Hi Kit and Ross, as a honey lover myself, I am intrigued to find out more about Mighty Fine, but before we get into that, please tell me a little bit about yourselves and the inspiration behind Mighty Fine Honeycomb.
KIT: Ross and I met in our early twenties at our first real jobs out of university – working as dogsbodies on the Richard & Judy television show. We constantly traded business ideas but went off to have separate careers in marketing for me and further television production focusing on food for Ross.
We met up again 10 years later after I had been working in the US and decided to ditch our careers to push one of our ideas forward. The idea was to create a wonderful retail experience that focussed on chocolate – a chocolate shop with chocolatiers constantly making products live in the shop that you taste and ask questions about.
We pulled together a small investment pot each and opened the shop in the middle of Camden market and started to bring the idea to life. We sold wonderful creations like tequila truffles, bacon dipped in dark chocolate and beer flavoured fudge however above all our bags of honeycomb dipped into chocolate sold like hot cakes. We could not keep them on the shelves.
We managed to secure an opportunity with Harvey Nichols and after watching the honeycomb sell in an independent retail setting and listening to the feedback we got day in day out in the shop, we decided to shut the shop and focus our efforts on becoming the world’s number one honeycomb brand.
How do you both handle competition in your industry and sustain growth?
ROSS: We keep a keen eye on what everyone is doing but we are focused on strengthening our own brand and doing everything the very best we can. We challenge ourselves to up the ante on every part of the business and spend some time each month, just the two of us, making sure that we are hitting these goals that are not specifically measured in financial terms.
What do you both look for in a business partner?
KIT: Working with someone to create something from scratch is an incredibly intense relationship so, without sounding like a match.com advert, you need to be compatible. Yes you need to get on, but having two volatile personalities can be counter productive especially when your backs are against the wall. So personality traits that are complimentary is useful to deal with the diverse range of problems that you come up against every day.
What is the best advice that you’ve received that you still put into practice today?
KIT: Listen to feedback very carefully.
When you you put a product into the market you are effectively asking everyone, in the process to purchase, to have to an opinion on it. So we both think that it is incredibly important to take on board every bit of feedback and work out how it can make your business better.
When we opened the shop we would watch and listen first hand how people responded to our products, the packaging and brand. The information we got back was so valuable. We like to run our stands ourselves at as many consumer events as possible to talk people about our products and listen to their ideas.
Has your initial business mission changed since launch? If yes, how did it evolve?
ROSS: Our business mission in general terms has stayed pretty constant – to become a trusted, household confectionery brand – but how we get there evolves pretty rapidly. One of the parts of running the business I enjoy most is adapting and fine tuning our strategy when the opportunity arises.
What is the number one question every entrepreneur should be asking themselves?
KIT: Does this support the mission (about everything they do?)
ROSS: How can we do this better?
How can I get my hands on your products?
KIT: We are very proud to stocked in loads of amazing independent stores up and down the country – these stores have supported us from day 1 and have helped us introduce our products to market.
It is also an honour to be stocked nationwide in Waitrose, COOK, BP, Picture House Cinemas, Whole Foods and are launching into Sainsburys at the end of October.
Tell me a little bit about your Friend of the Honey and the support you’ve given to their campaign.
ROSS: We are Friends of the Honey Bee and are proud to support the efforts to build a better future British honey bee. This includes establishing better environments and funding research into honey bee health. With an ageing beekeeper population, the efforts to get young people into beekeeping is really importantly – most recently we kept the International Meeting of Young Beekeepers happy with lots of honeycomb bars!
What plans do you have for Mighty Fine Honeycomb over the coming 12 months?
ROSS: The next 12 months is really exciting. We have a new product range that will launch in the first half next year that will open the Mighty Fine brand into the wider confectionery market. We can’t wait to release it.
KIT: We are also getting out, about and around the country to introduce the brand to as many people as possible, which we both love doing. The future is all Mighty Fine.