Hey Zack – How has your morning been so far?
It’s 6:57am on Saturday 14th so not too shabby!
I'm really intrigued by Apesnacks – I have never seen or tasted anything like it and I am now completely obsessed. What inspired the idea?
Amazing! My mum inspired ape! We’ve always eaten according to the Paleo diet in my family and, the summer before I was supposed to go to uni, my took some coconut flakes, threw them in a pan with cinnamon and salt and toasted them up. They were seriously good. With some tweaking, I thought I could turn them into a product!
Having an idea is one thing, but bringing it to life is another. How did you know it was a good move?.
When my friends and family told me they'd never heard of them before! It proved there was a niche. The recent surge in demand for popcorn and coconut water showed us that consumer sentiment is ready for Curls too.
Finding and securing a manufacturer must have been tricky – how did you go about sourcing the right one for you?
Yes it can be a real challenge. Nigel has really helped in this area. We have seriously strict standards about quality; our Coconuts are naturally sweeter than most of the others on the market so we don't need to add any sugar (unlike our competitors!). We've also worked with a food scientist to really perfect the crisping process and have developed a key set of IP.
How did you fund the business?
Babysitting, making websites for people, family, friends and a few angles (one I met through a sampling in Planet Organic!). We are actually fundraising now so if anyone rich reads this or if anyone knows anyone rich then do drop me a note!
Finding a business partner isn't always easy, especially when it comes to shared passion for a specific venture. What was it like partnering with Nigel and was it easy to do?
We totally lucked out. When we first met, at a food conference, we immediately hit it off. He’s done everything in food so pretty much all I know boils down to him. We have very complementary skills and mindsets. Through his experience, he’s able to ground my ideas but also, in actuality, knows how to implement them (no matter how crazy!). This is truly invaluable.
What is the best advice you would give to other young entrepreneurs like yourself?
Be prepared for lonely spells. Persevere and stay focused on your end goals. Surround yourself with people you can learn from!
When it comes to other businesses – I do wish I created Ikea haha. What about yourself?
I don’t really like to compare myself or my ideas to other people! I think Elon Musk’s work is pretty awesome. I remember back in senior school, I got really into Space exploration. I saw SpaceX’s website when they were tiny and got really intrigued by their ideas. Although, it’s not about the idea it’s about execution (hence why Musk is killing it!). There are a few things I think that need changing so I’m exploring them on the side (…when I get a rare moment spare!).
How important do you think marketing and PR is to startups?
I’m new to all this so I can’t really answer with experience. Nigel is a marketer by training so he’s a big believer in both. What I do know is PR is a great support in helping drive consumers to the point of purchase. We’ve got a great team so all is good right now.
With Instagram being the new craze for startups – are you just as excited about engaging with your audience on this platform?
Yup! We’re hiring a marketing exec to, in part, really build out engagement as we feel this is a part of the business that needs investing in.
The ingredients are very simple, beautifully simple. Was this always your intent?
Of course! The big goal with all this is to get the average person to eat better for him or herself. As Paleo is all about eating food that we’re supposed to eat (none of that sugar coated processed nonsense!), you’re going to still get deliciousness but you’ll also get real health.
Fundamentally, I can’t sell anything under the premise of a healthy snack brand if I don’t think it truly is beneficial or better – on an extreme level – than anything else. There are a ton of pseudo healthy products out there and very healthy ones that simply confuse the consumer. We wanted to make it simple, scrumptious and scientifically good for you! That’s the only way to get the average person to eat better for him or herself.
What inspired the name Apesnacks?
It turns out that the apes and humans are the only two animals that smile as a friendly form of acceptance and submission; it’s really what’s unique to us! We want people to go back to where they came from and eat foods that we should be eating; we want people to feel human again! Plus, it begins with an “a” so it appears at the top of wholesaler’s product lists!
What do you have planned for Apesnacks over the coming 12 months?
New listings, new team members, new products and new markets!
Want to find out more about these yummy snacks? Click here!