It’s the start of a new week which means it’s time to go Behind The Biz. This is my new interview series where I discover small businesses, the people behind them and their business journey.
Today’s interview is with Nick, the founder of Bodhi.
Please tell us about your business.
We sell healthy snack bars made with cricket flour! Bodhi is all about introducing edible insects in a fun and friendly way. There are lots of reasons to use insects for food, both nutritional and environmental, and we hope by using cricket flour, our products can be an approachable introduction to the concept.
Insects have been used as food since prehistoric times, and a large portion of the world still do today. It’s not yet common in most western countries, but we hope to challenge the misconception that insects aren’t good to eat.
Where did the inspiration for Bodhi come from?
I’d read a lot about insects as food, and tried some fried crickets while travelling in Thailand and found them to be delicious! I then became interested in the cricket flour products in America, and was impressed with how well they were being received. At that time there was no insect snacks in the UK aside from novelty products, so I decided to look into working on a healthy snack bar product based on cricket flour. 10 months later, Bodhi was launched.
How did you decide upon the name of your brand?
It was tough to come up with a name, other brands had gone with something similar to ‘cricket’ or ‘ento’ (from entomology), so we wanted to do something a little different. After lots of brainstorming, we came up with Bodhi, which can be translated as ‘enlightenment.’ We felt that fitted in nicely with the message of Bodhi, we really wanted the ‘introducing something new’ to be the stand out message. Additionally, the closeness to the work ‘body’ works well for a product we see as being used within a healthy lifestyle.
What did you do before starting Bodhi?
I was a retail manager for a large wine company. Learning about wine was lots of fun, and the free samples were great too! But ultimately, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do.
Did you always plan to be self-employed?
I’ve wanted to be self-employed for as long as I can remember, I think certain people are just better suited to working for themselves! My previous jobs have been great learning experiences though, and I wouldn’t change them.
What has been the biggest challenge in running your business so far?
It’s a big challenge to reach potential customers on a modest budget. We have to be really good at finding cost-effective ways of communicating with our target market, as it can be extremely expensive to launch and advertise new products.
What has been the highlight of your business journey to date?
A lot of hard work went into getting the product right, so the day the bars were finally produced was a special day!
What role does social media play for your business and do you have a favourite social platform?
Social media has enormous potential for any modern food brand, and it’s a key part of our marketing strategy. Facebook would have to be the favourite; due to the sheer amount of time people spend on it. However, it takes time to build up a following, and this is something we’re still working on. If you haven’t yet, please go and give us a like.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Learn as much as possible about your market, test your idea, and go for it!
Where do you hope to take your business in 2016?
I really want to build our customer base and establish the brand further. After that, the plan is to look at introducing one or two new flavours of bars, and start to expand the brand. I’d love to see Bodhi products in major national retailers by the end of the year.
Thank you so much to Nick for taking the time to be involved with Behind The Biz. I hope you’ve all enjoyed the interview. Leave a comment below and let me know if you’ve tried the Bodhi bars.
I hope you’ve all enjoyed today’s interview and don’t forget to check out last week’s interview with the founder of Vintage Matters. If you fancy getting involved with Behind The Biz please leave a comment below or drop me a message over on Twitter.