Updated: Sep 20, 2021
On today’s episode we’re learning from Jules Miller. She’s the Founder of The Nue Co and - she’s so awesome. I really love this episode.
I really love this episode. We talk about her path to starting this business with her grandpa, a chemist slash formulator slash professor at Cambridge. We chat about learnings that come from raising circa 36m dollars, and her approach to launching this business. It’s a real cracker. You’re going to love it.
The Nue Co is an Interhealth Brand. They believe in interconnecting all aspects of our health. By treating our physical, mental, social and environmental well-being as one ecosystem, we can positively impact the health of humankind. Founded by Jules Miller in 2017, The Nue Co creates health supplements, made from clean and sustainable ingredients created to deliver proven results.
Each tincture, powder, capsule, and spray delivers evidence-based solutions for improving energy, focus, mood, skin, sleep, and digestion. All of The Nue Co.'s products are responsibly sourced from around the world. 95% of the packaging materials are infinitely recyclable and supported by the brand’s in-house recycling program.
Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!
So my name is obviously Jules Miller, I launched the business back in 2000 and 17. So actually not too long ago I had been sort of struggling with I. B. S for about five years. It turns the supplements to help me and essentially like things were just getting worse. I won't give you the gory details. So it was really my grandfather who was a chemist and a scientist at the time, we sort of sat down with me and said, let's go through all of these vitamin labels and let's really talk about what these ingredients are doing and I literally couldn't believe some of the stuff that he was telling me and I think that you know, I think things are changing now and I think that the conversation and arguably the backlash against Clean is super interesting I think to just push the category forward but that was really my first glimpse into like, wow, we are actually consuming ingredients that could potentially not be very good for us or healthy for us.
00:05:13 Um and so that was really the insight I had worked in basically marketing my whole life, I've worked to start ups, I was head of business development at the time as a company called the detox kitchen in the UK which is like besides Sankara in America, if you know, it's like a healthy sort of food delivery service and I was just really interested in the category. So I started to do a little bit of research, I landed on the idea of the new co and from a formulation perspective it was really about developing Really formulas with the best sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients that could really drive results that you could see and feel in 30 days. But from a brand perspective it was really about developing a brand that could build a really loyal customer base. That was really what I had realized was missing in the category. Most people were buying a different brand every single time they were buying a supplement or they were just forgetting to take the supplements completely. So yeah, that's that's me and that person, Well that is like most people really, particularly back then the retention rate for the subscription, sorry for the supplement industry was around 25-30%.
00:06:25 So really poor. So yeah we really just wanted to build a brand that really stood for something that of course had amazing products of course really drove those results. But a brand that could really engage with the consumer in a way that really supplement brands hadn't done so until now. Yeah. I mean I really feel that if I think about my own consumer behavior towards supplements it's like identify an issue or something that I'm like I want to fix this. I go out and I buy everything. I basically od on too many supplements. Nothing works. I don't see any change. I potentially feel worse and then I stopped and like supplements don't work. Yeah. Yeah and I don't remember any brand name. Yeah I think like that line like supplements that work is really interesting because like different markets behave in completely different ways where I'm obviously from London but when I was doing sort of like my market research I realized that we have to go to America because 80% of Americans take a supplement every day so you don't really need to spend your marketing dollars on educating people. That supplements work.
00:07:27 What you're really doing is you're educating the consumer and while you're different and whereas in the UK at the time it was like 35% of consumers were taking a supplement every day and that line like supplements don't work. Like I think people like surprised that the government is recommending that you take vitamin deed during a pandemic. They're like wow wait this is something that actually works and can be useful. So yeah I know that one that one I totally get that like that's a surprising one that people don't realize that taking vitamin D. Would actually work and be a good thing. Like. Yeah but I mean I think you know things like acne and vitamin D. Really correlate as well, gut health and acne. So like there's so many things that I think you know bit of ideas is the basic one but I think it's really sort of the gateway to people realizing that actually supplements can really be useful within a healthy lifestyle. Yeah I mean it's tough because I say that line supplements don't work but I know that there are supplements that do work and it's like for me when I think about it it's like I actually really want to take a supplement, I don't know what I should take because I have like X.
00:08:38 Y. Z. Problem and then I go out and buy all the things feel like nothing works and then don't really have a good experience and don't feel like anything speaking to me and so I can totally see why you know you'd wanna go into a market that's already like yes we know that it's going to work no matter what like we trust this brand etcetera, etcetera versus trying to target an audience that's different are a little behind perhaps in the education side of things, right? And you have to really understand sort of that consumer mindset in order for you to really address it. So we obviously took a lot of inspiration from beauty and one of the things that I saw the beauty brands, it is that they were really specific about the benefit of each product. So You would buy a product for five lines of pigmentation, dry skin acne. Whereas when I had sort of digestive issues, I was just buying products for gut health and yet really gut health symptoms are so different for everybody. You could have constipation bloating. So we have a huge amount of products like 26 different skews and we get really granular with the benefits.
