SME Magazine catches up with Amanda Cook, MD of I Love Snacks
Amanda, can you start by telling us about your company. What does it do?
We provide a range of naturally healthy, great tasting snacks packed full of goodness. We believe healthy snacks don’t need to be complicated. We know everyone loves olives, nuts, fruit and chocolate; they’ve been enjoyed for years and will be enjoyed for years to come. So we’ve sourced the finest quality, tasty produce and created a contemporary brand for today’s savvy consumers who want to know what they put in their mouth, where their food comes from, and who is behind the products and brands they love.
What previous experience do you have in business?
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and looked for opportunities in the things I enjoy in life – for example in my early twenties while travelling in Australia, I came across some beautiful salvaged wood furniture which I loved so much, I set up my own business to sell overseas. It was a great experience and it was through that business that I gained a lot of experience in importing and exporting. I’m a bit of a foodie so I Love Snacks was a great choice as a business for me and it has certainly helped having the experience of dealing with companies overseas from my previous business.
What were the main challenges in the early days?
Being a one-woman band, in the early days there is so much to do; you wear many hats so you have to have perseverance and determination. You also have to have lots of patience, getting products on shelves takes time from initial discussions with prospective customers.
How do you see the company growing over the next five or so years?
We have ambitious plans for the company and we’re taking controlled steps to enable us to reach those goals. While having growth plans though I recognise it’s important to try and keep the focus on what’s important today.
If a young entrepreneur came to you asking for advice on setting up a business, what would you say?
I would say just get on with it. You will learn as you go along; don’t be afraid of making mistakes, but learn from them. Work hard, focus and be flexible. From a practical point of view, I would also say get to know your market, customer and competition inside out.
If you had to sum up your approach to business in three words, what would they be?
Love your job! (It carries you through the hard times and makes it much more enjoyable if you do)