I’ve had an eclectic career, from charity sector fundraising and marketing to Spanish translation. Along with my partner Charles I’m also one half of Yuyo, the yerba mate infusions company that won the 2015 Seed Fund award. After a really exciting journey we’re launching the new brand in April into major UK retailers, as well as exporting to Europe and the US.
What skills can you bring as a mentor?
I’ve been there – everything from hand blending and packing our product to sourcing bigger suppliers and partners when we needed to scale up. I’ve had to learn the language of margins, mark up, distribution, VAT, shipping and listings from scratch so I know what start up food and drink businesses are going through. Having been there recently means I’ll hopefully be able to share some useful first-hand experience and insight – plus a good cup of yerba mate and a listening ear.
What do you think makes the difference between a good business and a brilliant business?
Drive, commitment to product excellence, good communication and being able to demonstrate an infectious sense of verve, zest and belief in what you’re doing.
If you had your time again in business, what would you do differently?
We often talk about this one. If we started Yuyo again today we’d be in a very different position – we could cut straight to the chase and know where to take things and who to approach without feeling our way. That said, the slower-paced fact finding period at the beginning was really valuable in gaining a good solid ground in every aspect of our business. I’d make sure I surrounded myself with good people earlier on, and be braver about asking for help, advice and drawing on the good will that’s out there. Running your own business can seem lonely, and before you’re big enough to afford a team of colleagues it can really help to have like-minded and talented people on your side.
Owner, YUYO (Seed winner 2015)