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Pioneer of the Week: Mini Nom Noms

New and Networking

Pioneer of the Week: Mini Nom Noms

Our Pioneer of the week is Mini Nom Noms, a business making delicious and healthy world food for kids. Winning attention and awards wherever they go, their combination of fun and easy meals that are good for your children is proving an idea that everyone loves - they'll launch in Ocado in mid-May. What's more, every meal sold also feeds a child in India, making Mini Nom Noms a business that makes a difference in more ways than one. Let's find out more!

1. Tell us 3 important things we should know about you.


- I’m a mum of 3 children, aged four, three and one.

- In over 20 years of my working career within Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Industries, I have only ever worked in an office for one year. The rest has been remote working.

- Mini Nom Noms is based in and launching in London, but I'm from Sydney and we currently live in Toronto - so my work day starts at 3 am everyday!

2. Tell us about your business. How did it start? Did you set it up alone or with a team?


The seed to starting Mini Nom Noms, healthy world food for kids, was planted in my mind by my first child. I was managing the Emerging Markets region for Europe, Middle East & Africa for the Neuromodulation Division. I was constantly travelling and loved being exposed to delicious cuisines.

We were busy working parents, yet we both wanted to introduce our children to interesting world flavours from a young age. But trying to replicate recipes at home to suit a child’s palate was not only challenging but also very time-consuming. As we spoke to more and more parents, we found that it was a common challenge amongst us. So I ventured out to address the gap in the market and introduce a convenient and tasty ready meal option for children using a balanced blend of spices and with strong health credentials. Mini Nom Noms aims to inspire and educate children on our vibrant world cultures, cuisines and flavours, with two course meals and storytelling.

My husband is a doctor, and together we set the business up, which I run 100%. We used a Virgin Startup loan to give us that kickstart we needed just over a year ago.

3. What do you love most about running your own business?


I love the flexible working arrangement and that I am my own boss. Finally I have the final say and can bring my concept to life, my way. No more beauracracy and one of the lengthy approval processes that are common in the corporate working environment.

4. Tell us about a challenging experience you’ve faced in the process of starting up your business and how you overcame it.


One of the biggest challenges were our packaging components. We wanted to ensure that our packaging was 100% recyclable and small enough to house the smaller portions that were needed for children’s food. I realized that just because this didn’t exist anywhere in the world, didn’t mean that it shouldn’t exist. So we decided to go for bespoke tooling to keep with the high values and essence of our brand.

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5. What advice could you give to other startups about starting up in your industry?


It’s incredibly tough to break into a noisy crowded space like the food Industry. The only way to make your mark is to innovate and differentiate your product and brand. From the beginning not only did I want to bring to market a healthy and tasty product, I intended to do so by building a brand. A brand that engenders trust, inspires and educates with strong values, strong health credentials and goes beyond providing good healthy food.

6. Can you share an experience that really helped you take your business forward?


With the extensive taste testing and consumer testing we did, we received validation that our meals will be loved by children and parents. What about buyers? If buyers didn’t stock us, then there would be no product to get to our little consumers. We decided to exhibit at the LUNCH exhibition in London September 2014, which was a trade-only show. With the overwhelming response, we were voted by the buyers as one of the most innovative new brands and entered a live pitch final where we won a gold ward. We also recently exhibited at the International Food & Drink Event 22nd March 2015 and were the only brand that was awarded winners in 3 categories – Best New Brand or Business, Best New Children’s Food Brand, and Best New Concept. So exhibiting at these great events and winning all these lovely awards has put Mini Nom Noms on the world map.

7. Many people start their businesses at home, where do you work? What do you love about it?


Mini Nom Noms all started from the home kitchen in London. I work from home in Toronto and travel to London frequently. We have appointed a fantastic Sales Manager – Danielle Roe for Mini Nom Noms who is also based from home in London. We both enjoy and encourage flexible working, especially with the bonus of being able to manage our family’s needs with busy working life.

8. What are three things you know now, that you wish someone had told you when you first started?


- That it doesn’t get easier - so try building an appetite for the continuous rollercoaster journey!

- Most people genuinely care about the success of your business, but some don't. Learn to differentiate between those seeking short- term financial gains and those you can sincerely build long term partnerships with.

- Battle though the constant "No's",  and make it happen! Persistence will pay. If you don’t take a risk you'll just never know, so don’t give up!

9. Is there anything specific you’d like to ask or share with the Virgin Media Pioneers community?


Being part of the Virgin Media Pioneers community has been absolutely brilliant. We certainly don’t feel all alone out there. The strength of the support and network is the fuel boosting the brand behind the scenes.

10. Finish the sentence: To be an entrepreneur…


...You need passion, belief and determination to make it happen!

To find out more about Mini Nom Noms check out their website.