The Yorkshire Dama Cheese
Locally produced dairy delicacies
Name: Razan Alsous
Position in the company: Owner / Director
Years with the company: since establishment June- 2014
Number of employees: 6
Yearly revenue: £ 254,000 (2019)
What is The Yorkshire Dama Story?
Yorkshire Dama Cheese Has been established in June 2014, after we fled the war in Syria, myself Razan Alsous, my Husband Raghid Sandouk and the three kids came to the UK, we have notice how is amazing the British milk, and the Halloumi market is growing here in the UK, so we thought of making the twist and think creatively.
Halloumi cheese is one of the traditional cheese in Syria we call it Halom over there, and the Bedouin's used to make it from Goat's and sheep's milk as these are the most available milk in the desert, here we thought why not to try making the same Syrian cheese with the beautiful Yorkshire milk, and from there we started our story. We asked for loan of £2500 from the Start up loan, we bought very basic equipment not been made to make cheese, with Raghid's experience he has changed them to the purpose of cheese making. The Halom cheese got distinctive character of squeaky because we cook the curd into boiling whey, this is why we have decide to call our cheese Squeaky cheese. Since then we have developed 7 flavours of Squeaky cheese and we've been honoured to have our new premises opened by the presence of HRH the princess Royal. We have achieved 22 awards worldwide, nationwide and best cheese in Yorkshire within 5 Years in business.
How has the lockdown impacted your business and what are your future plans?
During the Covid-19: we had hard time during the pandemic period due uncertainty, we have received huge amount of cancelation for cheese orders due to closure in the hospitality sector, we had to stay at home for two weeks and think of the employees health and safety, but we always believe that if we think positively, those hard time could strengthen us, especially the Covid-19 was the second hit this year after the Flood we had because of the storm Ciera, so success in the business is all about how many times we fallen down then we stand up back and enjoyed continue our journey, we have learned how to be flexible and no guarantee in life, tomorrow always is a better day, we have worked hard on our online platform, it was challenging introduce our business to the customers online, as but reality once the customer taste the cheese, they will understand the story and the quality behind, online life looks Rosie, but the reality is different.
What is your plan to further expand The Yorkshire Dama awareness?
We have started a new product this year during the pandemic to support farmers, so we have launched 100% Sheep's milk Squeaky cheese and 100% Goats Squeaky cheese. and we are looking to expand our production capacity as the lesson we have learned from the COVID-19 that we need to depend on our local sources to survive, no one can guarantee the future.
Where do you see The Yorkshire Dama in the next two years and what would you need to further grow the business?
We are planning to have our own dairy with possibility of doing different activity in it:
Have automated production line to increase our capacity, rising up the quality and get higher accreditation, to be able supplying more retailers and make the Squeaky cheese spread more in the UK.
Having R&D section in our dairy to teach people how to make cheese, spread the education, inspire them especially the young whom don’t know what do they want in the future, sharing our story and let them learn how to make cheese from basic equipment might end up with growing cheese manufacturing in the UK as we believe the British milk is the advantage of the rainy weather so we need to save it and add value to it.
Having a place where we can invite the Old people whom got lots of time , to exchange experience in life, do cooking demonstration, sharing out story and support the community as a thank back to accept us and support us.