We spoke to James Averdieck the founder of the dangerously delicious pudding brand Gü and his other equally tasty but far healthier venture, Coconut Collaborative. James reveals his key tips to building and maintaining a successful food brand:
Please, can you tell us a little about your journey of coming up with your idea for Gü, building the business and eventually selling it?
I was working in Brussels - home of great chocolate and I was inspired to launch a really good quality chocolate desserts business. I set to work, developed some great products with some great pastry chefs and then found a cool branding agency to work on the brand. Gü was born and launched in Sainsburys and Waitrose and then grew and grew because everyone loved it! I ran the business for 6 years before selling it in 2010.
Was it a hard decision to sell the business? What was the catalyst for this?
Yes - it was a hard decision but I had been going hard for 6 years and needed a break. The business is still in good shape and the new team have taken it to more places so I’m happy.
From your experience within the food industry, what are the key elements to making a product sell successfully?
Getting the product right is no 1 - then making it look good with a nice brand. Basically, you make a promise with the brand and you keep the promise with the product.
How long was the time between selling Gü and starting Coconut Collaborative?
I took 2 years off and then was ready to go again in 2013
What inspired the change from chocolatey treats to the health food industry?
I became personally more interested in healthy products. Having clogged up the nation's arteries with Gü, I felt I needed to redeem myself!
The health food industry is growing exponentially! What would you say Coconut Collaborative’s USP is?
The Coconut Collaborative makes fabulous creamy tasting dairy free yoghurts and desserts which are really good for you
What are the greatest things you have learnt from building and running your own businesses?
Find a market niche which is on the up, develop a winning product and then recruit a great team of people to help you build a successful business
Do you have any other business ideas up your sleeve that you can share with us?
No, I'm full on with The Coconut Collaborative. We are about to launch in New York so are pretty busy….
Please, could you give our readers and fellow entrepreneurs a few words of advice on running a successful business?
Running a successful business is great fun but very hard work. You’ve got to get your product pricing, branding bang on…. get a good team around you... and then treat your customers like royalty.