Posted: Thu 30th Aug 2018
Running pizza parties for friends and family sparked an idea for a business by Enterprise Nation members Amy and Chris Cheadle.
That business is now massively successfully with the Northern Dough Co. frozen pizza dough products sold in big supermarkets across the UK. Amy tells the story.
Describe your business and campaign in one sentence
The Northern Dough Co makes a range of freshly frozen, 100% natural pizza dough, sold in supermarkets nationwide, that allow people to create freshly baked pizza at home.
How did you come up with your idea and turn it into an actual business?
We used to host pizza parties at home, using frozen pizza dough from our family bakery which was originally made for the restaurant trade.
The pizza parties were really popular and meant everyone spent time together having fun in the kitchen, and we realised there weren't any dough products available in supermarkets that allowed people to replicate a pizzeria experience without making dough from scratch, which can be time consuming and a lot of hassle.
We researched the opportunity, designed the brand identity and took it to a food festival where it sold out within an hour.
We approached retailers who shared our excitement for a product that was genuinely new and different and appeal to shoppers in a way other frozen lines weren't. We've been building our stockists and growing the brand ever since!
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Balancing family life and time! We started the business almost seven years ago, and have added two children to our family during that time.
Wanting to invest huge amounts of time growing the business versus enjoying valuable family time is always a balance and one that always feels like a compromise on both sides.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
We see every new retail launch as a huge achievement, as it steps up our brand reach and our ability to be available where our customers want to be able to purchase from.
There's really nothing like the feeling of receiving an email confirming a listing on a supermarket shelf (especially when you've very happily celebrated being listed on a single farm shop shelf just a few years before) but the best is when you can walk into the store to do your own shopping and walk by the familiar packaging.
I still take my children to the freezer aisle, point to the picture on the pack and ask 'who's that?' to my children, just to hear them say 'Mummy and Daddy'!
What is your next business goal?
To grow the business through product development and exploring overseas. We've got some exciting new products in the pipeline that we know our customers will be really excited about, and can't wait to bring them to market.
What are your three tips for business success based on your experiences so far?
Be focussed. As a start-up, it's easy to think there are a million different ideas you could pursue to grow your brand, and consequently waste a lot of time. Spending some time upfront knowing what you stand for and what you want to achieve means that you can constantly check in with your goals and decide on both how to prioritise your time and what to say no to.
Make connections. People do business with people, and I've had more successful conversations by asking people for a recommendation than by contacting people cold. Use your network wherever you can!
Talk to other people in the same position. It's really easy as an entrepreneur to compare yourself and your achievements to others, and imagine everyone is doing better than you.
I've had so many occasions where I've had conversations with other business owners who've said 'I feel the same' and reassured me when I've most needed it. You can often feel alone, but with the right people around you, you don't have to.
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