00:09:43 So we tailor to 10 different needs states. And within those 10 need states, we have different products. So we've got something for bloating, we've got something for constipation. And then really, if you really understand the problem you're addressing and you're taking a product and it's saying it's going to work in the next 30 days, you can assess whether it's working or not. And essentially what we found is when we, you know, The quiet customers have been dealing with things like ideas for five years And you can really show them success. They're extremely loyal. So our repeat purchase rate is now 70 and you know, I think that's a basically it's quite basic way to really think about addressing problems, but it just wasn't something that was being done really early on. And I think from looking at your website what you do really well and as a, from like the consumer point of view, having that consultation section where you can fill out what the problem is, what your gender is, what your diet is etcetera etcetera and then get something that you're like, okay, this is what I should be leaning into versus just buying everything and not being really sure and then being overwhelmed and not knowing what your specific needs.
00:10:52 Exactly, yeah, really cool. I've gotten ahead of myself a little bit. So I want to go back to life before you started this. Did you always want to start your own business? And where do you think your entrepreneurial spirit comes into the picture? Uh no, I didn't. So when I worked for lily, the founder of detox kitchen, I remember we went out for a glass of wine one night and she was like, I'm not Philly, I know you want to launch your own, but like I know you're going to launch your own business one day and I was like, no, I'm not, I don't want that pressure. So yeah, it was definitely not like a lifelong dream of mine at all. My partner charlie had his own business and I had lots of friends who have started their own companies or who you know, are successful. So I don't think it was something that I was really fearful of but it wasn't necessarily something that I was like really focused on my whole life at all. Mm on it. Oh gosh, everyone has such a different journey. That's so interesting that you hadn't kind of had that desire and then somehow along the way you get the a half moment that you're going to start by working with your grandpa, which is just so cool by the way, as having him as your sidekick.
00:12:04 When was the point through this research phase that you thought, hang on, there's a business here and I'm going to get started. So I mean this is all like a little bit of a long story but I have had no experience in fundraising. I've never spoken to an investor in my whole life and so I knew I needed like a little bit of capital. Like just something to really start to, you know, even talking to labs and thinking about ingredients and stuff. You really need to have a little bit of capital under you. So I actually set up a conference with a friend of mine called the Business of wellness Summit And from that we sold out, we were sold like 155. We're talking about Lauren Yeah Lauren on. I know Lauren, Yeah, so we did the first event together, we like sold out. Was it 500 tickets. It was 500 tickets. I don't even know how we did that. Oh my God, that's amazing. She's been on the show to tell this story and she Okay, amazing. So I think that was like a really interesting experience. Obviously we really only worked on that for like five months, but it was like, yeah, it was full on, I was speaking to founders all the time.
00:13:11 I was obviously like, we had like an investor panels, I was speaking to investors and one of our partners were stylist, so it was like the trends forecasting agency. I already had like this idea about supplements. I'd already started speaking to my grandfather, but I went to one of their presentations and they were talking about the concept of Beauty from Within and I just thought it was so interesting. Honestly, back then that was literally nothing. I think welcome had just launched and Moon juice just had their cafes. But other than that there was just college and gold and Boots. So I think that for me, I was like, wow, I think like I had this idea about supplements, there's, you know, there are two sort of opportunities that have spotlighted, which is brand loyalty and retention and then there is this sort of huge opportunity with Beauty from Within and what if all of these things could essentially come together and from then on things just happens really, really quickly, like what, what happened next? What does that mean? So I am. So yes, I basically had the idea, I pulled together like a business plan, you know that nobody saw just for me, just so I could start, yeah, just so I could start to get all of my ideas sort of down on paper from then on, I started to look at sort of the competitive landscape, who was doing what and really what was their strategy, and I noticed that Net a porter had just launched into wellness and they didn't have a huge amount of brands on there and really, like I said in the category, they just want a lot of Net a porter and mr porter brands.
00:14:44 So I managed to get a meeting with one of the sort of top beauty buyers there and I said, look, I had this idea, I'm working with my grandfather, um and this is a concept, you know, it's a brand that's really going to talk to the Net a porter consumer, and it's going to feel like a beauty brand, it's going to drive the same sort of experience um in terms of, you know, the packaging, people really looking forward to engaging with that product on a daily basis, but it's going to be really be harnessed in these amazing ingredients and they was just like, yeah, that sounds great, we can launch you guys in eight months and I was like, right, I have to build a business in eight months then. And did you already have the investment that you've gone out to get at this stage or the national amount of capital you're talking about all this was like the first thing I literally had, like the money from the ticket sales, Right, okay, got it from Lawrence, which was how much, how much money did you get from the tickets? It was a couple of 1000. Like, not a lot, not a lot at all, but honest, you know, in those days it was a huge amount really.
