Give me some brief context. What is Bold Bean Co and why did you decide to set it up? What was the initial spark?
Bold Bean Co is a brand on a mission to make you obsessed with beans: by giving you the best of beans.
We sell premium, jarred, heirloom beans that are sold in Waitrose, Planet Organic and Wholefoods.
I decided to set up the business when my love of the bean had become too much! I’d been working in food sustainability and learning about the many issues facing our food system – soil erosion, climate change, food security – I then realised beans were the solution to all of them. I won’t bore you, but just know, they rock! I’ve always believed that brands can change consumer perceptions of ingredients and knew that was the way we needed to go.
Give us a flavour of a typical day in the life of you as founder.
I am not a morning person.
No morning meditation, run or lemon tea for me. I get to my desk within 15 minutes if I’m working from home with a black coffee to get me going. I know, it doesn’t sound like “Successful CEO vibes” but I’ve learned to understand how I’m wired and play to my strengths and that means as much sleep as possible.
Every now and then the emails, pitches and follow ups are disrupted by Hannah, our Marketing Manager coming to my flat and we cook a recipe video together. This is a huge part of our marketing strategy and it’s a really fun change of pace for the day, followed by a delicious meal which we sit down together and enjoy.
The afternoon rushes by with calls to buyers, bean partners and strategy discussions with my co-founder, Ed. Before I know it, it’s evening. I’ll try and go for a quick run, but often fail to. I send voice notes to friends en-route to the supermarket, trying to keep on top of their news as compensation for my lack of attendance to birthday drinks parties. After rustling up a dinner, my partner and I usually relax with some TV drama or reading our books.
What has been your favourite moment so far?
In my last role, I was working with incredible chefs in the hospitality industry. Recently, I’ve been contacted by a few asking to set up an account with Foodchain, my previous employer, and I apologise, telling them I no longer work there as I run a bean business, sending them a link to the website.
On two occasions, these chefs – people I admire hugely – have said that they already buy my beans, and had no idea it was me. Seeing your brand move beyond friends of friends “supporting you” and into something that exists outside of you as an individual feels incredible.
Apart from founding it what do you personally bring to the company? What is your superpower?
Energy. We say “Full of beans”: I am shamelessly positive, persuasive and ambitious. It infects the team and therefore our output.
Setting up a company obviously has its ups and downs. What has been your biggest challenge to date?
The period prior to investment, when I was working on the business alone with funds that I’d scrabbled together to support it. With no-one to share the journey with, or even be accountable to, challenges are yours only. Prior to fundraising you also don’t have a reason to reflect on how far you have come and the true potential of your business. Having others invest in you brings confidence and bringing on a co-founder means your challenges are shared.
And on that note when things get too much how do you reboot yourself?
Cancel plans (sorry friends, i love you), breathe, swim outdoors.
Anything you wish you had done differently over the last couple of years? What advice do you give to others starting out?
Moved out of London. Being in a city where it’s expensive to live and there are so many social plans constantly means as a broke, time-poor founder you constantly feel burnt out and unsatisfied.
What does the future hold for Bold Bean co and yourself?
We want to be a big international household brand. Develop multiple product lines in the world of beans, launch cookbooks and become known as “the brand that made the world love beans”. Personally, I’m getting married next year and plotting a move from London.
Who is your founder or leader hero?
Any founder that juggles being a mother too. It’s something I’m terrified of having to manage. Any woman who does it: I feel inspired by.
And finally what is your favourite bean recipe?
Cacio E Pepe White Bean. See below!
Thank you Amelia!