If you’re new to Prettygreentea, Behind The Biz is a weekly interview series where I discover small and growing businesses, the people behind them and their business journey. In today’s Behind The Biz interview we’re diving back into the food and drink industry to chat about a summer time favourite with a twist!
In today’s Behind the Biz interview I’m chatting with Ben, the co-founder of Cranes.
Please tell us about your business.
Cranes is everything Cranberries, we produce a cranberry cider as well as a cranberry and blood orange liqueur. We brew the cranberries along with apples to produce a naturally light cider available in three refreshing flavours: Cranberry & Lime, Raspberry & Pomegranate and Blueberry & Apple. For the liqueur, we boil up the cranberries, blood orange juice and orange rind then steep in grain spirit for 4 weeks, creating a delicious liqueur.
Where did the inspiration for Cranes come from?
The inspiration came whilst I was at university in Exeter, the heart of the west country, enjoying the copious amounts of ciders they had to offer. Daniel was up in Leeds drinking anything and everything. Cranberry’s being notoriously healthy lead Daniel to drinking cranberry juice to compensate for all the unhealthy drinking he was doing. Once Dan and I were reunited we brought those two things together, and it all started from there.
How did you decide upon the name of your business?
For the name, we must give credit to our dad. While starting to set up the business he did a spot of research and found that in the 17th Century, when the Europeans went to America, they discovered the blossom of the cranberry vine resembled a crane’s head therefore calling them ‘Crane-berries’. So, the Cranes brand was born!
What did you do before starting Cranes?
Well, we went straight into the creating the business after finishing university. I would however recommend anyone that is looking to start a business to work in the industry beforehand. We had to learn a lot on the job!
Did you always plan to set up your own business?
I think subconsciously I always wanted to set up my own business and have had entrepreneurial spirit from a very young age. I remember when I was 12 I tried to get a job as a paper boy but you had to be 13, so I started a little car washing business making flyers and washing cars at people’s houses. I did this while Daniel set up a gardening business charging £2.50 per hour (at the time and our age it seemed a lot of money). Then in my gap year before university I made an online e-commerce site selling cufflinks.
What has been the biggest challenge in running your business so far?
Setting up a business is a massive challenge in itself. We are faced with challenges constantly, for me there isn’t one that really stands out, but because of the consistent bombardment of challenges, I would say that mental strength is a big challenge. There are so many ups and downs (more downs) when setting up a business that you have to be strong willed and persistent, and that entrepreneurial spirit has to pull you through.
What has been the highlight of your business journey to date?
The highlight for me was closing the crowding platform having doubled our target from £95,000 to £190,000 with 285 investors. The thought that many successful business people and individuals believe in you and your business is extremely rewarding.
What role does social media play for your business and do you have a favourite social platform?
Our target market is millennials, which means social media is the perfect platform to again access to them as well as to create brand awareness. That, along with the ability to build a following with very targeted campaigns increases the importance of social media in our overall marketing. Personally, Instagram is my favourite platform, it’s all about imagery which is more powerful when it comes to building on our brand image as its easier to create feelings and emotions with photos.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
If you truly believe in your idea or product then go ahead and make it happen. You will only look back and regret not giving it ago if you don’t. It’s amazing how far passion can take you, people can tell if you are passionate and it is contagious so people will more likely believe in you and your product. BUT, there is a fine line between being a passionate entrepreneur and being deluded. You must be able to identify the difference from being a passionate entrepreneur which is helping you through the hard times and being delusional, when the product or idea isn’t getting any traction and you need to give up.
Where do you hope to take your business in the year ahead?
My aspirations have always grown with the business, and I have always wanted more and more for Cranes. We have a lot in the pipeline for the up and coming year, we want to build the business as much as we can. We have several wholesalers coming on board so our biggest goal will be to build our national distribution along with brand awareness, and to build on our core team.
Thank you so much to Ben and Dan for getting involved with Behind the Biz. I really enjoyed hearing about their business journey and I hope you all did too. I love supporting small businesses, especially when the founders are as passionate as Ben and Dan. I can’t wait to see Cranes continue to grow throughout 2017.
If you fancy getting involved with Behind The Biz please leave a comment below, send me an email or drop me a message over on Twitter.