BECOMING a parent is no easy feat, from pregnancy to learning how to be the sole provider for the smallest being you’ve ever seen – it’s a journey.
And worrying about everything becomes the norm – are they at a healthy weight? Are they socialising well? Is there too much sugar in this snack?
The pair made their own snacks called Freddie’s Farm[/caption]
They praised the TV show Aldi’s Next Big Thing for helping them[/caption]
It’s the snack part that really got to parents Laurie, 35, and Charlie Fermor, 36, who are parents to two beautiful children Freddie, seven, and three-year-old Ottie.
Speaking to The Sun’s Fabulous magazine, the pair recalled how they once found themselves walking around the aisles of a supermarket and were left feeling unimpressed with the selection of snacks available for kids.
Coming from a long line of farmers, Charlie explained that he knew how most of them were produced, too.
“Because I’ve been in food production for a while, I kind of looked at the products and I knew how they were produced,” he shared.
“And I just wasn’t comfortable giving that to my children and I think Laurie was the same.”
He said: “So it was just a no brainer… It was the way to go.”
Laurie shared that they had one of the very first commercial dehydrators in the UK and her husband often helped startups develop their products using the machinery.
“I think we spent some time lobbying for it for other people and we thought, hang on a minute, let’s try it ourselves,” she explained.
After identifying a gap in the market, they set about using Charlie’s knowledge in both farming and manufacturing to create their ideal snack for their kids.
It was a slow process to begin with though as they had grand plans to go wholesale at the time of their launch, but then Covid-19 hit.
Aldi's Next Big Thing Takeaways
- Laurie encouraged people to “just go for it” and apply as there’s nothing to lose and “everything to gain”
- Even if you don’t win, the exposure could bring you a lot of customers
- “Winning isn’t the most important thing. Even if we hadn’t won, we still would have been thrilled,” Laurie said
“Pretty soon after that everything kind of shut down and a couple of wholesalers went bust,” Charlie explained.
They had no choice but to re-evaluate their situation and how they were going to get their product out to people.
He continued: “That came along with the rise of eCommerce and people buying off websites, especially Amazon. We had jumped into that, which really propelled us and we were able to kind of fine tune the product based on people’s feedback pretty quickly.”
One of the biggest things people were after was sustainable packaging, for example, so the pair switched from plastic to recyclable paper.
And then their big break came along.
“One of the producers from the show came up to the stand and said, ‘Please apply’”, Laurie explained.
They were then emailed with a nudge to go on the show, and from there, it “snowballed”.
“We are forever grateful to them for that, because it got our products in front of so many people,” Laurie went on. “That is like winning the lottery for a small business.”
While the couple confessed that being on the show, which is hosted by Anita Rani and Chris Bavin alongside Managing Director of Buying at Aldi, Julie Ashfield, was “terrifying”, they also said it was a “lovely experience”.
I think we’re on track for a seven figure turnover this year and that’s all down to the show
“We did our first three pitches and then found out we were through to the second round. They came to visit us from there…” she added.
When they first started the business, the pair weren’t sure how big it would become, but in the three years since the launch it appears they’ve come incredibly far.
“I think we’re on track for a seven figure turnover this year and that’s all down to the show,” Laurie said.
She went on to share how the experience has opened many doors for them and, if all goes to plan, their product will be going into another major retailer this year.
Applications to go on the show are live currently and Laurie key piece of advice on it is: “Just go for it, you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain.
“I think when we did it, we thought we’d never get on it, let alone win it.”
She continued: “Even if you don’t win, you’ll have this wonderful exposure on TV.
“I think the runners up probably had better online sales than us, because people would go in store and buy our products while they saw their website crashing from so much traffic. They made huge online sales and it is a huge exposure.
“Winning isn’t the most important thing. Even if we hadn’t won, we still would have been thrilled.”
Aldi is calling for small businesses/food and drink entrepreneurs to star in the series. Entries close on 12th June.
My mummy side hustle was picked up by Aldi – now it’s worth six-figures… and your hobby could be[/caption]