My Work in Wellbeing: Pip & Nut founder Pippa Murray
How did Pip & Nut start?
A number of things came together that eventually lead me to creating the brand that you see on the shelves today. First, the idea. I’m a runner and just love eating nut butter – not only because it is a good way to fuel training as it’s naturally high in protein, but also because it’s totally delicious. However, I hated the fact that most brands in supermarkets had palm oil and sugars in them and ones that were healthier always seemed just too healthy. I wanted to create a brand that celebrated that fact that healthy food could taste delicious and really bring a more exciting, fun and tasty looking brand to the shelf.
After having the idea though, the actual route to market took much longer… 18 painful months! Having never worked in food and drink or started a company before meant I had to learn everything from scratch. To say the learning curve was steep is an understatement! This meant having to work out how to create the products on a mass scale, what the margins look like for supermarkets, how to create a brand, raise investment, how to approach buyers and then WIN listings in stores… The list goes on.
What were you doing before?
As I mentioned, I’d never worked in FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) and prior to launching Pip & Nut, I was working as a producer at the Science Museum in London. My job involved creating and delivering large scale theatre shows that toured round the country. Despite the fact that my job was not in the industry I was starting a company in, along with being was public sector focused, I did find that my project management skills as a producer were key in helping me steer the company to launch.
Were you inspired by any other individuals, companies or brands?
I was, and still am(!), inspired by other individuals, brands and companies. You can learn so much from others and I think it’s important to continually be inspired by them to help evolve your thinking.
Within the food industry, I think brands such as Propercorn, BEAR and Vita Coco are storming it. All of them have managed to challenge a category and be the underdog that eventually comes out on top. This is what I’m aiming to do with Pip & Nut.
I also take great inspiration from other brands in different sectors. For instance, I’m a big fan of Hiut Denim, created by the founder of Howies (another great brand), who make beautiful jeans with real integrity. There are also tech companies like Airbnb and the fashion brand Wool and the Gang who I admire for the way that they’ve managed to create communities around their companies and tell stories through their products and services.
What is the most important thing when building a brand?
The most important thing is to have a great product. Yes, the brand needs to be able to transcend the product and communicate your values and purpose, but the only way that’s going to happen is if people fall in love with your product first. So pay attention to the detail when creating it, whether that’s being mindful about where you source your ingredients to get the best flavour, or looking at the texture of your label. It all matters.
Do you have a key career mantra?
The saying, ‘No one man is an island’ springs to mind. Recognising that I can’t do everything, and neither am good at everything, is key. This means I’m really conscious of building a brilliant team around me so I can learn from them. In this vein, I have a very open and collaborative way of working. I genuinely value my team’s opinion and love getting their ideas on what we are doing and where we are going next. They are such a big part of the company so they should be part of shaping it!
Where do you want to go from here?
2016 is looking pretty big for Pip & Nut. We’ve got new product launches coming out in June (all top secret, I’m afraid), and we’re looking at growing our customer base with more stores in the UK but also starting to look at other countries, too. As a brand we’re only 15 months old, so we’ve still got so much in front of us!
Discover Pip & Nut’s brand for yourself in-store at Holland & Barrett, or stock up online.