I have another exciting Behind the Biz interview to share with you today. For those of you who are new to Prettygreentea, Behind the Biz is my interview series where I discover businesses, the people behind them and their business journey. Today’s interview is with a delicious brand which I’m sure many of you are familiar with and it’s a personal favourite of mine.
In today’s Behind the Biz interview I’m chatting with Pip Murray, the founder of Pip & Nut.
Please tell us about your business
Pip & Nut is a start-up food brand. We make tasty natural nut butters in a range of flavours. We are committed to only using the best ingredients, so we never use palm oil, refined sugars or preservatives. We are firm believers that healthy food doesn’t have to be boring or compromise on taste. Pip & Nut launched in January 2015 and it has been an amazing journey so far. You can now find our products in over 3000 stores across the UK, including Sainsbury’s, Ocado and Holland & Barrett.
Where did the inspiration for Pip & Nut come from?
The inspiration for Pip & Nut actually came from my love of running. About four and a half years ago now I was training for a marathon and eating loads of peanut butter because the fats and protein mean it is great for recovery. However I noticed that most brands on the supermarket shelves were full of unnecessary added ingredients, such as palm oil and sugars. There were some healthier options but they weren’t particularly accessible and I saw a gap in the market for a natural nut butter brand that appealed to a wider, younger demographic. I started to play around with recipes in my kitchen and took my creations to Maltby St Market in Bermondsey every weekend. I realised that there was a real demand for the product and that is when I started to think seriously about how I could turn my nut butters into a scalable business.
How did you decide upon the name of your brand?
Ah, this was difficult! I worked with an agency to help me build the brand, but the name was the hardest bit. We went through so many different options and eventually got to Pip & Nut. It just felt right straight away; I love that there is some personality in the name.
How did you approach your first stockist?
Our first stockist was actually Selfridges in London. I remember being so nervous when I went to pitch the products to the buyer, however they were great and got behind Pip & Nut straightaway. It was such a proud moment seeing the products on their shelves for the first time.
What did you do before starting Pip & Nut?
Nothing to do with food and drink! I was actually working in the Science Museum as a producer for children’s theatre, and I used to tour shows around the UK. To say founding my own business has been a learning curve would be an understatement, however it is amazing how quickly you can pick things up when you have a passion for something.
Did you always plan to be self-employed?
No, funnily enough I’m actually not one of these people who aspired to have a business from an early age. I’ve kind of just fallen into it. What I would say though is now that I work for myself I’d think I’d find it really hard going back to working for someone else. I love that I get to choose what I do on a day to day basis and responsible for driving something forwards.
What has been the biggest challenge in running your business so far?
In business there are constantly new challenges but that is what makes it exciting and drives you forward. Early on, one of the biggest challenges I faced was finding the right co-packer (factory). As a new entrepreneur with no experience I didn’t really have a leg to stand on in negotiations. It took about 6 months to find our current co-packer, which was quite frustrating but such a relief once it was sorted.
What has been the highlight of your business journey to date?
There have been lots of highlights; however finding out that we had won a listing in Sainsbury’s was pretty special. I couldn’t believe it when they first called me. Winning that listing has been fundamental to the growth of Pip & Nut and I am really grateful for their support.
What role does social media play for your business and do you have a favourite social platform?
Social media is an important part of our marketing. We have found that we have a really engaged consumer base online, which is fantastic for building a community around the brand. We don’t currently do any above-the-line advertising and so social media is a brilliant channel for us in terms of building brand awareness. However, it is important to remember that social media is not our only form of marketing. We also put a lot of effort into brand partnerships, creative events and in-store activations, amongst other activities. As for my favourite social platform, it would have to be Instagram. I can easily spend a while scrolling through all the images.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
My main advice would be to just start! It will seem daunting but it really is the best way to get the wheels in motion. When I began selling nut butter at Maltby St Market I knew that wasn’t what I wanted to do long-term, but I realised that it was an important first step. My second piece of advice is to be really confident in your product, service, or whatever it is that you are offering, as you are going to have to pitch it in against a lot of competition. If you don’t fully believe in what you are doing, people will see right through that.
Where do you hope to take Pip & Nut in the year ahead?
This year is going to be a big one for Pip & Nut. We have some great new product development in the pipeline, both in nut butters and in a new category. I can’t reveal what it is yet but I am so excited about it. The team is continuing to grow and I am looking forward to seeing where we are at the end of 2017.
Thank you so much to Pip for taking the time to be involved with my interview series. I’ve been a huge fan of the brand for quite some time now and it was a real pleasure to learn more about Pip’s business journey. I’m really looking forward to finding out more about their new products and seeing the business grow throughout 2017. Have you tried Pip & Nut yet? You really must. Although I like all of the flavours I’m currently really enjoying the Honey Cinnamon Cashew Butter.