HomePride - Having been made redundant in 2000 by ailing telecoms company NTL, I decided to fulfil a lifelong ambition and use my experience of sales and marketing to set up my own company. I trusted my gut and risked my life savings! Lauren, my daughter had just been born, a growing family, no job...no pressure then!
My flagship product, Oven Pride, 'The one with bag' quickly became a housewives favourite, selling initially through Kleeneze and QVC and then through major retailers.
After enquiries from consumers regarding availability in store, I tackled retail giant Tesco with the view of them stocking my products. The response was always ‘thanks but no thanks’ so in a bizarre last ditched attempt to keep the buyers interest I said "Let me send some complimentary product to your mother, your aunt, your sister…." Amazingly he agreed, I think just to get me off the phone! Two weeks later I was in Tesco head office agreeing a deal to supply his stores, his Mum was so impressed with the sample I sent, she insisted he give me a shot.
Another 'gut feel' decision which paid off for me was to launch a controversial television advertising campaign for OvenPride. Producing the advert on a minuscule budget with the strap line ‘OvenPride - so easy, a man can do it!’.
The ad generated almost a 1000 complaints to the advertising standards authority and sparked a national newspaper debate over claims of ‘male sexism’. The resulting media exposure created a huge increase in sales for OvenPride. At one point consumer demand for OvenPride was so strong Tesco stocked the product in extra stores. OvenPride soon became the fastest selling product in its category, outselling Mr Muscle.
In December 2009 I sold the company to a major PLC having built up substantial annual profits not usually seen in the retail supply industry.