To Boldy Go… What Start-ups Can Teach Us and Why it Matters

If you watch Dragon’s Den, you’ll have seen Amelia Christie-Miller, founder of Bold Bean Co, secure a £50k investment from Deborah Meaden. Bold Bean Co embodies authenticity, purpose and innovation, and, whichever industry you’re in, many lessons can be learnt from their approach.

Two years ago, I tasted Bold Beans for the first time when a friend served them in the most delicious salad. I’ve been buying them ever since (I’ve joined the legions of their super-loyal ‘Bean Champs’) – mostly for the product, but also because I really bought into the brand itself, and its founders’ ethos.

Last year, Relish invited Amelia and her team to join us for one of our Get Together days. We wanted to hear her story – to inspire our team with that entrepreneurial spirit and to understand marketing from the perspective of a start-up. Amelia discussed the challenges of launching a premium product, the significance of social media in brand-building, and the essence of authenticity.

Ed Whelpton, their co-founder, also joined us for one of our Subscription Spotlights, discussing the role of DTC (Direct-to-Consumer) in their growth trajectory. Since then, their journey has seen them securing listings in retailers such as M&S, Waitrose, Booths, Planet Organic and Wholefoods, alongside a noteworthy inclusion in Sainsbury’s Brand Incubator program.

So, what can big brands learn from trailblazers like Bold Bean Co?

1. Authenticity and Purpose: Bold Bean epitomises authenticity, solidifying their stance with B-Corp status. Their mission to make us “obsessed with beans” resonates in every aspect of their brand, leading to extensive media coverage, and celebrity endorsements from chefs such as Nigella Lawson, Thomasina Miers and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall as well as Leon Founder, Food expert and author – Henry Dimbleby. Their growing team live and breathe the brand with enviable enthusiasm and energy.

2. Innovation: Thriving on curiosity and restlessness, Bold Bean constantly explores new products to add to their range. Their recent venture into reviving the little-known British Carlin Pea exemplifies their commitment to reinvigorating ancient pulses.

3. Keep it Lean: Bold Bean’s success is built on resourcefulness and efficiency, with limited funding, ‘bean counting’ is a must.

4. Customer-Centricity: A year ago, Bold Bean set out to convert 1000 Instagram users into ‘Bean Champs’ (subscribers who would talk about their brand), a goal that saw their follower count skyrocket. They published an award-winning Bold Bean Cook Book – a vital tool in showcasing the versatility of their range.

5. Agility and Adaptation: Start-ups like Bold Bean epitomise agility – their nimbleness in decision-making and responsiveness to emerging trends ensure they can get new products, new jar formats onto the shelves in fast turnarounds.

6. Embracing Failure: In all businesses, especially start-ups, setbacks are inevitable. Bold Bean’s ability to embrace failures or see them as learning opportunities underscores their resilience and tenacity.

We can all draw inspiration from start-ups like Bold Bean Co. Their approach is rooted in a singular and enthusiastic belief in their range. Authenticity, innovation, customer-centricity, and resilience are at their core.

Try inviting entrepreneurs in to share their stories – there is much they can teach us all. (We also recommend you try their beans and find out what all the fuss is about). Go Bold Bean Co.! You deserve every success for the future.

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