It’s the start of a fresh new week which means it’s time for a Behind the Biz interview. This is a weekly series where I discover awesome brands and the stories behind their founders.
This week I’m delighted to share my interview with Ed Foy, the co-founder of PRESS.
PRESS was founded back in 2014 by Ed Foy and Georgie Reames. They’re best known for their Cleanse programs and have 3 juice bars located in Soho, St Paul’s and in Selfridges. Their flagship store in Soho is now their first health café. You’ll find vegan food, juices, smoothies and shakes – the menu looks fab.
Where did the inspiration for PRESS come from?
Georgie and I were both living in America on the East and West coast and just saw how exciting and incredible the juicing and health food culture was there.
How did you decide upon the name of your business?
After many discussions and working with some great friends and professionals in the end we just wanted it to be simple, clean and honest… like our juices.
What makes PRESS different?
We started making everything ourselves in my parents kitchen, the basement of a pub and a TA training center kitchen. We started with flavour rather than margin and have never stopped focusing on the flavour of our products
We have stores, an online business and then 350+ partner retailers. Having our own stores and health cafes means we speak to thousands of customers every week and it keeps us very engaged with what people want from us and they can be very honest with their feedback.
I think in terms of our vision, we dream big and hope to one day create a world class health and nutrition business. Its exciting to believe in such a big goal and the people in the business are bought into that. In the end when it comes to our people, I just want people to love coming to work as much as I do.. having fun while solving problems and overcoming challenges is what makes it awesome.
We have a “no dick-head” policy in place…. The team do the final interviews rather than me and I am very quick to make decisions if people are making others unhappy or stressed. We want to build an academy for excellence at PRESS and hope to one day have people go on to start their companies or create positive change in other businesses.
What is a Cleanse and why should people try one?
A cleanse is an opportunity to give your body a rest from hi salt, sugar and fatty foods and give your digestive system a break. It’s a spring board to making more conscious decisions about what you fuel your body with. Some of the benefits are weight loss, skin improvements and sleep quality improvement.
What did you do before starting PRESS?
I have always been in retail and branding. I started my career at L”Oreal as brand manager of Kiehls in the UK. Then went to the US to do an MBA which was fantastic. I helped start 2 clothing companies and a night club in DC which are all still going. I am not involved and certainly the credit goes to the real founders.. but they were all great experiences and I learnt a lot. I then joined Jack Wills as head of global marketing Operations, again an amazing challenge and I learnt a huge amount. I then went back to the US to help a hospitality group and helped launch Pinewood social, an award winning restaurant, bar warehouse conversion… one of the coolest places I know anywhere.
Did you always plan to be self-employed?
I think I have always liked the idea of starting and building something meaningful… so I suppose yes is the short answer.
Please share a business high and low with us.
A high… honestly since the business has got to a really stable and exciting place, and it sounds cheesy but every day it is a pleasure to go to work. I don’t know any greater pleasure or privilege than that of working with an amazing group of people, doing something you love.
A low….. I was hungover and in on a Sunday helping make juices. I had spent 90 minutes pressing the mountain of Kale for the day. I turned around to get something behind me and knocked over 20 litres of pure kale juice…. The scream of frustrating that ensued is legendary and so were the looks of distress of the team!
What role does social media play for your business and do you have a favourite social platform?
Social media is replacing above the line media… that’s not a bold statement just a fact for brands like ours in the early stages. I think the commercialisation of Instagram present real challenges to how to communicate and what to use platforms for. It’s a moving feast and the composition of the landscape of social platforms will just continue to evolve and we need to keep pace.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
There are, in my opinion, 3 questions to ask yourself (and actually answer for any potential investors).
1. Is the opportunity big and exciting enough to be worth years of your life and money (if its not, you reduce the likelihood of success and the ultimate delivery of a great business).
2. Do the margins make sense from the start comparatively to the industry norms
3. Are you (and your team) and your brand/company the right vehicle to seize that exciting opportunity
There are a million other things I think that I have learn. One is that everyone and every business has good luck and bad luck. We tend to curse the bad luck and rarely dwell on the things that go right.
In the end, remember that all the businesses out there face struggle. If you can be the company that just survives and lasts and gets through those challenges you can become the best in the business. So many people/companies fall at hurdles or give up. This leaves a lot of room if you can keep going.
Where do you hope to take your business in 2018?
In 2018 we are going to expand our product range further into broader and improved ranges. We have hired some really talented people and the team is going from strength to strength.
We will expand further into Europe which is really exciting. A new warehouse facility to allow us to grow and improve operations and we are looking to partner with some larger retailers and increase exposure to the broader UK.
We are running our annual conference in the Autumn, this year its called SUSTAIN+ and is about long term health and happiness management and alongside that about the environment and how we impact it and how we can work to help repair the damage we have caused. All relevant and exciting topics and things that need talking about.
I hope you all enjoyed this interview as much as I did. I want to say a big thank you to Ed for taking the time to tell us about his business journey. He really let us into his story. Ed’s impressive career path alongside the passion and love he has for PRESS and his team is truly inspiring. I can’t wait to pop into London and check out their new café. I’m tempted to try my first ever Cleanse too.
Ed offers useful advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. Scroll back up and make a note of those 3 questions. If you believe in what you’re doing just keep going, don’t give up. As always, feel free to leave a link to your independent business in the comment section for others to check out..
I can’t wait to see PRESS continue to grow in the future. It’s clear they’re destined for even bigger things. I’ll also be checking their site to find out more about SUSTAIN+, it sounds right up my street.
Once again, a huge thank you to Ed for getting involved with Behind the Biz.