Getting To Know You: Lucy Wright, Co-Founder of Cuckoo Bircher muesli

What do You Currently Do?
I am the Co-Founder of on-the-go Bircher muesli brand Cuckoo. I decided to launch a food business with my business partner and childhood friend Anna Mackenzie after she came to me with the idea which was born in her mother’s kitchen. We recognised an opportunity to cater to the growing demand for healthy, convenient breakfast options which fit into a demanding schedule. Using Anna’s mother’s recipes, together, we developed an idea for a revolutionary take on the traditional Bircher muesli.

What is your inspiration in business?
Both Anna and I have an obsession with delicious food, in particular, Bircher muesli and healthy and delicious breakfasts and we wanted to introduce an innovative and revolutionary take on traditional Bircher muesli which is why we launched Cuckoo.

My inspiration comes from the challenger brands out there today who have managed, in a very competitive and crowded market place, to do something different and stand out from the crowd.
Both of our families are immensely supportive and are also huge inspirations for us, my father was an entrepreneur and he inspires me every day.

Who Do You Admire?
I admire other innovative start-up food companies like Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, Doisy and Dam and Oppo Ice Cream. These guys all have amazing products and are so passionate. We have a wonderful network of friends doing the same thing as us and we are always phoning one another for advice, meeting for drinks and generally helping one another out. I admire what they all do on a daily basis.

Looking Back, Would You Have Done Things Differently?
I do not think we would have done thing differently, mistakes happen but you always learn something from them. When something does not go our way we will sit down and discuss how to overcome it and what we would do differently next time.

One thing we learnt very early on is to always have a back-up strategy. Things go wrong every day, suppliers will let you down, stock will not get delivered and mistakes will happen. Always having a plan B ensures you are prepared when things don’t go to plan and it does not seem so awful.

We often joke that we would not have launched a chilled, short shelf life product if we had known the trials and tribulations that came with it, but we do not mean this. We are so passionate about our product, it outweighs the difficulties we have and when we see people buying Cuckoo it makes it all worthwhile.

What Defines Your Way of Doing Business?
Innovation is at the heart of everything we do at Cuckoo. As a start-up company, we are also always thinking entrepreneurially and on our feet and are not afraid to push boundaries.
We try to do things a little differently, particularly when getting the attention of buyers. People often think it is best to talk to buyers in a very ‘business like’ manner, we often find turning up to the head office unannounced with samples can do the trick just fine.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
The first piece of advice I would give to any young entrepreneur looking to launch a business is to conduct your market research and check your idea has legs. I spent months getting our products in front of anyone and everyone; by holding tastings for family and friends and going into offices to gain an unbiased opinion. That way you quickly learn if there is a genuine demand for your business offering.

Talk to everyone and anyone you can! My business partner and I started by walking around supermarkets and making a list of the brands we like. We then contacted people who work at those companies individually offering to buy them a cup of coffee in exchange for picking their brains about how to launch a business. It’s thanks to these people that we are where we are today.

If you can get yourself a mentor, someone to call on during those tricky times, then do it. We have been lucky enough to work with a number of mentors, and have just appointed the most recent one as a Director.

Attend any networking, start-up event in your field that you can, just look online for events in your area, it is amazing who you will meet and what you will learn.