Shaper: Camilla Barnard

Show aired on 20th June 2015

Transcript

Elliot Moss
That was Stevie Wonder and Living For The City, an uplifting way to start Jazz Shapers here on Jazz FM with me, Elliot Moss. Thank you very much for joining me. This is the place where you can hear the very best of those people who are shaping the world of jazz, blues and soul in addition to those people who are shaping the world of business; I call them a Business Shaper. My Business Shaper today is Camilla Barnard and she is the co-founder of Rude Health and Rude Health for those of you that don’t know, who aren’t having breakfast right now with it in front of you, is a breakfast business, a business that sells cereals and a business that sells all sorts of things that you can eat and know that they are very very healthy and tasty too. I can testify to that personally. You will be hearing lots from Camilla very shortly. In addition to hearing from her you will also be hearing from our programme partners at Mischon De Reya some words of advice for your business and as well as all of that of course, a sumptuous nay tasty mix of music from the shapers of jazz, blues and soul, including the great Nina Simone, the Jazz FM award winning GoGo Penguin and this from Ray Charles and Nora Jones.

The beautiful sound of Ray Charles and Nora Jones with Here We Go Again. No-one ever dies anymore they just come back and deliver fantastic music like that. This is Jazz Shapers and my Business Shaper today here on Jazz FM is Camilla Barnard and she is one of the co-founders of Rude Health. They make gorgeous food for you to eat at breakfast. Camilla thank you very much for joining me.

Camilla Barnard
You are very welcome. Good morning.

Elliott Moss
Good morning. You make breakfast stuff, why? What happened? What decided, what inspired you to do that back in 2005 when you set the business up?

Camilla Barnard
It was very simple really, it wasn’t a grand plan, it was that I wanted breakfast to be delicious and I wanted it to be nutritious, there we go, delicious and nutritious and it seemed to be quite difficult and combined with that everything was sold, everything out there in the breakfast cereal guise is sold as healthy but when you actually look at the packets and I had just had my second child so I was finding myself staring at packets in a slight sort of daze, looking at what was in them and nutritional information and I really realised that they weren’t anything like as healthy as they said and I wasn’t particularly enjoying them. So it felt to me like that didn’t work. I wanted something that tasted great and made you feel good because the whole point… so the point of creating Rude Health was what we believe in is, if you eat right, you will be your best self which we now sort of tighten up and say ‘eat right, stay brilliant’. So that was… it was very simply not happy with the cereals that were out there and the probably slightly baby brain induced idea that why an earth don’t we just do that then. Why not.

Elliot Moss
But if you don’t mind me saying, baby brain induced sense, you know, feeling at that time, looking and saying ‘well there’s nothing for me’ doesn’t naturally mean you are going to go and do something about it. There are many people that would do absolutely nothing, they’d just go ‘that’s a shame’ and carry on and not be very happy. Why you? Why did you and your husband and at that point two other investors, why did you think you would actually fix it? What’s in your DNA that makes you a doer?

Camilla Barnard
That I don’t know. I think I wanted to. I think I wanted to for a long time. I remember at school when they said ‘what do you want to do’ I didn’t actually have the least idea but I knew I wanted to do something myself and up to that point I hadn’t really done it and my husband on the other hand had done pretty much nothing but. He always says of himself that he is pretty much unemployable because he will just do his thing. So I think the combination was perfect.

Elliot Moss
And now the offering is the following. So tell me all about it? There’s a bit of muesli?

Camilla Barnard
There’s, yep so the full sort of breakfast range, lots of muesli’s, lots of granolas, lots of porridge, some nice light cereals, what they call in the business, ready to eat which is your sort of flakes and puffs and things and then we also do savoury snacks. Things like oat cakes and rice cakes but nicer and dairy alternative drinks.

Elliot Moss
And that’s around six million pounds turnover right now? Is that about right?

Camilla Barnard
Yeah around there yeah.

Elliot Moss
Not bad eh. That’s Rude Health and you will be in rude health if you have it.

Camilla Barnard
That’s the idea.

Elliot Moss
That’s the idea exactly. Stay with me for more from my lovely Business Shaper, Camilla Barnard; she is the co-founder of Rude Health, they make nice things for you to eat at breakfast but not just at breakfast. Time for some music, this is the award winning I promised it earlier, GoGo Penguin with Kamaloca.

