We do love a good snack at CLO PR. No more so than one which is on the healthier side so less of that guilt is hanging over us. Move over Walkers, Well&Truly have got our back when it comes to satisfying, wholesome snacks. We spoke to one half of Well&Truly, Maria Trechman, about her desire, along with her sister-in-law Sara, to challenge the oh-so-clean world of ‘healthy eating’ and the outdated ‘guilty pleasures’ label of mainstream snacks. We love the fact that the brand is packed full of positivity!
1. What drove you to set up Well&Truly?
My sister-in-law Sara and I both felt that there was a serious lack of great tasting snacks that weren’t really bad for you. The old kale crisps just didn’t quite hit the spot for us taste wise, so we set out to un-junk and improve the nutritional profiles of classic snacking favourites such as Doritos and Nik Naks without compromising on the great taste. Snacking should be a pleasure and we don’t think the word “guilt” should have anything to do with it.
2. What's the biggest lesson you've learnt in setting up the business?
That having a co-founder to share all the ups and downs with is invaluable, and that everything always take longer than you expect whether it’s the development of a new flavour or the listing with a new customer.
3. What has surprised you most about the process?
How many investors are genuinely excited about the F&B space - it’s fantastic to be pitching something that everyone in the room can see, feel, smell and taste. We often let our products do most of the talking!
4. What has been the thing you've most struggled with that you've had to overcome?
As a start-up you face challenges on a daily basis. You need to juggle so many roles and tasks which you don’t always have experience in, but being co-founders has helped us a lot as we always have someone to bounce ideas off and challenge each other. One of our biggest challenges is staying on top of cashflow to make sure we can continue to grow quickly. We’ve put in place several models to help us monitor this and stay one step ahead.
5. Have you needed to raise investment? If so, how have you found it and do you think being female founders affected the negotiations?
We’ve done two investment rounds to date and found the process surprisingly enjoyable albeit very time consuming. Being two female founders didn’t hold us back, if anything several of our investors outright said they were excited to be backing an all-female team. It also enabled us to apply and secure funding from AllBright, the all female fund.
6. What's the one thing you'd like to change about the food industry?
We’d like to see more frequent range reviews to be able to introduce new products more often, and a reduction in the amount of plastic packaging. We’ve just reduced the plastic in some of our packaging by 20%, and whilst this doesn’t go anywhere near solving the problem, it’s a start. If all food brands did the same that would be a pretty great improvement vs where we are today and a good platform for further reductions.
7. The number of snack brands out there on our shelves is incredible. Was it ever a worry to be part of a busy marketplace? What do you think has ensured you're still firmly in the game?
The snacking market is hugely exciting, and there’s been a lot of innovation at the healthier end of the spectrum in recent years. We try not to worry about the competition but instead focus on doing what we do as best as possible. The key to our success is our no-compromise approach when it comes to taste and health. When it comes to snacking taste is king, but today’s consumer also demand improved health credentials and Well&Truly delivers both.
8. Many women experience the so-called 'imposter syndrome'. Is this something you’ve experienced and do you have any tips on managing it?
Dips in confidence happen to most people and we’ve definitely had periods where we’ve questioned ourselves. We work hard on recognising the signs of self-doubt and the negative effects it can have on performance. It’s an ongoing journey!
9. Where do you get your inspiration?
The London start up scene is hugely inspirational and we constantly meet up with other founders to share stories and learnings. This is where we have learnt the most and try to give back as much as possible to other founders who are just starting out.
10. Who do you look up to?
Any working parent holding it all together whilst finding time to care for their little ones is a hero in our books!
11. What does 2018 hold for Well&Truly?
2018 is a hugely exciting year for Well&Truly with the launch of our rebrand going live early this summer, new exciting flavours hitting the shelves - including our first vegan flavour -and an acceleration of our international business.
12. If you weren't doing what you do now, you'd be....
Looking after my baby boy whilst thinking up new fun business ideas in the baby space! I’m pretty sure Sara would be setting out to scale another crazy high mountain in the Himalayas (she’s done it before!) or trek across Greenland and then come back to set up an online sustainable start up.