58: Eco-Friendly Drinks – Interview with CanO Water

Josh, Ariel and Perry (all under 25) started the brand after they come back from travelling Asia where they’ve seen the damaging effects plastic had on the ocean.

Determined to change that, they created a product that appeals to a younger audience and makes ‘recycling’ more trendy and attractive through a simplistic and stylish design of the can.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

We’re three close friends who grew up in the same town.
With over a decade of experience in branding and graphic design, Perry decided to apply his skills to his new venture. With the vision of creating a product that has an impact visually as well as functionally for the environment, Perry teamed up with his good friends Ariel and Josh to help further develop the idea and launch CanO Water.
Ariel has a background in the city where he was a headhunter scouting programmers and quant researchers for hedge funds and banks globally. After helping to bring the concept to life, he left his job to focus full time on CanO Water as he saw a gap in the market and was keen to educate people on the benefits of using aluminum vs plastic.
Josh’s background lies in the events and nightlife industry, with experience in marketing and having previously run a successful events company, Josh saw a perfect fit within the vision of CanO Water and his passion for the healthy lifestyle.

What inspired you to start this business?
Plastic is increasingly being recognised to be bad for your health and for the environment. We saw a gap in the market for a new innovative product to become the alternative to single-use plastic bottles. We wanted to create something with a purpose and not just another brand that slipped into an already saturated market. Aluminium is the most recyclable material on the planet and more sustainable alternative to plastic.

What are the best and worst parts of running your business?
The hardest thing is learning everything yourself and having to build something that doesn’t exist yet. Hitting targets and goals is what makes the hard part worth it. Seeing your brand grow is an amazing feeling.

Which resources to run your business do you use most?
We put a big focus on social media channels from LinkedIn, to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. For more business purposes we use Xero.
Each platform has a different purpose and we manage it differently. For instance, on Snapchat we will create a unique video content and release behind the scene footage. Facebook is more of an advertising platform whereas Instagram is a tool that we use to post our creative content.
Staying on top of the ever-changing social media landscape is an immense task but we know that is also the one worth investing the time and effort in.

What keeps you motivated to keep working on your business?
We do not see ourselves as another water on the shelf but more as a solution to a huge environmental problem. We nurture people by educating them through social media, events and POS material.

What would you recommend new entrepreneurs?
Just go ahead and start!
Create a full strategy of what it is and who you are marketing it to.
However be prepared for a difficult journey, for these ups and downs but trust us, it’s worth it!

To learn more about CanO Water please visit Canowater.com.

57: Marketing – Interview with Marin Gordon from Grateful Gordons

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Tell us about your background and what kind of business you run!

I’ve been an entrepreneur for the last 10 years and currently run a marketing / advertising business as well as value content for my own brand!

What are the pros and cons of living in Hawaii?

Pros:
Awesome people
Vacation 24/7
Slower pace
Aloha
Great Food
Lots of FRUIT!

Cons:
Lack of some amenities
Can’t get away for the weekend in the car
Long or expensive shipping
Higher cost of living

Your videos look very professional! How to get started to make great videos? Do you have any beginners’ advice such as the right equipment?

It’s very easy to pick up a point and shoot with good video capability. I started over 10 years ago with the first generation Canon Elph. Just film things that catch your eye and put it together in something simple like iMovie. Over time you improve and see inspiration from other videographers or footage you catch on TV.

What would be your top 3 tips to help market a website?

  • Create valuable and quality content
  • Optimize SEO or hire someone to do it
  • Leverage Social Media

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Do you have a YouTube video which did particular well and which you would recommend to our reader?

I love all our videos. Currently the topics focused on simplicity and the cost of money are doing really well. But we range from family life to travel, wellness and self improvement.

What would you say is a USP of your marketing company?

We focus 100% on being value driven. If it’s meaningful to us, that’s what we focus on producing. I’ve spent a lot of time chasing money and all I’ve been left with is a lot of money. So choosing to do something that is inspiring and meaningful is always fulfilling and because that’s easy to become good at, there’s still always money. The only difference now it’s that isn’t not the focus or purpose for our creations.

Do you follow any marketing gurus or marketing forums?

Currently I love Tony Robbins and T. Harv Eker. But I am always immersed in books of relative interest.

Any interesting books on marketing you can recommend?

The Greatest Salesman in the World and The Go-Giver.

To learn more about Marin please visit Gratefulgordons.com

56: Craft Products – Interview with Hannah and Rosie from New Craft House

Today we feature the founders Hannah and Rosie from The New Craft House.

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What kind of business do you run? When did you start it and where is it based?

We’ve both been friends since school and set up a craft blog together after University. It naturally developed into a business after we won the Cosmopolitan Best Craft Blog award and started being approached by brands who wanted to work with us. More recently we’ve launched our own range of craft products and now work full time on the business. We sell our products, run workshops and write features for craft magazines. We’re based by Kings Cross in London.

What are the pros and cons of running your own business?

The biggest pro is having complete control over the business decisions you make and what you decide to do every day. On the flip side, there’s no one else to blame when things go wrong and you don’t have a guaranteed salary at the end of every month.

How many people are involved in your business?

At the moment it’s just the two of us in the business so we do pretty much everything! We also use an accountant, have a business mentor from UCL and sometimes use a freelance illustrator.

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Can you recommend a company or designer who helped you build the website?

Kim Lawler (Kim Lawler Creative) set up our website and she was brilliant. She has a real eye for design and understood our aesthetic perfectly. She also integrated our site with Shopify which we’ve found works really well.

Do you use any productivity tools?

Trello!

How was your company funded?

