As a runner, Pippa Murray was always on the lookout for healthy things that would fill her up, give her energy for training and keep her in top shape. Not really finding what she needed on the market she began making her own palm oil-free nut butters with innovative flavours and ethical awareness - and selling the jars at a local market. Demand soon outstripped supply and she had to quickly scale up – launching her first range in Selfridges in January 2015. Today, Pip & Nut is sold in more than 5000 stores in the UK and Europe. We talked to her about her inspirations and why it took setting up her own business to finally see herself as an entrepreneur.
Do you have to see yourself as an entrepreneur to set up a business? Or is setting it up...what makes you believe you are an entrepreneur?
Interestingly I never saw myself as an entrepreneur growing up. Looking back, I had a lot of the classic qualities of an entrepreneur – I am strong-willed and not afraid to take risks. But with Pip & Nut, the idea came first. I was a marathon runner and a peanut butter fiend and while on the hunt for products to fuel my training I spotted a gap in the market for palm-oil free natural nut butters with a focus on flavour and innovation. I suppose executing the idea is when I truly began seeing myself as an entrepreneur and all the qualities I possessed naturally then really came in to play.
What inspires you in business?
I’m definitely inspired by other start-ups within the food and drink space - but also those outside it. Glasses brand Cubitts is an awesome London start-up which makes beautifully crafted frames. They are a perfect example of focussing on one thing but executing it to perfection, down to the smallest details. Ugly drinks makes fruit-infused sparkling water with no sugar or sweeteners and the company is really shaking things up in its category. Its urban branding also really packs a punch and challenges the status quo – and it has also just launched a partnership with the UN Foundation’s Girl Up campaign too to tackle the ‘Ugly truth’ of gender inequality. It’s really great to see an initiative like this from a male-founded company – gender inequality is everyone’s challenge to tackle.
Do you have any role models in the food and drink industry and what is the biggest lesson you have learned from their approach?
Thomasina Miers, founder of Wahaca stands out to me as an inspiring founder creating waves in the food and drink sector. The way she has expanded seamlessly from her restaurants to the launch of cookbooks and a supermarket range reminds me to think BIG and never to stop innovating.
Is there anything you would have done differently when setting up your business if you had the knowledge then that you have now?
Starting a business is extremely challenging and as a sole founder, I’ve had to bear the weight of a lot of those tough moments alone. Sometimes I have hankered after a co-founder to share the journey with. Saying that, I’m aware there is a probably an element of ‘grass is always greener’ thinking with this – trying to reach compromises with a co-founder could have been as potentially as tricky as going it alone. Luckily I’ve got a great team around me now.
What is the best bit of advice you were given about going into business and who was it from?
David Hieatt Founder of the DO Lectures and author of Why Brands with a Purpose Do Better and Matter More has a mantra which I think is really valuable: ‘Do one thing well’. Focusing on one thing and executing it impeccably is better than getting carried away trying to do too much and sacrificing the quality of what you deliver. I still believe this simple piece of advice holds true to starting to build a business.
Do you know an inspiring female entrepreneur like Pip who deserves to be recognised? Nominations are now open for the 2018 NatWest everywoman Awards.