field. Championing rural Britain is in my soul.”
Wilfred’s life journey has taken him on an interesting route. He left school with no qualifications, a difficult student and undiagnosed dyslexic. After an unsuccessful episode in the Army, for a number of years Wilfred worked as a chef, before pursuing a career in the BBC, becoming a producer/director mainly working on food and drink programmes. He is credited with bringing many of the top celebrity chefs to the small screen, including Gordon Ramsay, Antony Worrall-Thompson, Brian Turner and James Martin.
As well as taking time to write a cookery book (published by Simon & Schuster) and give motivational talks to young entrepreneurs, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Marketing by Plymouth University.
Reflecting Wilfred’s own story, The Black Farmer supports Leuka cancer charity, British Dyslexic Association and CHICKS – providing respite breaks for disadvantaged children in the UK.
Flavours without Frontiers – the promise offered by his products – also goes a long way to sum up his personality. He is certainly not one to be confined by race, convention or tradition.