That was Kamaloca from GoGo Penguin, they are the UK act of the year according to the Jazz FM awards and I believe them and you should too. Camilla Barnard is my Business Shaper today, she is the co-founder of Rude Health; they make lovely cereals and related healthy tasty food, over six million pounds turnover which in under just around ten years is not to be sniffed at either. Camilla we will go back to those, you know, the baby brain induced days and the fact that you got up and did it. You said your husband has always worked for himself or always thought he would do. Was there anyone in your family that worked for themselves? You said at school you fancied doing that or did you come from a family of entrepreneurs?

Camilla Barnard
No actually thinking about it. No on sort of thinking back now to what everyone’s done, not particularly but I suppose non-conformist rather than entrepreneurial. So perhaps it was with my husband sort of addition that that turned into, I had the, I don’t want to necessarily do what everyone else is doing and he had the ability to turn that into action.

Elliot Moss
Now in 2005 when the action happened. If I am right you, your husband and two neighbours put in some money, about £4,000 between you.

Camilla Barnard
Yep. Not much.

Elliot Moss
That’s right? Not much.

Camilla Barnard
Not a lot to start a business.

Elliot Moss
Well what did you do with that because people often talk about ‘oh my god it takes lots of money to raise’ you know…

Camilla Barnard
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
…before I can get going. That sound like much, I mean it’s a lot, £4,000 is a lot, it’s £4,000 but what did you, it didn’t seem like much in the scheme of things.

Camilla Barnard
No well I suppose in retrospect, with hindsight what we did was almost do live research so rather than spending a fortune in working out what’s the perfect way to do everything we just did it. We just bought the ingredients. We knew what muesli we wanted to make so between ourselves we’d come up with a business name, we had come up with a muesli recipe which had, you know, twenty three fabulous ingredients. We knew what we wanted to call it, it was the Ultimate Muesli so we just did it. But we needed the money to buy the ingredients, to buy the packages to put it in, pots, you know clear pots so you could see through it and to buy you know, a few aprons, branded aprons so we could go into shops and do tastings. It was absolutely the bare minimum to get the stuff out there and see what the reception was like.

Elliot Moss
And what was the first big break for you?

Camilla Barnard
Oh it is so difficult to pick one. I mean the ones that mean the most are you know, selling the first tub of muesli but obviously in the scheme of things its actually not a very big thing.

Elliot Moss
That’s going to put food on the table is it?

Camilla Barnard
No. And then there’s things like the first time you deliver a whole pallet of foods, you know, that’s exciting and that was to Riverford, you know many years ago now, about nine years ago.

Elliot Moss
But in terms of securing distribution with a big chain was that… when was the… was that a Waitrose?

Camilla Barnard
Yeah probably Waitrose was the biggest breakthrough and that was in 2008.

Elliot Moss
Okay and how did you do it? Because again people who are listening are going ‘well that sounds great, I am sure I would like to secure a bit of shelf space in Waitrose’ but what was the secret?

Camilla Barnard
We had learned a lot by then. It was you know, it was two years of sort of solid learning from doing it you know with very little. You know we didn’t have anything to spend so it was putting it out there and seeing how it went. Finding out all the really bizarre logistically things about you know, pallet configurations and margins and layers of margin and all the stuff that you didn’t go into the food business for. But also you know, finding out where the very best oats come from, how to you know, mix the recipe in the right order so that you have got to put the cinnamon in first or last, you know, to make it taste right. So by the time, two years in, we knew more what we were doing and we also knew we needed to change the packaging so that it was more appealing, it jumped off shelf more clearly and so that it was more robust and it was that packaging change that we went through, sort of really creating the brand actually two years after we had started it that made it appropriate for someone like Waitrose to list it and to give us a chance and yeah, that was fantastic. Really exciting.

Elliot Moss
So you have got to think about your brand, there’s the first lesson from my Business Shaper today, Camilla Barnard. There will be lots more lessons I hope and they won’t be delivered in a didactic way I promise you. Latest travel in a couple of minutes but before that, some words of wisdom from our programme partners at Mishcon De Reya for your business.

