Posted: Fri 9th Feb 2018
David Towse is the founder of Get Nourished, a high-protein and lactose-free iced coffee brand.
The Enterprise Nation member, who joined through a partnership with Reigate and Banstead Council, has already secured listings in Muscle Foods and Holland & Barrett. He tells his story below.
Describe your business in one sentence.
A food and drink cornucopia of high-protein deliciousness always free from lactose, gluten and artificial stuff.
How did you come up with your idea and turn it into an actual business?
In 2014 I was diagnosed as gluten and lactose intolerant. Which was great because I'd finally worked out why I was getting crippling stomach cramps after playing sport, terrible bloating, wind and indigestion after most meals and crushing tiredness in the afternoon at my desk.
However, it reduced my food options down by around 70% overnight. Add in my preference for a high-protein diet and the options were virtually non-existent.
So in 2016, I decided to take both of these frustrations out into the world and see if I was the only one who had them. And interestingly enough, I wasn't. In fact, there were lots of people like me who were having to compromise with their food choices. And frankly they didn't want to.
I decided to start making my own in 2017. I gave the first samples to my wife, my sister and her husband, who politely managed to only be sick in their mouths and not on my face. And so started the journey.
I spent 2017 refining the recipes and trying to find a manufacturer prepared to take a punt on a little food start-up, while securing retail listings with Muscle Food and Holland & Barrett. In January this year, I launched the first range of Get Nourished products, our delicious iced coffees. We hope you love them.
What start-up challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Finding a manufacturer that would take me seriously and work with small MOQs to get it all launched. In the end, I had to work with a Belgian company as the UK ones either weren't interested or weren't able to manufacture the product in the way I wanted.
What has been your biggest achievement with your business so far?
Finding a manufacturer.
Basing the flavours on detailed consumer research on tastes.
Achieving the retail listings with Holland & Barrett and Muscle Foods.
Staying resilient in the face of ridiculous ups and downs!
What is your next big business goal?
More nationwide listings particularly grocers and health and beauty retailers. I'm hoping Enterprise Nation will be able to help!
Ensure rate of sale is strong and repeat purchase is good.
What do you think will be your biggest challenge getting there?
Getting retailers to take a punt on a small business regardless of how good the insight and gap in the market is. They are naturally risk-averse and want somebody else to take the risk first.
How has Enterprise Nation helped your business?
Very early days, but I'm excited about the upcoming events, particularly The Wellness Exchange.
Which other entrepreneur inspires you and why?
Jo and Stuart Chidley from Beauty Kitchen. They show that relentless hard work and measured risk-taking can create amazing, fast-growing businesses.
What are your three tips for business success based on your experiences so far?
Do your consumer research and keep doing it, until you've removed as much launch risk as possible.
Get an accountant, especially if you're doing consultancy work to pay the bills while you get things up and running.
Do it. Reading books about how other people made it and how they were successful is, in my view, utterly pointless. Do stuff, make mistakes and learn on the job. Otherwise, you'll never get started.
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