Billies & Tong is owned by Gerhardus (Gerry) Koen. The business was created from a passion for biltong and a hobby that followed him over from Zimbabwe. Originally from a farm Chegutu, Gerry settled in the U.K in 2009 and has worked as an extra on films (he is quite the secret actor), has been an Auto Electrician making police cars and spent several years in the events industry before creating Billies & Tong.
Gerry now lives in the smallest city in England, Wells in Somerset, with his wife Nats and loves the relaxed way of life that Somerset provides. Gerry, having a dislike for motorways and congestion, likes that Wells is central enough to be able to head to London when needed, but the pull of the countryside always brings him back.
Billies & Tong makes everything for the budding home biltong maker, from handmade domestic biltong dryers, handmade biltong slicers to olive wood chopping boards and biltong spices. Amazingly Billies & Tong runs on a very spirited team of just two, Gerry and Jo. Gerry being the owner, ideas man and maker of all the handmade products, and Jo is the Operations Manager who deals with the rest of the business that makes it all tick.
Billies & Tong is the only U.K registered supplier of wooden biltong dryers as well as stainless steel commercial dryers, they now ship to many countries worldwide….not bad given that it all started because Gerry made himself a biltong dryer in 2014 and put one for sale on eBay it see if it would get any interest..it sold within 7 minutes!
A big piece of Gerry’s heart will always be in Zimbabwe, how could it not be with such an amazing upbringing, i childhood of freedom in the place he will always call home. One of the many things that makes Gerry so proud to be a Zimbabwean is that when ever he talks for fellow Southern Africans it is like you have known one another for years, on the very first meeting.
If you want to know more, have a look at this article: What is biltong?