“Bristol Pound is for independents”, said Membership Manager Ian Madle at our latest business breakfast forum. It’s simple – by encouraging people to use Bristol Pounds to pay our member businesses for goods and services, we aim to bolster and strengthen those creative independents so they in turn can spend Bristol Pounds locally within their supply chains.
Running an independent business is a lot of work and there’s no one way to do it. In the first edition of our new interview series, Mike from disruptive nut butter company Nutcessity shares his business story so far.
** Mike is running a special offer for Bristol Pound members – get 20% off any purchase at his market stall in November or December using paper Bristol Pounds or Text2Pay. Check his markets page for locations. **
Mike, what’s your business?
I make and sell nut butters! I got itchy feet after finding that I much preferred to make my own to what was sold in the shops due to my preferences, my business degree and my peanut allergy.
What’s your connection to Bristol?
I started making my nut butters in Bristol but now make them in my parents’ converted back room in the Midlands. I moved here in 2015 after taking a door-to-door sales role with Abel & Cole.
What do you love about Bristol?
I miss Bristol when I’m away – there’s a fluidity about the city and its components: the masses of graffiti, its eco/green credentials and the people. A generic Bristolian seems happy in their own skin, independently-minded, loves local and loves people.
What do you love about your job?
Making something that cheers someone up, in whatever way, gives me a sense of satisfaction that I’ve previously never experienced. I love food and being around food so that clearly helps!
How did you start Nutcessity?
With a sense of “eeeeek!” and “why on earth not!?” It’s been a gradual process getting to the stage I’m at now – which has mainly been down to meeting and speaking to the relevant people along the way.
How do you keep it going?
I’m naturally passionate about what I do so I don’t need any motivation, just a sense of direction. I’m now part of the Natwest Boost Accelerator programme having gone full-time with Nutcessity in October. This has given me a useful sense of perspective.
What’s your favourite thing about running an independent business?
Meeting the locals, and not having to answer to anyone! I can do things my way, in keeping with what my customers want.
What are the challenges?
I’m now planning on expanding production and building a small team, whilst keeping things open, simple and honest. I’ve never done this before so I think I’ll need to be taking a few small leaps of faith.
What made you sign up to accept Bristol Pounds? What do you like about the scheme?
I used to work on a checkout at Better Food and I honestly felt a little more connected to the customer if they handed me a £B note – it’s a kind of “we’re in this together” type vibe. Bristol is a unique city that seems to do things very much her own way – and Bristol Pound perfectly fits into this mould.
Where do you spend your Bristol Pounds?
At Better Food, on my energy bills, and when I do printing for flyers/business cards etc.
What are your five favourite places/shops/restaurants/etc in Bristol and why?
This is a fun one!
Source Food Hall [£B] – for some reason I feel like I’m in a different world in there; great coffee and all you need on a weekend.
Gingerbeard’s Preserves [£B] – One of the hardest working people in the city; I don’t think I will ever get tired of his mango chutney!
Grow Bristol [£B] – I did a tour here with Dermot – the founder – and loved every minute. Inspirational, inventive and intriguing – all in good ways.
Souk Kitchen – the staff are lovely and they always let me use the loo when I’m on the Whiteladies Road Market! Thanks guys…
Wild Oats [£B] – the health food shop with probably the best advice, selection and aura.
If you’re a £B business and would like to be interviewed for this feature OR you’re a customer and would like to nominate a £B business for this feature, please get in touch!