00:15:47 So yeah, so it was enough really? Like I said, to start working with the lab, I just needed those formulas, that was like the most important thing. And then as soon as I had the net a porter sort of verbal, Yes, I then went out and almost built like an incubator around myself as strategic angels. I knew exactly the type of people that I wanted around me who could help. Um and I knew that I really probably wasn't going to raise enough money, you know, prior to launching in order to really build out the team myself. So I needed to get these expertise from my investors. So to give you an example, I got funding from the Managing Director of our lab and that meant that we got, I think it was like 90 day payment terms, which, you know, it really was amazing in terms of our cash flow, So because usually you would pay up front for everything, but this meant that you would get the product and you could pay within 90 days, so you potentially get your payments back from someone like net a porter first if you are able to all that was my idea, So I got my payment back from Net a porter first and then I would then pay really my biggest costs at the time was just my product, wow!
00:16:52 So yeah, so I've got investment from our lab then, like the owner of our PR agency, PR agency I really wanted to work with in new york, she also became an investor, got investment from a couple of other angels who had built beauty businesses and had sold them in the UK. So Sean Sutherland, who was the founder of neo skin coat, sold to the hut group, she's now actually founder of a charity called Plastic Planet, so she's like a real advocate for sustainability, something we're passionate about. So that's literally what I did, I like constructed literally an incubator beta around myself, that is so cool, I love that and I literally found everybody on linkedin to and so you literally just cold reached out to all these people and said, hey, here's what I'm doing, I'm specifically contacting you because I want you to be part of this. Exactly, and I was like, we're launching on their supporter and these are all the reasons why you should get involved. And so that was like, you know, pretty small round, it was like £100,000 and that was enough for us to build the brand.
00:17:55 So all of the packaging, obviously like the brand identity, we worked with the most incredible branding agency called Made Source and one of our investors were sitting on their boards that we could obviously really afford them, but because we had that introduction, we were able to work with them. So yeah, and then, and then, you know, a few months later we launched on Net a porter and yeah, that was it. I mean, it would be just sort of exploded. I think that's such an interesting way to approach it versus the classic, you know, buy into a lot of inventory, whatever the minimums are, and then go out and try and get people on board, get the product of this kind of thing, into into doors by taking that approach of getting it into doors before you've even got the product ready to go and then being like, this is it, You always need a hook. Yes, exactly. You hooked everyone in. Yeah, you need a hook for every race and you have to remember that I had very little experience and I had no contact so I knew that I was going to, I couldn't have, I couldn't really take the traditional fundraising route of just doing like a seed round before launch and then just hitting the ground running, I really raised pretty much the whole time for the first like two or three years.
00:19:09 So yeah, so we raised our angel round than we did actually another sort of like bridge round, which I can talk to you about and then we did a seed about eight months after launch and that was 1.5 million. Mm wow, cool. I just want to ask you a few more questions about that angel round first. Did anyone say no when you reached out on linkedin or was it kind of like you got the people that you wanted straight away? I yeah, I got so many no's I mean I met with a lot of people and the people who said no gave me such great insight and advice. So you know, I think in my first model I was really looking for somebody like ace office inspiration and I, you know, I think we were saying that we were going to open up like 20 stores or something in the first two years and they were like, you're crazy like retail is really not what you should be focusing on the first two years. So we went back and you know, we really looked at our model so I think I never took those noses anything really negative and you know, I really, really had done a lot of my homework, I really started the category.
00:20:19 I've got my hands on lows of consumer insights and market insight reports and papers really through the business of wellness. So when people were saying no, it was really because my strategy was wrong or really because I knew that the category was in such like a state of infancy that a lot of you know, a lot of investors were saying things like, well I don't think that you know, consumers are ever going to think about their supplements in the same way that they do about their topic als and they're never going to care about sustainability and pay more for that. And they're always going to want to have, you know, like the cheaper options and you know, I think you can't you can't really convince everybody. So yeah, I had a lot of knows amongst the yeses. That's amazing that it was your strategy to launch into, you know, 20 stores in the beginning and then you switch to D. C. and followed that route. That's incredible. Yeah. I mean I think for us I quickly realized how stupid that was and really I think it's always been our goal to really prove a profitable on the channel strategy.
