Bournemouth has been more typically associated with the tourism industry, but the sunny climate and trendy lifestyle is now attracting more than tourists to the town. The food and drink industry in the seaside town is flourishing with new brands all succeeding by approaching business in a fresh, new way.
The Iced Coffee Brand Playing It Cool
Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, the family-owned range of ready-to-go iced coffee drinks, has taken the chilled drinks market by storm since starting out on the south coast eight years ago. Siblings and co-founders, Suze and Jim, didn’t even have a desk between them in the beginning let alone offices. So, they worked out of Suze’s bedsit with one goal in mind – they wanted to be a global brand as Suze explains:
“Neither of us have ever been corporate, we didn’t approach the creation of the Jimmy’s brand with KPIs and targets, we simply said we want to be in every fridge around the world. We’re seven years old now and have only just introduced KPIs thanks to the new MD that’s running the show. I still have no idea what a KPI is or does.
“We believed in Jimmy’s Iced Coffee from the very beginning when Jim came back from Australia. It was jumping in our brains and keeping us up at night. If your idea is doing that to you then grab it and run with it!”
Before long the fresh new product had big-name investors from around the world knocking on the door. Flattering as it was, the pair were determined to make it on their own and continued on their journey with the next step to secure more stockists. “Selling out to a big investor would have meant losing our identity and authenticity which is what we love about the brand. You simply can’t buy authenticity.”
The authentic approach paid off and the siblings have built up a nationally-recognised and celebrity-endorsed brand over the last seven years which now stocks in over 4,000 stores nationwide including Waitrose, Tesco’s Sainsbury’s and Boots. “I should really take the time to sit back and feel proud of what we’ve achieved so far but we’re always too busy looking ahead to what’s next!” said Suze.
Overcoming Fear and Using the Internet to Launch A Gin Brand
Rupert Holloway founded Conker Spirit after realising his career in chartered surveying hadn’t evoked a smile out of him for as long as he could remember. He wanted to work for himself and build a business that inspired him. Rupert spotted a gap in the market for a quality Dorset craft gin and Conker Spirit was born.
Some see the prospect of starting and running your own business as an overwhelming mix of terrifying uncertainty and overwhelming pressure, but Rupert went into it with a different outlook; “If you think about it, the only thing stopping you from starting something new is fear.” Comments Rupert. “For years I took the safe road. Once I overcame that fear, I could move forward.”
Rupert didn’t start with a load of savings burning a hole in his pocket, but ploughed on regardless, repeating the mantra ‘there’s always money for good ideas.’ “I’m often asked how a start-up can compete with the established multi-million brands” Adds Rupert. “Actually, it’s pretty simple – the internet. Conker Spirit simply wouldn’t have happened without it. In the same way the internet has enabled me to bring Conker Spirit to market on a shoestring budget, it’s also created the very market in which products like Conker Spirit thrive. As a start-up you have an authenticity that larger brands have to create through their marketing dept. Whereas all you have to do is turn your phone camera on yourself and let people see your genuine story. Your small size is not a disadvantage, it’s your biggest asset.”
Rupert’s eternal optimism and unwavering hard work paid off. Fast-forward four years and Rupert is now hand-signing over 1,000 bottles a week and shipping them off to over 500 independent wine shops, bars and fine dining restaurants, as well as the likes of John Lewis, M&S, Waitrose and Fortnum & Mason. “From the outside looking in, business is very intimidating, but don’t overthink it.” Says Rupert. “You will never know all the answers and you can only learn by taking the leap and doing. And today we have the tools in our pocket to find any information in an instant and have your voice heard globally. There really hasn’t been an easier time to do your own thing and make a living doing what you love.”
Vending Machines Take a Bite Out of the Fast Food Industry
Innovation is the name of the game for food start-ups as the industry constantly evolves, and what is more innovative that an interactive noodle vending machine which prepares your meal for you? The cashless state-of-the-art Noodle Kiosks are the brainchild of Bournemouth-based Mr Lee’s Pure Foods Co., the company steadily transforming the way we perceive fast food.
The vending machines, which will soon be located in the likes of hospitals, universities, schools and airports across the country, were deemed so revolutionary that the world’s largest vending contractors snapped it up while the first machine was still in the prototype stage.
When Damien Lee set out to launch his gourmet noodle brand he knew he would face difficulties introducing a new product into an already saturated market. He explained: “As a small business trying to make a product with higher-quality ingredients than those of our larger rivals, we had to come at this from a completely new angle. “With that in mind, we decided to bypass selling in supermarkets as our first point of call and instead totally revolutionise the way people buy their fast food.”
The Noodle Kiosks have gone on to receive high praise from industry insiders, receiving the ‘Best Newcomer’ award in the Vendies Awards 2017 as well as a feature slot on the BBC’s The One Show.
As these three innovative brands demonstrate, there is room a-plenty in the food and drink industry for start-ups, but they need to be bold and not afraid of the market, of taking risks or staying true to who they are. So, when you’re next in sunny Bournemouth, watch out for the next big thing from the food and drink industry as the tourist town now delivers more than just 99 flakes and chip butties.
Jimmy’s Iced Coffee:
Twitter: twitter.com/jimmyicedcoffee #KYCU
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Mr Lee’s Noodles