Jake’s Boost is a health food startup producing 100% natural nut and seed butters with no additives- free from refined sugar, salt, dairy, gluten or palm oil.
If you attended university (college), did you find it useful in starting a business?
I went to the Judge Business School at Cambridge University to study for a diploma in Entrepreneurship. Dan did a degree in Fine Arts before we both attended the National Film and Television School together. With our business, we were part of the Accelerate Cambridge Programmes and Cambridge Social Ventures Programme. Sometimes during studies everything feels rather theoretical but once you are actually off running your own business the pennies drop and you start putting puzzle pieces together. We had quite a few AHA moments when we thought:”Ah, that’s what it means.. or… now I know how to use this or that framework or tool.” What is invaluable are the contacts we made and mentors we met during that time who are still by our side today. They don’t tell you how to run the business but they ask the right questions for you to figure it out yourself.
What were you up to before you started your company?
I was an executive producer and commissioning editor in TV. Dan worked as a visual artist in TV, Film and Commercials.
Is this your first venture?
What problem are you trying to solve?
We are offering people a way of decluttering their nutrition. All our spreads contain nut and seeds. The ingredients we choose deliver complimentary health benefits. Why have packs and packs of seeds and other superfoods in your cupboard of you can find your nutritional power boosters conveniently mixed together in one jar. And with buying our products it will not only make you feel good, but a child in the UK too, because every purchase helps us support childhood food poverty charities in this country too.
What are your key activities towards solving this problem?
We aim to combine ingredients that compliment each other in the nutritional compositions.
Would you recommend starting a company with a cofounder?
Yes. You share the successes, you share the setbacks. You share the stress, the workload and the joys of running a startup. Also, your skills should be complimentary, so your business partner can take over where you show weaknesses.
How did you onboard your first 5 customers?
Our very first customer put an order in through word of mouth. A friend of ours supplied the shop with products and told the owner about us. We delivered our first order and still do it in person to this day. It’s the relationships that make this job so worthwhile for us. Our next customer came to us through a recommendation by one of our mentors. The next 2-3 customers found us through market where we sold our nut butters.
Do you have any numbers on your impact? (e.g. if you run a company that helps survivors of human trafficking, how many survivors has your work supported?)
We are not making any profits yet so the donations we hand over at the end of the financial year come out of our own pockets. We feel a deep commitment to the charity we are exclusively supporting at the moment. It is up to the charity how they want to use the money- to finance a training day or to buy food.
What is your proudest moment?
We have lots of little ones: one, and this might sound a bit silly, is when we had our first order and we didn’t recognise the name. Before we had orders from friends and people we knew through contacts but when this first order came through from a complete stranger, that felt pretty good. Someone who objectively decided that they would like this product and order it.
Why are you launching a crowdfunding campaign? What do you hope to achieve?
This crowdfunding campaign for us means two things: First of all, we use it for market validation. If we can get enough people to support us, we know there’s a market for this product. Secondly, it’ll help us with brand awareness, the more people know about us the more will learn about our products and hopefully decide to buy them- and the more we sell the more money we can give to charity. And thirdly, if the campaign is successful and overfunds, we can then make the products we offer even better for the consumers.
What type of rewards are you offering as a part of your crowdfunding campaign?
We offer lots of different bundles and combinations of our products to suit all tastes, bigger sizes of jars, an e-recipe book with pilates guide that we are currently working on with a bunch of lovely bloggers- and we are still looking for more vegan/health food bloggers who would like to contribute. Also t-shirts, bags, breakfast mornings and a top reward someone’s very own personalised nut and seed butter.
Tell us a bit about your future plans and projects.
As we grow, we want to have more control over the source of our ingredients and work directly with the farmers in the countries where they are grown and turn one nut and seed butter after another into a fully fair trade and organic product. Also, we’d like our packaging to be more sustainable, especially our snack pots, which is part of our stretch goals. Our dream is to turn Jake’s Boost into a multi social enterprise. Over time we aim to develop further product lines and each of those will support a different cause. As humans concerned about the planet and its inhabitants, we don’t only care about one cause. so, as a business why should it be any different? We are currently supporting childhood food poverty charities. Next, we want to add a product that will donate money to animal causes
What’s the best advice you ever took?
Treat every person the way you wish to be treated
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs when facing adversity?
Be prepared for adversity: keep a positive attitude, look after yourself (stay healthy, eat and sleep well, exercise, make time for yourself) and focus on your strengths. It will be much easier for you to deal with problems when you are physically and mentally in a good state.
Who inspires you?
What’s a book you always recommend and why?
It really depends on what someone is looking for. They are great business and entrepreneurship related books from ‘The Lean Startup’ to ‘Effectual Entrepreneurship’. If someone is after a book to read in order to relax & unwind, I’d always go for the classics. You’ll not only rediscover them but they can teach you a thing or two about storytelling and how to use words to really pull the reader in. And that’s really what we all do- try to tell a story.
What are your top three tips for aspiring social entrepreneurs?
1. Don’t use a social mission as a gimmick to sell your product or service- if it is not part of the DNA of your company, your customers will soon notice and you’ll lose all credibility. 2. Be ambitious for your organisation or cause- don’t let your personal ambitions take over BUT 3. Don’t always put the needs of your company or organisation above your own or you will quickly run yourself into the ground. You need to be well to run your company well.