Where did the inspiration for Well & Truly come from?
With snacking sales on the up due to consumers change in eating habits, there was a clear gap in this space for a brand that could make better & healthier versions of some of the most loved snacking products we all know.
Whilst in recent years we noticed a flurry of innovative healthy snacks being launched (Kale chips?) often taste was compromised for health credentials. No brand offered better-for-you versions of much loved snacks in popular flavours and traditional formats, so we set out to un-junk & improve the nutritional profiles of snacking classics such as Tortilla Chips and our version of a NikNak whilst not compromising on either taste or health.
How did you decide upon the name of your brand?
We knew how we wanted consumers to feel about our brand and had a clear idea on the types of products we would launch. Based on this we had a creative brainstorm session with our designers where we came up with a short list.
Later that week we took some tortilla chips over to a friends house who said that they were Well&Truly delicious! Funnily enough this was one of the brand names on our list and that made the decision for us.
We were now known as Well&Truly
How did you approach your first stockist?
To be honest we were just very lucky. We contacted the FreeFrom buyer at Tesco at the right time and they didn’t have anything similar to our Tortilla Chips in their range. Our Tesco listing was a huge moment for us as it was our first listing and the first time we saw our product on the shelves in store. We went from 0 stores to more than 1,000 stores over night.
What did you do before starting Well & Truly?
I headed up numerous marketing departments for sports nutrition companies like Glanbia plc and PhD sports. Prior to that I worked in strategy at BSkyB.
Did you always plan to be self-employed?
I had always liked the idea of setting up something that I would feel really passionate about. Through the 10 years I spent in large FMCG companies in marketing and nutrition I knew I wanted to launch something in food that would help consumers make a healthier switch as this can have long term health benefits.
What has been the highlight of your business journey to date?
There are so many it is difficult to just pick one. The first that comes to mind is our listing with Tesco. It was one of the most memorable Well&Truly days although it didn’t sink in until we saw our product on shelf – when we literally jumped for joy.
The second top highlight is closing the two rounds of investment where we raised over £500k in total. The third is the rebrand which has just gone live and firmly positions us a mainstream snacking brand with bold bright packs and new flavours.
What has been one of the biggest challenges you have faced?
As a start-up you face challenges on a daily basis. You need to juggle so many roles and tasks which you don’t always have experience in, but being co-founders has helped us a lot as we always have someone to bounce ideas off and challenge each other. One of our biggest continuous challenges is staying on top of cashflow to make sure we can continue to grow quickly.
What role does social media play for your business and do you have a favourite social platform?
Social media has replaced traditional advertising but it is becoming harder to standout as it is starting to become a cluttered channel. We are constantly looking at ways to be more creative on social media to be able to raise our brand awareness and tell our brand story. We’ve started to use illustrations on our photos to make them more ownable to the Well&Truly brand and convey our core message of packed with positivity. Instagram is the strongest social media channel for us and has helped us reach out to bloggers and influencers who in turn have promoted our products to their fans. Social media will continue to be a core marketing channel for us but we are going to start investing in video.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Do it! It’s the best thing we’ve ever done but make sure you have a good network & team around you to help guide you and offer advice when you need it. We both say that we couldn’t do it on our own, being able to share the journey with someone has made all the ups and downs so much better.
Make sure you have a product or idea that you believe in and that you have tested with consumers. If you know it is better than the competition the journey will be so much easier.
Build a good network of other start-ups who you can meet for a chat or coffee. The start-up scene in London is very supportive and always happy to share any advice or tips. We’ve also enjoyed partnering with other start-ups for competitions and sampling to help raise our brand awareness to different consumer groups.
Where do you hope to take your business in 2018?
The next 12 months will be hugely exciting and truly defining for Well&Truly as we embark on the next phase of our journey. We just launched our rebrand which we hope will firmly place us in the uber-competitive ‘core snacking’ space which is a stale category in serious need of a shake up and ‘betterment’. We will be the brand bringing the excitement and growth to this space in 2018, and we couldn’t be prouder of our new look and the fantastic NPD which has just hit shelves!
We are growing our sales & marketing team through direct recruits and by establishing long-term relationships with key freelancers and agencies to support our ambitious growth plans with the retailers. Last year we were selected to join the NatWest Accelerator programme for high potential businesses that are scaling and we will continue to make the most of the ongoing support this offers including a fantastic free office space in the centre of London, top class mentoring and access to specialists in various fields free of charge.
With new branding, extended product portfolio, a growing customer base, increased promotions and several trade campaigns plus an increased international focus we expect sales to triple the next 12 months.
Everything we’ve done in the last couple of years has set us up for phenomenal growth in 2018 and beyond, and it’s really exciting and rewarding that we’re at the stage now where we are starting to see the results of all the hard work over the last few years.
I want to say a big thank you to Sara Trechman for taking the time to be a part of Behind the Biz. I hope you enjoyed hearing about her business journey as much as I did. I feel truly inspired and motivated from this interview.
Sarah offers wise and important words for aspiring entrepreneurs. Having a strong and supportive network of people around you is essential in all aspects of life.
I wish Sarah and her team at Well&Truly the best of luck in the future. They have some big developments in 2018. Joining the NatWest Accelerator programme sounds like a huge and exciting step. I can’t wait to see the brand continue to grow and thrive.