00:21:20 So Today we're around 70% DTC and the majority of that comes from our subscription. But we've always worked with wholesale in a way to really help sort of amplify the brand and really get in front of that consumer who might, you know, try one of our products are net a porter and they want to subscribe to sort of one of our heroes cues through our website. So now we're very much following the omni channel strategy and pop ups are part of that. But in terms of, you know, signing 20 long time, he says it wasn't a good idea, I figured out quite early enough. Thank God. Thank God. Mhm Sure. Mhm. Hey, it's doing here. I'm just popping in to bring you a quick message in every episode of the FSC show, you'll hear women who were just like you trying to figure it all out and hustled to grow their business and I would know a lot of you might be sitting there asking yourself, but how do I actually scale my revenue and get to that next level from where I am now, You'll also know that so many of the entrepreneurs I speak to have mentioned facebook and instagram ads as a crucial part of their marketing mix from today onwards.
00:22:36 I'm really excited to be able to offer our fsc small business owners and entrepreneurs and no strings attached. Our long chat with leading performance, marketing agency amplifier, who you might also remember from our course, Full disclosure amplifier is my husband's business and what's really important to know is that I've been able to witness first hand the transformation of so many businesses going from as low as $10,000 a month, all the way to $300,000 a month and in some cases upwards to seven figures. So if you're listening in and you feel like you're ready to take your business to the next level jump on a no strings attached call with amplifier where you can ask all the questions you have about performance marketing and whether it's the right time for you and your business to get started, go to female startup club dot com forward slash ads. That's female startup club dot com forward slash A. D. S. And booking a call today. So in the beginning then you move into selling on Net a porter.
00:23:43 Obviously that's a huge credibility stamp. That's amazing. I'm sure they also did a lot of marketing to help launch the brand. But what kind of got the ball rolling on the D. C. Side of things for you in those early days. So I think for us pr was just so important. It still continues to be so important. I think you really need to ensure that your sort of ambassadors are people that are consumers trust and I think often editors and certain publications really had that sort of authority boys that maybe influences don't always have. So yeah I think leveraging Pr was a really big important piece for us and we you know with the sort of net a porter exclusive launch we were able to secure I think it was bogue who launched us so That was crazy. You know like it was absolutely crazy. I flew up to New York and in like five days of press like 10 meetings a day and I think like my third meeting I presented it to vogue and they were like well do the exclusive and then after we had that everybody really wanted to write about it because they knew that vogue was going to launch it.
00:24:49 So we had like amazing, amazing press and you know I think like I said, you know, Net a porter was really sort of like a strategic partner for us. We then launched our subscription service like I think about eight months later because we had to raise some funding to then actually built the tech and once we really launched a subscription we really focus more on a strong customer acquisition strategy and really started to invest in facebook and instagram we've had those previous eight months to really start building up our database. That email was starting to perform really well for us. So it definitely took some time for us to really go from, you know, a wholesale first business to actually focusing on our D. C. Mm And in those early days, who was your like first key higher that came in and helped you kind of take some of that load off. Sounds like you were doing a lot. Now I had I literally always had the most incredible people around me. I'm so lucky. So flow was our first higher, so flow was working a company called pai Skincare.
00:25:52 I don't know if you know them, it's like a sort of organic clean skin care line here in the UK and we met whilst I was working at the detox kitchen, I wouldn't say we were friends, but we were, we really got on when we met in sort of like industry parties and what not. And so when I was getting ready to launch the Nico, I would always pick her brain and say, well what do you think about us doing this and what do you think about us doing that? Because she launched pie into America and I think it was just like a sort of organic thing. I just sort of got the idea one day. I was like really, I really need to hire flow. Like she just had everything that you should look for in somebody as your first higher. She was so determined, so motivated, she was so passionate, she was happy to wear any hat, like whether it was like going to a store and doing testers to meeting investors to bring on labs. She, she was just amazing and so I, you know, I sat her down formerly said, you know, I really think that we should talk about you joining the new coat and then she said no, I wasn't expecting that.
00:27:02 I think why I very good higher, I've made her said there at the beginning and I just didn't quit. No, I think for her, she was said to her, I was complete honest with her and we were in London, I was like, we're going to move to new york, were going to raise a huge amount of funding, this is what we're going to do, we're gonna be the biggest brand in the category. And I think she loved all of that. And then she also was like, okay, well, I'm thinking about getting married with my boyfriend and you know, I've got a house here. So I think in the beginning she wasn't really ready to maybe prioritize the business, which everybody really like every founded, every member of any founding team, really understands that for the first few years, everything else takes a back seat. And then I think eventually she realized it was something she really wanted to do. And luckily her partner josh was amazing enough to actually fly out to new york with us and get a job out there. So oh gosh! And so she's still with you now. Yeah, yeah, yeah, she's a yeah, she's amazing, special shout out to flow.
