by Startacus Admin
Published on: 31st January 2013
Graze - An interview with Ben Jones Co Founder of Graze
The name itself makes you feel healthy: Graze.
It makes you think of fresh produce. Green grass. Healthy food. If a name alone can sell a product, Graze have managed to hit the nail right on the head. However Graze is much more than that. Graze.com is a success story both in terms of its name, the fact that 7 friends started a business together, for its concept of selling and delivering fresh food straight to your door via the post and also for overcoming the “you can’t do that” reactions that many innovators face.
It’s a self starter story that Startacus loves (plus we like the odd Graze too!) We thought then it only right that we should find out a little more, so we decided to contact Ben Jones to ask him a few questions about Graze, its Co-Founders and the startup scene itself...
"Fresh food in the post", must have been a pretty hard sell. How difficult was it to go up against 'industry experts' who said that it couldn't be done?
It was one of the hardest things we’ve ever done but it was worth it because it taught us to challenge the norm and in turn gave us the confidence to do everything ourselves. We used to hear things like “it’s never been done before” and “it can’t be done”. We always struggled to accept this because we never got an answer that put us off when we questioned why? As we chipped away, it turned out there wasn’t one particular thing that would make it possible, it was going to be loads of little things that would all add up to make it happen. From sourcing the freshest fruit in the world to developing special packaging and building a special room to cut and pack the fruit in it was a fantastic adventure. It is one of many innovative things we’ve done atgraze.com but it is probably the most important as it created a culture of always challenging the norm, it taught us there is always a way.
Going back to that initial business eureka moment, how quickly did the business idea turn into an actual real business?
The eureka moment was in January 2007 but we didn’t launch until January 2009, getting this product to market took a lot of planning because we wanted to scale fast.
There are quite a few co-founders in Graze. Any advice on how to manage personalities and responsibilities when you have a large team of co-founders on board?
The founders are a close group of friends (some of us go back to 11 years old), so we’re able to make, accept and trust decisions quickly because you all know who the best man for the job is, you know each other very well and you talk straight. Hard for me to advise as I’ve always started businesses with friends but I’m a big fan of majority rule - as long as there’s an odd number.
How quickly have you found that other companies have set up as 'competitors' and how do you react to competition in your market?
Very quickly. We react by getting the product, experiencing the service and understanding who’s’ behind it. I personally welcome competition; it spurs you on to be better.
What is your impression of the startup scene in the UK? How innovative and big is it in reality?
The people I know in the start-up scene are as passionate and driven as ever, no one is short of ideas, I love it. I don’t know how big it is, but it can always be bigger.
Who outside your business team has supported or helped you the most?
Too many too mention – we make huge efforts to surround ourselves with smart, talented, motivated people.
What exciting Graze developments can you share with Startacus?!
We beta launched in the USA 5 days ago – graze.com/US, we thought it would be great to take an English product to America for a change.
And with that our interview was done. We wish Ben and the whole team all th best for the next step on their adventure over in the States and fingers crossed in twelve months time we can touch base to see how all has gone...
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