After a career as a city firm lawyer, Susan realised a long-held desire to become a food entrepreneur and co-founded healthy snack brand Pep & Lekker.
Susan was inspired to start Pep & Lekker when she discovered the food products that she was buying for her vegan son were far from healthy. Joining forces with her sister-in-law, they launched a range of seed bars full of flavour and nutrition which are now stocked by major UK supermarkets and wholefood stores.
Always interested in entrepreneurship, Susan decided to do an MBA after her 20yr career as a City lawyer in preparation for starting her own business and then launched Pep & Lekker in 2016.
Their journey hasn't been bump-free; Pep & Lekker originally included a range of tasty soups but realising the constraint of a seasonal window and the more complex storage and distribution challenges they decided to focus solely on seed snacks for their first phase.
Pep & Lekker's range is a perfect solution for the growing vegan, gluten-free and health-conscious consumer markets. Their flavoursome protein-packed products standout in a healthy snack sector where the majority of options were high in sugar or bland in taste.
I knew I could do better.
Susan's co-founder (& sister-in-law) Juliette is an ex-psychotherapist. She credits their complementary skills and shared 'healthy living' values as a major reason they have been able to achieve so much in a relatively short space of time.
Make sure you have complementary skills.
Susan's advice to new startups is to avoid falling into the trap that everything has to be perfect before you launch. 80% there is good enough because as soon as the product is out there it will change and evolve with feedback anyway.
Don't wait for everything to be perfect.
Seeking out mentors and organisations that could help connect Pep & Lekker to interesting opportunities has been a fruitful strategy. Susan won a place on the Seed Fund programme which led to relationships with experienced food entrepreneurs who have been invaluable in providing advice.
Fear. The difference between people who start and those who don't.
At Business School, Susan was told the main barrier to starting a business was fear and to know that this was an inevitable part of the start-up journey.
Susan has learnt to combat feelings of self-doubt and anxiety through meditation and 'fierce exercising' (!)