What do you love most about the brand you’ve created?
The simplicity of the idea. For me, RE:NOURISH is the solution to a problem facing so many people with busy lifestyles – when I first landed on the idea of a fresh soup in a microwaveable, recyclable bottle, it was because I was one of those busy people myself.
I had two young sons and wanted something delicious and convenient that was also healthy too. To know that I invented the world’s first fresh soup in a microwaveable bottle is pretty mind blowing sometimes! It’s changed the way people enjoy soup and means that you can eat soup on the go without the need for any spoons or bowls (or washing up!).
Have you always wanted to work in this industry?
Yes, I’ve always loved food and the link between food as medicine. Having worked in the NHS as a critical care nurse at a busy London hospital, I know first-hand how good food can heal you and prevent you from ending up with many life threatening diseases, including type 2 diabetes which is so prevalent today.
There’s so many great food and drink brands out there and I always wanted to start something that had a clear purpose and for RE:NOURISH, it’s to make people feel good from the inside out.
What are you most proud of?
There are so many things that I’m proud of throughout our journey so far but the big one is simply starting a business with just an idea at the most difficult time in my life as a single mother of two little ones.
When I now see RE:NOURISH in 5 countries including Australia on the other side of the world, I feel incredibly proud.
What advice would you give to someone keen to start a business but unsure where to begin?
If you’re launching your own brand, it’s so important to research your market and know it inside out. It’s also a case of being super clear on what your purpose is – are you helping to solve a consumer problem? Is there a consumer need for what you’re bringing to the table? What does the competition look like and what are you doing differently or better?
I also think it’s crucial to find out what the size of the prize is in order to make it all worthwhile. In the case of soup, it’s a mega $18bn industry and nobody else in the market had made a grab and go concept so I spotted the opportunity and seized it with both hands!
Who is one of your biggest inspirations – either professionally or personally?
Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx. She set up her company on a shoestring of $5000 as a side hustle while working a full time job. She was single at the time and completely focused all of her energy on building her brand which is now a billion dollar business.
It is hard work setting up a business from scratch and you have to be fully committed to working 7 days a week and all hours in day, but there is nothing more rewarding than seeing people buying and enjoying your brand!
If you could attribute your success to anyone who gave you your big break?
I would like to say a big thank you to the head buyer of Waitrose that believed in RE:NOURISH back at the start of our journey. They really believed in me and in the brand and launched us in all 315 stores! That was unheard of for a start up that had just been going for 6 months.
This absolutely does not happen and usually takes a brand 5 years to launch into retail! It was a complete dream and if I’m honest, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing other than learning on the job!
What’s the hardest thing about your job?
Building a team. I owe my team an awful lot as it’s not always easy to get the right dynamic but we have such a great group of people at RE:NOURISH and I’m incredibly proud of what everyone’s achieved.
We all put our heart and souls in the brand and I think that comes through in all of the great stuff we’re doing.
Which part of your job do you most enjoy?
New product development. Seeing a new soup that started as an idea, launching into the supermarkets is very satisfying. The process is also great fun – trying new flavour combinations, searching for interesting and innovative ingredients, devising the product title and packaging and then selling it into stores and marketing it to consumers. I love it!
Seeing our Gazpacho on the shelf in Sainsbury’s, who have listed it for the first time this summer, was a great moment and just in time to cool our customers down in the hot weather too!
Do you find it easy to balance work and play?
I like to think so on the whole but it can be tricky – as a Mum to two teenage boys, sometimes I feel guilty when I miss important school dates as I’m away on business in Spain or Australia, but thank goodness for facetime! I’m also lucky that they are incredibly proud of me, as I am of them.
Hopefully I’m showing them what a good female role model looks like and they can take that with them into adulthood. I love that they still enjoy hanging out with their Mum when I’m around, and at the weekends we can often be found wakeboarding at the local waterpark having a good giggle!