Founder Focus: Myles and Giles of Mindful Chef
A health-focused food box delivery service, Mindful Chef was founded by school friends Myles and Giles in 2015, and has since shipped over 10 million ingredients from small farms across the UK. We caught up with the duo to find out how they tested and launched their idea and became the UK’s most highly rated recipe box service.
What was your eureka moment?Back on our friend’s fishing boat off the Devon coast (where we grew up) in the summer of 2014. We watched the fish being landed and the amazing produce being handed to the local villagers on the dock, and asked ourselves “wouldn’t it be amazing if we could replicate this nationwide and make healthy eating easy for people”.
What is your elevator pitch?
Sticking to a balanced healthy diet, regularly, is what everyone would love to achieve. However, in the modern-day, this is exceptionally hard. We exist to make healthy eating easy. We do this by removing all of the pain points for consumers. We do the recipe creation, the meal planning, the nutritionist checks, the sourcing of the fresh produce, the packing of it into exact ingredients and deliver it straight to your door. The customer simply cooks and enjoys healthy delicious meals. Online grocery penetration is just 7%, we are in the middle of a revolution!
How did you test your idea?
We spent a year refining, testing, sourcing, tweaking, delivering, re-testing, surveying and asking for constant feedback from a few hundred of our early adopters. Market research from online reports is one thing, however, you can’t beat actually launching an MVP (minimum viable product) and seeing whether people are willing to part with their change and buy it.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start a business on their own?
If you are B2C [business-to-consumer] like Mindful Chef, you must first and foremost, make sure you are solving a pain point. A real, genuine, pain point for consumers that makes their lives easier. If you can firmly place a tick next to that question, then launch an MVP in beta phase and see whether there is any traction.
Do you have a mentor or are you one?
Yes, we both have mentors – both official and unofficial. They are either investors, board members or people with experience from outside Mindful Chef. It is important to have people inside and outside to ensure balanced impartial views from different backgrounds and standpoints.
What’s your plan B?
Move back to Devon and start our very own Mindful Chef deli or café. On a serious note, we have never even considered having a Plan B. We’re lucky in the sense that we have a good support network of family and friends. So if the worst were to happen and everything ended tomorrow I’m sure we’d be extremely upset but we would learn from the experience and figure out how to move on. If you never failed in life you probably never pushed yourself as far as you could have.
What is the most worthwhile investment that you have made?
We have always tried to invest in our team and the people around us. Whether that be creating an atmosphere they can learn and thrive in, or helping them plan for the future. If you surround yourself with really bright, intelligent people all working towards the same mission – you can achieve some really amazing things.
What one failure are you glad you experienced?
About a year and a half into Mindful Chef we needed to raise money in order to continue growing the business. None of the institutional investors wanted to invest in us – they couldn’t see how Mindful Chef was different from other companies. We went on to overfund through two successful crowdfunding raises which allowed our customers and community to become even more of a part of the journey with us. It’s funny because now we have a lot of investors approaching Mindful Chef – all speaking of how we’re so different and have managed to set ourselves apart from the competition. Not much has really changed to the core product or belief since those early days.
What is coming up for Mindful Chef?It’s a really exciting chapter for us at Mindful Chef. We’re growing incredibly fast and our community is making real positive change in the world. Thanks to our customers, we’ve just passed a milestone of donating 2,000,000 school meals to children living in poverty. We’re going to continue spreading our message that healthy eating can be really easy and delicious to as many people as possible whilst using our business as a force for good.
What book would you recommend that everyone reads and why?
Sapiens – A Brief History of Mankind. It speaks of humanity and progress, where we came from and how we managed to create this incredible world we now live in. It’s fascinating, eye-opening and has you constantly asking questions.
How do you find balance in your daily life?
We have always been interested in being outdoors, playing sports or generally exercising. Taking 30 minutes to an hour each day to focus on yourself and be active allows your mind to take a break from everything else that may be going on. That and spending time with family and friends allows you to put things in perspective and find that balance that we all need in order to really thrive and enjoy life.