You are listening to Jazz Shapers with me, Elliot Moss every Saturday morning I get the chance to talk to someone shaping the world of business, a Business Shaper, someone who is leading the way in their industry and has decided to set their own thing up and is going for it and going for it usually with quite a lot of success. If you have missed any of the shows for the last four years, go into iTunes you can find quite a few of them in there; just put in the words Jazz and Shapers or British Airways Highlife is your destination if you are flying in the near future, you can catch some of the best programs on there and of course finally, CityAM.com is another destination where you can find some brilliant versions of this program. Camilla Barnard is my Business Shaper today, she is one of the co-founders of Rude Health; they make tasty and healthy food which most people have at breakfast but not always, set the business up in 2005, now turning over around six million pounds in Waitrose, available in Acado, I think it’s Wholefoods as well, Planning Organic and Abel & Cole if you like things delivered to your door. Now Camilla we were talking and I asked you earlier about when you started the business up and you started up with two other people who are no longer with the business as I understand it. Just give me a sense of what happens when you start a new business up and then kind of the first phase you know, you go through the honeymoon period and the reality kicks in. How do you know if you have got the right partner or not?

Camilla Barnard
Well I think it is probably a bit like getting married but… and if you have done maybe a thought through business plan you might go into it very well prepared. We went into it very much sort of serendipitously. We thought wouldn’t it be great to do this and we just did it. There was very… it was very much opportunistic and let’s just do it which has huge advantages in terms of just getting on with something and finding out whether or not it works and not wasting time but in a way it meant in our case when it came down to it that we weren’t the right group of business partners, it just didn’t work.

Elliot Moss
And when you say it didn’t work, was it just simply that there wasn’t agreement on the clarity of the direction of the business and… was it that sort of thing? Or was it a bit more fundamental?

Camilla Barnard
It…

Elliot Moss
That’s a fundamental point but there must be others?

Camilla Barnard
It is a fundamental point, I meant what you know, four people is quite a lot of cooks when you are starting a business, not necessary… we didn’t necessarily have the right combination of skill sets that was really needed at the beginning of a business. I mean for example, none of us was really financial and actually that was absolutely critical, you know, I am more more marketing, my husband is more… very much sales and sort of new food and management generally and the other two, you know, had their own skills but none of us was a finance specialist and it’s the first thing I would do, is make sure, whatever your skills are or whatever the sort of competencies you’ve got in the business you need somebody who is looking after the whole, just really simple cash flow, just how much money you’ve got available to spend because you can be growing and go bust.

Elliot Moss
So once that had happened, the split had happened and it was the two of you consolidating the business. I imagine you found a finance person or…

Camilla Barnard
Yep almost immediately.

Elliot Moss
Almost immediately. How do you then scale up? How do you go from that… the beginnings of ‘well we just bumped into it… serendipity, then we actually moved into slightly more structured’… after you got Waitrose you need to be able to deliver food on a regular basis to a specific consistency that’s safe, that’s tasty and so on and so forth. What did you do next with the whole manufacturing piece?

Camilla Barnard
Well we had already done it by then in fact. Because the first few months we were chopping in the kitchen you know, it was get the kids to bed and start shopping up apples and mixing things. So that didn’t last very long. So we had already scaled up but it came in sort of bursts where we got into Wholefoods or Fresh and Wild as it was then and we needed to produce more and we also found that we needed a distributor. They don’t buy direct from the company, they go through you know, a middle man who consolidates all the food and the distributor wanted us to have more foods so the whole thing had already begun to, to scale and we had one of the distributors who also made their own muesli, mix our muesli and then when we started looking at the supermarket well we realised we needed to go bigger again and it all unravelled naturally. We didn’t ever think ahead far enough and start panicking. It was always sort of the next stage.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me for more scare stories and good stories from my Business Shaper, Camilla Barnard, the co-founder of Rude Health. Time for some music, this is After The Door from Kurt Elling, it’s from the new album Passion World.

That was Kurt Elling with After The Door. Camilla Barnard is my Business Shaper today; she is the co-founder of Rude Health. Talking about scare stories, talking about the fact you actually managed things in a measured way and of course there are those as you said, disproportionate moments of happiness when you do see that person and they are buying your product. I mean that must fill you with great joy. The financial side of it as you mentioned, very important to get on top of cash flow as you can be making money and still go out of business. Once you had established that you could make money and that the cash flow is there, how does a business, a young business, decide where to invest?