00:28:03 So she's uh, she's VP of product now and she's incredible and yeah, I've got a couple of family members. So my partner, my husband charlie works at the new co, my cousins who works there. So there were family business, I love that. That's so amazing, gets to spend lots of time with the family. Exactly. I want to go back to raising capital you recently, like circa the last 30 days, you've raised 25 million. I think I read before that you've raised circa 11 point something. So tons of money that you've raised, you've had a lot of experience. You've said that you've been raising a lot, what are the kind of pieces of advice that you were given that you can share with others and like those kind of key insights and tips for people who are going to go down this path of raising institutional funding. I think the first part is just being really confident in your customer insight and how you've translated that into a product of brand proposition and those things need to be very linear. Um, I think you also need to be very clear on your extra strategy.
00:29:08 I think sometimes founders to get as to who investors are and why they're getting involved and you need to have a very clear roadmap to when they're going to get their money back and how comfortable the investments are actually going to be for them. And that was something that I always had extremely clear in my head. I, you know, was looking at the types of acquisitions that were being made by the sort of big beauty conglomerates. I thought, you know, it's only a matter of time really before they're going to want to acquire that wellness consumer and I thought of the brand that they would want to acquire and it really would be the type of brand that you could plug in to a beauty shells and who could survive in sort of a traditional beauty setting. And so all of those insights have fed into the way that the new coat looks and feels today. So yeah, very clear sort of exit strategy, I think being really clear as to what you want, what you're happy to give away and what is going to keep you very focused and motivated as a founder as a leader long term. So going into a fundraiser, I was always super clear with myself that I always wanted to have ownership of the products that we make, the brand that we build and the people that we hire.
00:30:18 And I knew that if I could control that. But actually the other things that I might have to give up would be okay, I would still feel very motivated in running the business. What are the kinds of things you have to give up? What does that mean? You know, often if somebody approaches you and they want to buy your business for a certain amount of money and your shareholders don't agree. You have to pass up that opportunity. So, you know, it's things that I think maybe it's a founder, you don't really think about too much in the early days, there's obviously you can imagine, yeah, has that happened for you. No, no, no, it hasn't happened for us, but these are just the types of things that you have to give up and in all honesty, you know, I think if you bring on the right investors and you're really aligned anyway, that's the most important thing. Um, but I think that not losing control of those things are really important because the experience that I've had really is that I've met investors who have clicked with the sign of time.
00:31:20 She and through the diligence process, it's become clear that, you know, maybe we're not aligned on really what is important to me and what I would want to have ownership over. Or maybe I see sort of examples of things that, you know, I don't really want to have in my camp and you need to always be prepared to step away from it and say this is actually not right for me. So I think that's for me, that's the most important thing. It's just really like understanding those three elements and then aside from that, you just have to go out and meet everybody. I think I must have had like, and it was funny because I was literally meeting everybody. So I would have like private equity companies asked me to come in and pitch them. So these are basically funds that are writing checks of like 20 to 40 million and I would literally have made like 100 grand in revenue and they were obviously just like digging and trying to understand, you know, the new categories, the new brand, I want to hear them come in and I would go in the, in like, oh yeah. You know they want to hear my pitch obviously one thing but good experience.
00:32:22 Yeah. I mean I was going into some of like the biggest funds in the world like investor, you're not Spotify and I was there with my supplements. But yeah, I think, I think that that was like a really important just not getting this heart and meeting with loads of investors, really understanding the types of questions that they're going to ask and just perfecting your pitch. Sure. Mm Yeah, that's such a key thing I think is like in the beginning when you don't necessarily have the experience and you're also getting like slammed with rejection and you're also trying to figure out what it is, you need to change to get people interested. It can be such a, well it sounds like such a, such a mountain to climb, but once you, once you get it right and you're on that train, it sounds amazing, congratulations by the way. Thank you. What does it feel like when $25 million comes into your business bank account? Like is it just like you wake up one day and then it's there and you're like, oh That's 25 mil Yeah, I think I used to think that they would like stagger it, but yeah. Yeah, that's kind of what I thought might happen.
00:33:23 Yeah. And obviously just not, no, no, because you're actually, everything has to happen exactly the same time. So everybody exchanges signatures, you literally have the lawyers all on the phone and the money has to be transferred at exactly the same time because you're literally selling your shares. So if for whatever reason you sell your shares and you don't get the money. So it's a really interesting experience and you always close on the wrong day. So like I always obviously like clear by whole day and you know, this is going to happen, everything set and then it's always like the day I thought that it had been closed. So I was, I booked a holiday and I'm like standing outside the airport with my headphones. But I mean I, I don't really measure success based on how much money we've raised. I think it's really clear for everybody to see now that there's been so many companies that have raised a huge amount of capital and haven't been successful. You know, I think that we at the new co celebrating a completely different way.
