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.

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