We won a Bright Ideas Award from UCL which helped us get our business off the ground initially. Other than that we’ve just been funded from our sales and reinvesting money coming in. We’ve had good growth but recognise that to accelerate that we may need to take on investment and will be focussing on that next year.

Outside of business what do you enjoy doing? How do you recharge your batteries?

We both love to sew and knit and do other crafts so it’s kind of still like work!

To learn more about Hannah and Rosie’s business please visit Thenewcrafthouse.com.

55: Coconut products – Interview with Jacob Thundil from Cocofina

Today we feature Jacob Thundil from Cocofina who was featured on the British entrepreneur show Dragons’ Den.

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What kind of business do you run? When did you start it and where is it based?

I run Cocofina a coconut company. We produce a range of 30 products with coconut. All of our products are 100% natural and majority of them are organic. I started 11 years ago and we are based in Eastcote.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background. What inspired you to start this business?

I was born in Kerala. While I was at university my dad passed away and I ended up running his business and completing a mechanical engineering degree. After completing my studies I decided to leave the family business to pursue an MBA and work in large companies like BT, Accenture, HSBC, Virgin Media etc. When I got to 30 years I started looking for ways to leave the corporate world. While I was in Brazil on a business trip and still contemplating on what to do I was given a coconut to drink and I rediscovered coconut water. I decided that this is what I wanted to do. When I was searching for names I wanted to focus on a name which signified a quality product hence ‘Cocofina’

Which resources to run your business do you use most?

My colleagues are the most invaluable resource.

What would you recommend new entrepreneurs? How to get started?

Start small and be quick don’t be afraid. Often when you have a job and you leave it start a business it can be lonely but this is a temporary phase. Life is game make sure you have enough lives left to play to cover for the mistakes you will make early on. In the early stages try to favour variable costs over fixed costs and have enough money to be able to live in case everything goes badly.

How was your experience in Dragons’ Den? What would be your advice to other people want to appear?

My experience on Dragons’ Den was amazing although you see 15 minutes on TV we were in the Den for 2.5 hours! My advice would be prepare and be yourself.

Any books about entrepreneurship you can recommend?

I am currently reading the Barefoot Spirit. Its an interesting story of a couple who built a very successful wine business with lots of business lessons.

Outside of business what do you enjoy doing? How do you recharge your batteries?

I visit the gym twice a week and cook afterwards with my 15 year old son its our time to catch up. I like going out to eat and travelling.

Tell us some fun facts about you or your business!

All the products originated in my kitchen. At any time there is at least 50 products which were made in the kitchen and not taken into production.

What is the best business decision you’ve ever made?

The best decisions were to wait to appoint distributors in the various countries. In the early stages we were not attracting the right calibre of distributors.

What’s your fondest memory working on this business?

Visiting Japan for a trade show. We had so much fun experiencing a new culture.

Tell us more about the “Great Taste Award”. Do you need to apply to get it and do you think it helps sales?

You need to apply and they close the application when it gets to 10,000 products, Panels of judges judge products and awards and given out. It helps sales since consumers recognise it.

What are your future plans for the company?

We plan to make Cocofina a global house hold brand name!

To learn more about Jacob’s company please visit Cocofina.com.

54: Powdered Food – Interview with Huel

Today with interview the people behind Huel who manufacture powdered food.

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What kind of business do you run? When did you start it and where is it based?

Huel is a nutritionally complete powdered food startup. The idea for Huel was first thought of in 2012, but but sold our first batch of Huel in June 2015. We’re currently based in Aylesbury.

How did you come up with the name Huel?

Huel, is created from a combination of the words Human and Fuel.

What inspired you to start this business?

The idea came from when the co-founder, Julian Hearn, was on a diet plan for a former business of his. He had to stick to a strict diet to make sure he was getting all the nutrients his body needed, but found that making sure you got them all, and having all the time to prepare them, was a “nightmare”. That’s why he created Huel. It takes two minutes to prepare, and has 100% of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to thrive. People can gain or lose weight, eat healthier and save time all in the knowledge what they’re eating is sustainable and healthy.

The formula was created by our nutritionist, James Collier BSc (Hons) RNutr, who has 25 years working in nutrition, includes working in the NHS as a clinical dietitian for over 7 years covering an array of clinical areas, where he worked with people with a wide range of ailments and is co-owner of one of the world’s most popular bodybuilding forums, www.MuscleTalk.co.uk. He carefully created it to make sure Huel was a nutritionally complete powdered food, containing all the protein, carbs, fats, vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Indeed, Huel provides at least 100% of the UK Government’s ‘Reference Nutrient Intakes’ and the European Union’s ‘Daily Recommended Amount’.

Are there any blogs, podcasts or Facebook Groups about entrepreneurship you follow closely?

There are too many podcasts to list, but one that we are particularly fond of is Shopify Masters, which the founder Julian Hearn was recently asked to be on.

Which resources to run your business do you use most?

We use the eCommerce platform Shopify, so that is what we use the most. However sites such as basecamp which help create and track tasks people are doing are also invaluable for keeping on top of things. Outside of these, gmail, Skype, and our forum hosting service Discourse are also things we spend a lot of time on.

How many people are involved in your business?

There are currently 7 people directly hired by Huel. However, we outsource a lot of Huel to fulfillment our house, freelancers and the facility that makes Huel, so the number is much higher than that. At least 30 people, probably a lot more.

How was your company funded?

Julian Hearn has previously sold a successful former business of his, so he was able to fund Huel entirely from this. As he has already made his money, this means Huel is much more a project of love than something to make money.

To learn more please visit Huel.com.