You can overcome social barriers by not allowing them to define you
Aneisha is founder and director of Scrumbles, an ethical brand of pet food released in the UK this summer.
Aneisha developed a passion for the pet industry during her first job out of University where she worked with independent pet retailers, accompanied by her dog Smudge. A successful career in sales and marketing for household names Proctor & Gamble, Unilever and L’Oreal followed. Here she learnt how to build and grow a brand and how to win in the competitive FMCG industry. A stint at healthy snacks start-up Urban Fresh Foods (Bearn Nibbles) gave her all the inspiration she needed to create her own brand.
Two years of research, testing and development finally led to the launch of Scrumbles, yummy good food for cats and dogs.
Core to the creation of Scrumbles is Aneisha’s belief in the power of business to do good. Scrumbles commits 10% of its profits to good causes and amongst other projects are currently working with Dogs on the Street to help improve the welfare of dogs belonging to the UK’s homeless community.
Aneisha runs Scrumbles from Croydon, South London along with her business partner and husband Jack.
Where did the idea for Scrumbles come from?
I’ve always wanted to do something with animals. My husband and I had both worked within the pet industry and were frustrated with the lack of good quality yet affordable food for pets so we set out to create our own.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I’m up early and try to start my day with a little yoga to get myself ready for the day ahead. A hearty bowl of porridge and cup of tea and I’m all set. Most of my work is at home, so I try to keep disciplined and stay in our home office so Scrumbles doesn’t take over the whole house. Once I’m in there I’m in the zone and can work for hours. I make sure to break up the day with play sessions with Smudge and Boo and then a longer walk after lunch with Smudge but other than that, I’m there until I’ve crossed off everything on my to do list.
How do you bring ideas to life?
As soon as I have an idea, if I’m alone I email myself and wait until I’m with someone I trust to talk through it and explore how to bring it to life – I always focus on what the value of the idea is. Once I’m confident it’s a goer, I create a list of actions needed, timelines and work through till its realised.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Conscious consumerism and shopping. Shoppers are savvier than ever and taking care and consideration to guide their shopping choices. It’s an exciting time where shoppers are dictating the future for businesses forcing them to review their ways and make positive changes for example with the reduction of single use plastic. For pet food, shoppers are increasingly aware of what goes into the food and no longer just assuming that they can trust a product simply because it has a big brand name on the front. For too long major manufacturers have developed products to grow their bottom line without much thought to the well-being of their consumers. With shoppers becoming more aware, that is set to change.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I must see white space. I use my inbox as my to do list – I send myself emails on everything that needs to be done and I’ve disciplined myself to not end any day without seeing white space in my inbox i.e. no scrolling. It’s something that I’ve lived by for years – it keeps me focussed and stops me from procrastinating as time is very short.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Work more and save as much as you can to start the business. Money makes starting a business that much easier and quicker.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
You can overcome social barriers by not allowing them to define you. I’ve met lots of people from all different backgrounds that continually tell me they’re held back by society. I disagree – society might make it harder but if you’re really determined and the best at what you do, there’s no holding you back.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I’m a dedicated researcher. If I want to understand something I will spend the time digging through articles, white papers or whatever the most relevant medium is to become as well read in that topic as I can. It means I understand my product, my customers and my business better than anyone else and no matter what challenge I’m faced with I’ll find a way to tackle it.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Focusing on relationships with both our shoppers and customers, this has been really important to get Scrumbles out there.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Unfortunately, we learnt the hard way that not everybody shares the same values and you won’t always get the goodwill from other businesses that you’d expect to offer them. We lost a trademark challenge to a big corporate this way.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Earth friendly dishwasher tablets – my biggest single use plastic bugbear
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I paid a little over for a good office chair. I spend hours at my desk and a good chair is essential for a happy back.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Hubspot is a great and free CRM. It enables you to keep track of your all of your conversations with anyone and to create follow up tasks – your own brilliant personal assistance. When you are dealing with hundreds of people it’s impossible to remember all of that and stay on top of tasks but hubspot does it effortlessly. They also have an amazing blog which is my go to for all things business.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
You might laugh but I recently reread the children’s book “Beyond the Deepwoods” by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. It’s one that I loved as a kid and still enjoyed as an adult – it’s full of adventure and all about taking risk and persevering.
What is your favorite quote?
“The Greatest Threat to Our Planet Is the Belief That Someone Else Will Save It” This is something that motivates me to do things like launching a business and constantly evolving my ways to better the world around me.
- By using your inbox to manage your task list, you’ll stay focussed and avoid letting things slip.
- Always consider the value an idea generates before moving forward with it.
- Always strive to be the expert in what you’re doing/offering. Credibility speaks volumes.
- Don’t let anyone hold you back from success, particularly yourself.
- Make time for some down time whether its reading a book or playing a game.
Aneisha Soobroyen on Linkedin: