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Businesses can only go one way – up or down – so you need to go forwards and grow. Inventing and launching new products is wonderful, and our export market is hugely exciting at the moment. We’re now exporting to Shanghai, working with bars in Ibiza and Soho House in Barcelona – how cool is that! I don’t take any of the credit for this, but I do get a real sense of satisfaction when people tell me how much they enjoy our products.
In 24 years running your own business, you learn everything about running a business! Although I’ve never gone bust, thank goodness. I’ve learned about costing, selling, marketing, finance, sales admin, purchasing, logistics, supply chain – you name it, I’ve done it! The learning curve is so steep that I learn something new every day. I’ve now employed people who are better than me at everything, so I learn from them. We want people who are experts in their field to help us grow.
I’ve made many mistakes in my time, all of which I’ve learned a great deal from. They include changing packaging when it wasn’t necessary, product launches which either weren’t exciting or didn’t fit with the rest of the range. The trouble is that you have to work fast and trust your gut, the combination of which doesn’t always equal the perfect product. I’ve learned not to rush into anything – although as an entrepreneur I do still like to have a pop at things sometimes.
I think competitors go bust often because they don’t come up with new products. They launch with three products and 10 years later they still just have those three products; they’ve done nothing to intrigue and excite their customers during that time. Their consumers are wondering what’s new, and are not being satisfied. The world moves on and people want new things.
Read the interview in the latest issue of Speciality Food, free to download here.
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