00:34:26 I think that we define success in a completely different way. So I think it's definitely a sense of relief because raising just a few diligence process for a company like ours is really hard as you can imagine. You know, you're having like auditing of all of your labs, your claims. So it's, I think this last race, it almost felt like an acquisition, The due diligence process was really intense. I think we had like 40 people on behalf of the investor working on it, and we. I had like a team of three, so it's definitely like a sense of relief, but that's pretty much it, I don't necessarily feel like, Oh my God, we've raised 25%,, You're just gonna keep on going, keep chipping away. What does that capital do for you over the next 12 months? I mean, my big focus really is that we want to get to a sort of profitable stage in the business and we're really, really close, we've had profitable months on and off for the last couple of Yeah, well the last couple of months, but I think that's a really big focus for us.
00:35:31 We have always believed in ethical and sustainable sourcing of ingredients and packaging. Um but I think with this investment and actually where it's come from, we can really hold those values that just felt like things that we felt like were important to the same standard is really like our rate of growth and our revenues. So promoter capital is owned by the founder of european Climate Change Foundation. Actually all of the profits that are going to be made from the investment in the nick are actually going to go into climate change research. So I think from that perspective, it's going to be amazing for us to really be able to further invest further interrogate. And I think what sustainability, there's never we say it's the sustainability journey, often we find a material that appears to be perfect and we then further interrogator and we say actually it's increased our shipping costs and so I think that this funding is really going to sort of help us further invest in those things and then secondly it's it's just growth.
00:36:40 So we're launching into a couple of different markets, so we've got Canada Australia, the Middle East and then Asia coming up, so that's all happening in the next two years. That's a lot, that's a lot, that's a lot, that sounds so exciting. My gosh, I think it's interesting when you talk about just to go back a step, when you were talking about, you know, coming into this and raising money, you have to be very clear and what the exit strategy is and how you get to that, what some tactical advice around. Let me give you an example of things that I'm thinking about at the moment, so we're building our own better for you, premium non alcoholic wine at the moment and we've been developing that for the last five months, let's say. And so something that we're focused on at the moment is speaking to as many people in m and a as possible and as many people who are in these businesses like DiMaggio potentially who could acquire us. And we've been kind of like watching what big brands are acquiring other brands in, in what categories and things like that. So that's an example for anyone listening of what we're doing to potentially look at what Could be down the road in say five years time.
00:37:44 But I'd love to know what you were doing to also kind of prep yourself for that future exit or acquisition really similar to, to be honest. And like I said, we've got a lot of institutional strategic investors. So like Unilever's and investor, lots of time family groups and investor William Hood who are experts in M and A. They sold Olly vitamins and liquid ivy to Unilever and Holland and Barrett here in the UK. So yeah, very similar to you. I basically went out and sort of got all of this very sort of useful and tactical information. Uh, and that really sort of helped build our strategy in all. Honestly, it was pretty simple. We were just looking at sort of like the big conglomerates, what type of acquisitions they were making. We saw that There was, there had been a sort of cluster of smaller acquisitions and a couple of years ago of companies that were in sort of like a 20 million revenue standpoint. But that actually those acquisitions hadn't really been a huge success for these big companies And we were sort of starting to see a different pattern where they were really only Really taking the rest of acquiring brands, who has been more of like that 100 million revenue plus stage.
00:38:57 So that sort of helped me sort of set my goal is to sort of, okay, if that is the number, it has to be above that, What sort of multiples that we then looking at for an omni channel business or really more of a provident D two C but with omni channel sort of opportunity. Um, and then we sort of like drew on a multiple, which we were looking, I think it likes sex, sex or something like that. Five xxx. And then from then we was looking, okay, well, this would be sort of what that benefit could like if we were going to go with a big beauty conglomerate. Mm hmm. And then basically working it backwards from there how much you need to raise, how, what you need to get to that kind of thing. Exactly, yeah. So interesting. I love that. I love hearing what other people have done to figure it out. And also it's a bit weird because for us, we're so, at the very beginning, we don't have anything yet. You know, we haven't even finished our samples and it's so weird to be even thinking about that kind of stuff. But you know, that it's important to think about and to have in your mind for totally shaping the brand and shaping the pathway.
