What do you currently do?
I am the UK Founder of CO YO, the UK’s first and only Coconut Milk Yoghurt which is completely vegan and free from gluten, dairy, lactose, soy, sugar and artificial additives.
CO YO has been available in UK speciality shops since February 2012 and I am working hard to make CO YO available in as many places as possible across the UK and to get the best recognition for such a unique, healthy and delicious product.
CO YO has won awards in the “Free From Food Awards 2012”, “Natural & Organic Awards 2012” and “Great Taste Awards 2012” and is set to launch nationwide before the end of the year.
What is your inspiration in business?
My background is in nutrition – I am a fully qualified Nutritionist and used to run a practice at London’s premier natural health centre.
While I was working with clients with specific dietary requirements I realised there was a gap in the market for a real “free from” alternative. Because of this I’m totally passionate about getting CO YO on the shelves and in the hands of consumers.
There is nothing like CO YO in Europe: it is made from the crushed white flesh of coconuts and plant-based probiotic cultures. It’s free from dairy, lactose, gluten, soya, sugar & artificial additives, with all the nutritional and health & beauty benefits (and delicious taste!) of superfood coconut.
I regularly receive wonderful messages of thanks for bringing CO YO to the UK market. People are really appreciative to have found a product which gives them a real alternative choice, whether they’re vegan, diabetics, intolerant to dairy, parents to children with allergies – the list goes on and on. That is truly inspiring!
Who do you admire?
I admire Michelle Mone, the founder and co-owner of Ultimo and MJM International, a multi-million pound lingerie company. She came from nothing and worked hard on something she was passionate about to build a successful business empire.
Looking back, are there things you would have done differently?
Everything I have done has made me the person I am today, from PA to police officer, this all paved the way to where I am now.
What defines your way of doing business?
My motto in life is that things don’t change by themselves, you have to make them happen. My way of doing business is similar: I have an idea, know what I want, believe in it passionately and go for it.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
It is hard, I won’t lie, the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but the feedback we receive makes it all worthwhile.
Starting a business takes over your life. I would advise someone just starting out to try to separate work time from home/private time. For example I make sure I allocate a few hours each week of “me time” where I go down the gym, stick my ipod on and switch off, it needs to be done for your own sanity!