Founder focus: Pip & Nut
Since the launch of her first nut butter on the shelves of Selfridge in January 2015, Pippa Murray, founder of Pip & Nut, has taken the industry by storm with her range of nut butters including various flavours of almond, peanut, and other nut butters.
Celebrating the mighty and nutritious nut, Pippa was dedicated to creating a delicious product free from refined sugars and palm oil, filled to the brim with all-natural ingredients.
We caught up with Pippa to find out how Pip & Nut came to be and how she’s learned from experience along the way to create a top quality product to be proud of.
WHAT WAS YOUR EUREKA MOMENT?
It was less of a eureka moment but more a slow realisation that this was something I wanted to do. I came up with the idea for the brand when I was training for the Paris Marathon in 2013 and eating nut butter on toast was my go-to post-run treat and I noticed that every product I bought from supermarkets contained palm oil. For me, it felt like an unnecessary ingredient, one that was both bad for me and the planet, and I started looking at how to make it without. This initial idea then developed into wanting to develop a brand that was dedicated to making products with real ingredients that naturally tasted great in order to shift the perception that eating better had to mean sacrifice.
WHAT WAS YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH?
Pip & Nut makes the best tasting nut butter you’ll ever eat and from only natural ingredients – no artificial ingredients and absolutely no palm oil.
HOW DID YOU TEST YOUR IDEA?
I started small by making the products in my kitchen, using a blender, packing the product, a few hundred at a time, into jars and then taking them to a market in south London called Maltby Street. I did this for about three months to test out the flavours and get direct feedback from the public as to whether there was enough demand for the brand. Instantly from this, I knew and at that time I simply could not make enough so I decided to go about scaling the product and seeing if I could bring the brand to life at a national level.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE THINKING OF STARTING A BUSINESS OF THEIR OWN?
Focus on getting the recipe and product right – for me it’s the absolutely fundamental factor in whether your business will succeed or fail. All too often I see start-ups focussing on the brand identity, social media or fundraising before they’ve perfected the product and, in my opinion, it’s a bit of a waste of time until you know you can make the best tasting product, at the price you need in a scalable way.
DO YOU HAVE A MENTOR OR ARE YOU ONE?
From day one I’ve had a fantastic mentor who’s supported me on my journey. It’s been invaluable to have someone to lean on when I’ve had questions to ask or things haven’t quite gone my way and I highly advise finding someone who has been there, done that.
WHAT IS THE BOOK YOU WOULD RECOMMEND THAT EVERYONE READS AND WHY?
I love ‘The hard things about hard things’ by Ben Horowitz. Whilst he writes from his experience in software, a totally different sector to the one that I’m in, I found his frank and open way of describing his journey both refreshing and eye-opening. He talks about the difficult parts of running and scaling the business whether that be what happens when you have to hire an executive to what to do when in crisis mode.
WHAT IS THE MOST WORTHWHILE INVESTMENT THAT YOU HAVE MADE?
My team – investing both in bringing together a great, smart bunch of people into my business as well as investing in their development has hands down be the best use of money, time and energy I’ve ever made. They’ve transformed the business and have made the journey so much more fun!
WHAT ONE FAILURE ARE YOU GLAD YOU EXPERIENCED?
Failing products has been a useful lesson to learn. Looking back and evaluating why a product didn’t sell as we had expected and putting those learnings into the development of the next product has helped me understand what the essential components of success are when it comes to innovating.
WHAT’S YOUR PLAN B?
I don’t have one!
WHAT PIECE OF INDUSTRY ADVICE YOU DO OFTEN HEAR THAT YOU DISAGREE WITH AND WHY?
‘You can never have a bad day’ is one that I’ve heard a few times which I’ve always had an issue with. Granted you need to be mindful if your bad day has an impact on the energy within the room but equally, if things aren’t quite going to plan and you’re finding it tough I think it’s important to be authentic and share the pain. In doing so it helps make people trust you more, makes you more human and allows other people to help solve the challenge.
TALK US THROUGH YOUR MORNING ROUTINE?
I’m training for a marathon at the moment so I try to go for a run first thing when I get up, often taking my dog Charlie with me to stretch his legs. I aim to be out the door at 7.15am to get to my office for 8am where I’ll have breakfast at my desk (at the moment bircher muesli with almond butter!) and map out my day from there.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO JOIN THE STEERING BOARD FOR THE PRINCE’S TRUST YOUTH ENTREPRENEUR REVIEW TEAM?
I started up Pip & Nut when I was just 24 and I felt at the time there was a distinct lack of support for young entrepreneurs like me who had no business experience and I think for many people this would have totally put them off which is such a travesty. Running your own business is one of the most fulfilling and challenging things you’ll do and I want to help make that more of a reality for young people.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE GREATEST CHALLENGE OR BARRIER THAT YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS HAVE TO FACE?
For me it’s definitely a confidence thing – for so many people I think they assume running a business is only for people who have ‘experience’ and I think this misconception has to change. For me, you can learn anything you need to know to get going and then as things grow you can bring in the experience you need to help scale.