00:40:01 Yeah, I mean, I think that, you know, I think sometimes I found it, so, you know, I built a brand to sell, it feels like it's almost dirty, I don't think, I mean I'm so passionate about new coat, like I live and breathe it, it's something that's come from my grandfather, like I'm so happy every single day to fight for the company, so it's not a case of like, oh, I just want to build it and dump it at all, and perhaps I actually hold on to it for 20 years and 30 years, but I think having a strategy is going to help you make the right decisions, you know, and I think that things change and obviously you can pivot, but I think that you have so many people around you often giving you conflicting advice, you sort of need to take what makes sense to you and you can only really do that if you have a really clear plan. Yeah, you need to have, you know what your North star is and where your negotiables are, is your grandpa and still involved? No, he passed away a year and a half ago, unfortunately, I know, sorry, I know that, so it must be so proud of what you've built and what you've done so well, we had like my grandfather, his sort of black best years were spent at Cambridge University and charlie, who is our cr oh my partner, he is actually going back to school.
00:41:16 So he's going back to Cambridge University uh to study sustainability leadership. Um So he's doing his master's next year. So it's sort of like a nice full circle. That's a nice full circle moment when you look back at your journey to where you've gotten to today. What was absolutely critical in the beginning to getting this brand off the ground? Oh God that's you know okay there's three, there's probably three elements. I think the first one is a bit silly but I think the whole idea of manufacturing was such a black hole for me. I literally had no experience in it and I was basically developing and manufacturing products in the U. K. And then I was going to have to ship them to the us to hit my delivery deadline for Net a porter. And like I said I didn't have a compliance team around me so I needed to make sure that we were working with the best partners in order to make sure that that went smoothly. So yeah getting the right lab and then getting the right fulfillment agency.
00:42:22 And I know that sounds silly but we just would have never been able to deliver our first order without those two partners in place. And I would have never got to have worked with those two people if it wasn't for the angels around me have made those introductions. And the reason I say that is because I feel fairly confident that I could sit in front of a buyer at net a porter and convince them that this is a good idea in the same way that I could probably deal with an ambassador. But when you're trying to work with suppliers and manufacturers and you want to work with the best and you know, they're working with Brands that are, you know, putting in orders for $1 million 500 schemes and I just want to work with you, I don't want to work with anybody else. It's a much harder pit. So I would say that that was a huge moment for us, I would say also obviously like the Net a porter launch was a really important moment. And then lastly it was, it was actually getting charlie to join the business and I think that in the beginning when it was like five people around the table, it was me flow and other people that were basically, we're just like flo who were happy to wear every hat, You know, it's just not really collaborative or we didn't have layers of sort of management and it was amazing.
00:43:36 We got so much done. Like in our first year we launched a net supporter, we signed on like 20 retailers. We then raised 1.5 million, we opened a store at the end of the year and we launched another five products that we did so much just as a group and then I think that's sort of going into like the next phase of growth. I quickly realized that really we needed another type of skill set in the business and charlie had another business. I'm very like forward thinking, extremely optimistic, make decisions super quickly and I want to do everything and he is the complete opposite of that. He's very considered, he really takes the time to slow down and listen to people and he's amazing at really building things like okay our structures around the business and so having somebody on board like that who had a completely different skill set to me was amazing and I think that's really helped us sort of keep up with that pace. Oh wow, that sounds amazing. Oh, that's so sweet, so sweet.
00:44:39 If you were starting this business again today, is there anything you would do differently in today's landscape? I definitely learned a lot of lessons that I don't regret because you know, it's got us to where we are now, I may be my advice for founders is that you should always remember that it is your business and that you actually are in control. So even if you raised all of this money and you've got all of these incredible investors around you who have so much experience, it's your responsibility to know and understand every single aspect of your business so that you can make the right decisions. Because I think often, you know, you could take advice for someone who you don't necessarily agree with the advice but you think they come from this amazing background, They've been there and done it. They must know and you sort of follow through with it and you realize actually this doesn't work for us. And I knew that and now we've wasted money and we've wasted time. So I think that, you know, having been through the last four years, I think that just remembering that it's your business and it's their business, but your job is to protect the business.
00:45:50 So if you think that you're making a decision for the good of yourself, you're making it for the good of your shareholders and just to have confidence really and yourself to do that. Mm That's really great advice, standing with it with conviction and going with that. Yeah, intuition slash what your what your feeling is. Yeah. I think it's that but I think it's also if you really know your business, if you're you're the one who's done the pictures to the editors. The data, that's Yeah. You're the data that you have. Exactly. And I think that that's what you often don't forget. I mean, I think if you stood in front of a buyer and you were trying to pitch them a noose cube of a Loreal brand versus the pitch that we have to give when we can, you know, trying to convince a retailer that a this is a category and be, they should clear shelf space for a brand that probably their customers don't know but it's going to, you know, I think it's a completely different approach. And so that's you know, you just have to remember that nobody really knows your business as well as you do. So that's why you have to have conviction and what you do.