Camilla Barnard
Gosh I think it depends what’s driving you and in our case we are very much driven by what it is we want to do. I mean this week has been a real case in point. This has developed since we started it but on Wednesday we had a talk ‘Eat Right Breakfast’ which was all about feeding children and how to improve what children eat because we were very aware that we are talking to adults only but actually if you want the whole nation to be eating well it’s got to start from… it’s got to start from when you are young because if the habit is there as a child then it is going to be natural as you are an adult. So that for us is hugely important and then yesterday we spent the day on a small farm, Biodynamics farm in Sussex. The whole company, all thirteen of us you know, afternoon of weeding, weeding docks from a field so… and that was again what we came away with from that, my colleague Tanita summed it up saying ‘that it was all about connecting the farm to the plate’ and that for all our food culture is all very much about us and we are not really aware what goes in to creating it. So in our case we are driven hugely by wanting to improve the whole food culture in the country. Nice to have a big, a big mission.

Elliot Moss
And that’s what I say because I’ve interviewed John Vincent from Leon Restaurants had a similar thing, I’ve interviewed Raymond Blanc and he was talking about obviously soil and where things come from…

Camilla Barnard
Yeah, yep, yes so important.

Elliot Moss
…and being connected. How are you doing that because apart from inculcating that set of values inside your own team and obviously…

Camilla Barnard
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
…the produce on the shelf. What else can you do?

Camilla Barnard
Well as a very small business you can’t reach that many people so what we’ve just tried to start, we’ve started doing was communicate our passion. It was through ranting which again was Nick’s thing – he would just rant about stuff, he will go off on one whether it’s about drinking you know, whole, raw, unpasteurised milk or it could be any number of things – and we took that out broader. We started… it turned out other people wanted to rant, people were ranting back at us which was great so we turned it into a sort of foody speakers corner at the Abergavenny Food Festival. So we go every September and we host the Rude Health Rants which is anyone and everyone from the world of food gets their five minutes to sort of let rip on whatever gets them going and it – just to get the word out was the first thing we did. Our Eat Right Breakfasts are another again gathering of people who are like minded which hopefully set off more action and even just trying to connect people to the farm you know and doing it one by one by one, you know, every person who comes back understanding the link between the soil, you know, the farm and the soil and the plate is one more person who understands so trying not to be overwhelmed by the huge, enormous impossible nature of the task and just picking it off bit by bit and as we get bigger hopefully we can do more.

Elliot Moss
Well that’s a pretty laudable vision if ever there was one. Final chat with Camilla coming up plus a track from Nina Simone, that’s after the latest traffic and travel here on Jazz FM.

The iconic Nina Simone with Feeling Good. Camilla Barnard is my Business Shaper just for a few more minutes; she is the co-founder of Rude Health – their food is intended to make you feel good and make you feel brilliant in fact and as I said earlier on I like their stuff and I eat a fair amount of the granola. Not too much of course because if you eat too much like anything, it doesn’t agree with me. The future for you and your business – you talked about one by one, person by person – I love the idea of the Rude Health Rants which as you said is going to be featuring at the Abergavenny Food Festival again this year. What do you want to achieve in the next few years apart from survival and you know, carrying on enjoying yourself?

Camilla Barnard
Yeah apart from survival and growth we want to – what I was saying before – we really want to improve people’s enjoyment of good food. I think at the moment the thing that strikes me is one of the major, some of the major food trends are very much about restriction, cutting things out, denial and things you can’t eat and that just strikes me as a fundamentally flawed relationship with food. There is no much you need to do in life. You’ve got to eat, you’ve got to drink and you’ve got to sleep. You better have a good relationship with all of those to have a great basis for life and I really want to bring that back.

Elliot Moss
And you talked about starting early with children, obviously there’s moves now for people you know, pushing for kids to eat cooked meals in schools, better quality, the ingredients are fresh again, the school food plan which again Leon Restaurants were involved in…

Camilla Barnard
Yes. Yes.

Elliot Moss
…and pushing with the Government. Are you involved in, are you brought in to those conversations with the Government or is that the next step do you think?

