Posted: Fri 27th Mar 2015
Kristian Tapaninaho founded Uuni as he wanted the product for himself and thought others would want it to. That product is a wood fired pizza oven which is now being featured across the press and boasts zero customer returns.
What was your motivation to start your own business?
Once I had come up with the idea of a compact wood-fired oven I just knew it could become very popular and I almost felt an obligation to make it happen. It felt obvious. I also made the product for myself and since I needed it, I thought there must be others like me.
Whilst you were starting up how did you balance home life with work?
My wife and I have two small children and run two businesses between us so not having a separation isn't really an option, otherwise everything suffers. When I'm at work, I'm at work and try not to think about home 'stuff' too much. And vice versa. Having the kids also makes you more efficient with work time as it has those fixed deadlines such as nursery pick-up times etc.
What's your most effective sales and marketing tip?
Have a great product people love to use. If you have that, marketing and sales is just about getting it in front of people and showing them how amazing it is. They'll immediately get it and see how it solves a problem for them. With Uuni this has been easy: it's exciting and well differentiated. It solves two problems for people wanting to make wood-fired pizza: the cost and size.
Which tools could you not live without in your business?
My MacBook Pro is pretty much an extension of my finger tips. On top of the selection of office software, our team relies on Wunderlist for internal to-do lists and Slack for communication. Internally, we try to send as little email as possible.
One non-obvious tool I have is making sure I go running 4-5 times a week. It gives me time to think and plan our next products and strategic moves without being bothered by peeps and notifications and other distractions. I think most of my ideas and solutions to problems come while I'm running.
What's been your biggest business success to date?
We've been lucky to have been featured in many different magazines and websites, but just two weeks ago we had our best day ever for unit sales after being included in The Sunday Times Style Magazine.
I'm also very proud of how much people like the product. We've so far had zero returns of Uunis from customers and we're getting great feedback all round.
What are your ambitions for the next 5 years?
To continue creating exciting new products that people love to use and to grow Uuni into a recognised brand and long-term sustainable business.
If we succeed with the first point, the second will take care of itself.
How does being a member of Enterprise Nation help you grow as a business?
Whilst we've only just joined, I'm hoping we'll meet many other entrepreneurs to share learning with and find industry contacts to work with too.
Feeling hungry? So are we! Here's Uuni!