00:46:54 Gosh, is there anything on the horizon that you want to shout about? Uh So we are launching with a major retailer in the U. S. That's going to be by far our biggest sort of retail launch. And we're really really, really excited about that. And we also have another sort of big collection that's launching in october which is an extension of our functional fragrances. I'm very excited. That sounds nice. I was just looking at your forest lungs. Yeah, that looks so cool. I really like that. We need to get you on. It smells amazing. I have no doubt at the end of every episode, I asked a series of six quick questions just to wrap it up, Some of which we might have covered, some of which we might not have. So question number one is what's your, why why are you doing what you're doing to make people feel better to improve people's help. I love that. I actually just as a side caveat, I am the kind of person that's also dealt with like severe bloating from time to time in my life and I'm that person that rushes to the pharmacy, like trying to have absolutely everything that they can offer me and then not feeling any better and being like, I think yeah, I think it's I think all founders uh most founders are really passionate about what they do, but talking about sort of what we really celebrate the new co it's a customer reviews.
00:48:13 Like that's what we share on slack and that's what everybody loves to be part of that in. You know, we're talking about conversion rates and click through rates and launching into retail, but in reality, that's actually what we do and how lovely that that's what that's why we come to work. I read through a couple of your reviews and they are really, really, really nice. Well, it's been the number one marketing moment that made the business pop. I think the the vogue exclusive launch official, That's a pretty good one Question. Number three is where do you hang out to get smarter? What are you reading or listening to or subscribing to that? Others should know about This is a sound so lame. But one of the reasons we wanted to work with Unilever was because they had these incredible trend reports and consumer insight reports. So that's that's usually what my go to uh the future laboratory as well and stylist to other sort of forums that I go to. Amazing. I'm going to link them in the show notes for anyone who wants to check those out. Question number four is how do you win the day?
00:49:16 What are your am or PM rituals and habits that keep you feeling successful and motivated and happy. So I am very early bird and I always go for a long walk before I like start work. So it's usually like an hour and then my sort of wind down routine takes like two hours. So I have a really basic skincare routine which is obviously just made up of Nico products, but I put a candle or, and I'll use our fragrance. So I think basically my approach is start and end slow and then sort of a bit in between in your day. Just give it everything you've got power through it. Yeah. With fire question number five is if you were given $1000 of no strings attached grant money, where would you spend that in the business? And that's kind of to look at like where is the most important spend of a dollar for you? I think ingredients well that's what we did. That's literally what we did. So we got a couple of $1000 and that we said, okay, let's invest in the formulas and then subsequent to that.
00:50:20 It was the brand identity and question number six last question, How do you deal with failure? What's your mindset and approach when things do not go to plan? I just think you as a founder, you have to be accepting and understanding that you're not going to be able to do everything right. I spoke to a founder yesterday who has created literally the most beautiful, incredible brand and she was being so hard on herself because she thought that she got her trademarking strategy wrong and I was like, you just can't beat yourself up about everything. Um you sort of have to accept that maybe you're not the lawyer, but actually you are the creative visionary and yeah, that's really, I mean I've learned so much from all of my failures and I've always look forward and not in a sense of like manifesting, but I'm always like, okay, this is really hard. What I'm going through is it really going to bring the company under like, can I really see a scenario where this means that we're going to have to liquidate the business. If I can't, then I'm gonna survive and I'm going to get through it, then everything's all good.
00:51:28 Yeah. And unfortunately I think with running a business, I always know that whatever issue I'm dealing with today, I'm probably going to be dealing with a bigger issue tomorrow. That sounds really negative, but it actually makes you feel better. That's so funny. My husband loves to say, he loves to put things in perspective by saying like is this going to matter in a week? Is it gonna matter in a month? Exactly, Is it gonna matter in a year? And if it matters in a year, he's like, then maybe consider that, but if it's only going to matter in a week and that's it, like, Yes, and also it happens to everybody. Like I remember early on, we can't remember what we did, I think we had like the wrong font size in one of our labels and so 500 units of our products were stuck in um in customs and I was just so worried and stress and I remember I had a, I had a meeting booked in with somebody from Unilever, she wasn't part of the venture arm, she was just working now, I think I was trying to hire her and I was moaning about it, She worked in operations and she was like, we've got $44 million worth of stock actually held in customs for the same reason and I just thought, wow, um you know, that really puts it into perspective, you know, we're sort of all in it together and you just can't get disheartened.
00:52:41 I love that. That's so funny, Jill's thank you so much for taking the time to be on the show today and share your incredible journey so far. I'm just so thrilled to have been able to learn from you and I'm excited for what's to come, Thank you so much, thank you for having me