Camilla Barnard
We are probably not the right people to talk to Government because I think, it’s so slow, it’s so slow and I think we would go mad. I think the entrepreneurial nature doesn’t fit very well with the Government nature but we are talking to people like School Food Matters who we were with on Wednesday and there is a whole lot of other people doing similar things. The Edible Gardens Project, there is just an enormous amount going on which is hugely inspiring and we want to work out what we can do to be involved with that, whether its talking to the children or going through the adults because fundamentally if the mothers are comfortable with, are happy with what they are eating and they are feeling good it is going to be a lot easier for them to nourish their children.

Elliot Moss
And working with your husband, obviously it works? You are smiling. You don’t look too stressed on that front, again stress I use in a loose word, loose way. The kids, what do the kids think of mum and dad working together? They think it is normal I guess?

Camilla Barnard
They don’t know anything else I don’t think. They… I have no idea. This is their normal.

Elliot Moss
This is their normal. Good. Well they should keep it normal. It’s been fantastic having you as a guest and well done on creating such a lovely business.

Camilla Barnard
Thank you.

Elliot Moss
And please keep going because it is good to have proper food connected to the soil as you said and to the farms and everything else. What’s your choice of music just before I let you go, what have you chosen and why have you chosen it?

Camilla Barnard
I’ve chosen King Bee by Slim Harpo which I was introduced to by my father, I think I like it for the same reasons that he does, it’s fantastically spare, there is nothing in there that doesn’t need to be in there but it is really powerful and just… it also makes me laugh. I love it.

Elliot Moss
Here it is just for you.

That was King Bee from Slim Harpo, the song choice of my Business Shaper today, Camilla Barnard. She saw an opportunity and she went and she delivered on it. She has continued to promote the importance of proper tasty, healthy ingredients in all of the Rude Health recipes and she is focussed on ensuring that kids eat healthily going forward. All great stuff. Do join me again, same time, same place, that’s next Saturday, 9.00am sharp for another appointment with me, Elliot Moss on Jazz Shapers. In the meantime though, stay with us on Jazz FM because coming up next it’s Nigel Williams.

Co-Founder & Marketing Director of Rude Health

As part of her degree, Camilla spent a year in Fukuoka, Japan. Here she developed an understanding of the language and a thoroughly indecent passion for Japanese food.  Upon graduating Camilla headed back east to indulge in another eight months of sushi eating and learning.  Back in London, Camilla continued her love affair with the orient and kick-started her career in Anglo-Japanese fashion trading. Two years later, she was lured into the world of Derivatives Risk Management. Immersed in this alien world for four years, Camilla retained her interest by writing about the lunch she was eating for an online magazine.

In 2002, Camilla met her future husband and business partner, Nick Barnard, then a publisher and still an aerobatic stunt pilot. So strong was their mutual belief in the need to revolutionise the nation’s eating habits that Camilla and Nick, along with two neighbours, spent many a long evening creating their ultimate, healthy breakfast cereal.  Rude Health was founded in 2005, the same year that Camilla and Nick moved house, got married and started a family. Thankfully, their business blossomed, enabling Camilla and Nick to decamp from their cramped kitchen to a local office. A few years and moves later, Rude Health now makes lots of breakfast cereals and some snacks and drinks. The Rude Health team now counts 13 with Camilla leading the marketing.  What hasn’t changed is what Rude Health believes in, which is: Eat Right, Stay Brilliant.

Follow Camilla on Twitter @rudehealth

Listen live at 9am Saturday.

“It was probably a slightly ‘baby-brain’ induced idea”

“…rather than spending a fortune on working out the perfect way to do everything, we just did it. We just bought the ingredients.”

“Chopping apples after a while, I can tell you…your wrists go unless you are a hard core knife expert.”

“You can spend a lot of time thinking: is anyone listening? Are we mad?”

“Four people is quite a lot of cooks when you are starting a business. We didn’t necessarily have the right combination of skill sets.”

“We are driven hugely by wanting to improve the whole food culture in the country.”

“It turned out other people wanted to rant, people were ranting back at us, which was great”

“Some of the major food trends are about restriction, cutting things out, denial…and that just strikes me as a fundamentally flawed relationship with food.”

“We are probably not the right people to talk to Government. It’s so slow, and I think we would go mad.”

“Fundamentally, if the mothers are comfortable with what they are eating, and they are feeling good, it is going to be a lot easier for them to nourish their children.”