On International Women’s Day, we caught up with Pip Murray, the founder of Pip & Nut, on how running a marathon inspired her to start her own global business
Image: Pippa Murray)
Pip Murray was just 23 when she quit her job in theater to pursue her dream of starting her own business.
She’d just completed the Paris marathon which she says was the source of her inspiration.
“I was constantly searching for foods that would help sustain me during training sessions,” Pip told The Mirror.
“Peanut butter was my go to, however, it always bothered me that almost every peanut butter I picked up in the supermarket contained palm oil, and those without were so bland.
“Its popularity was growing due to a massive trend for protein, but it was lacking inspiration, especially for younger consumers like me. So I decided to tackle the task myself,” she said.
“And that’s when Pip & Nut was born.”
Pip began her project in her kitchen in north London.
“I bought a blender and started testing products from the kitchen table of my North London flat,” she said.
“I started making my own natural, palm-oil free nut butters.
“In my evenings I’d make my products, and at the weekends I’d try and sell them. Initially, I would make 200 jars at a time.
“I then took these early recipes to Maltby Street Market to test them with the public.
“Each week I’d sell out of everything.
“I had this vision to scale the brand up. My ambition was to become the number one natural nut butter brand and so I needed funding.
“To start with, I used a mixture of start-up loans, a small loan from my family and my own income from my job,” she said.
“I then spent a year navigating the world of food manufacturing and working out how to create my kitchen table products in a larger facility.
“Once I’d honed the recipe and evolved the branding, I began raising some investment to get Pip & Nut into production.
“I was fairly young at the time and I didn’t have much in the way of savings, so I decided to raise some investment through a crowdfund in 2014.
“I raised £120,000 from just over 70 investors in nine days using Crowdcube!”
Just four months later, in January 2015, Pip launched Pip & Nut at Selfridges.
“Selfridges food hall is such an iconic place and seeing my products on their shelves is a moment I’ll never forget.”
The brand quickly picked up traction and within months, it was being stocked in Ocado, Holland and Barrett and Sainsburys.
Alamy Stock Photo)
“The supermarket really expanded our ability to reach more people.”
After that, Pip & Nut continued to go from strength to strength winning listings with Tesco, Asda and Morrisons.
“More recently in October 2019, we stepped outside the category for the first time and launched into the snacking world with our delicious nut butter cups.”
Today, Pip runs a team of 25 people who look after marketing, sales, operations and product.
They’ve managed to raise £3.4million from angel investors to keep their expansion going. Last year the businesses sold more than £18million worth of products.
“We work with warehousing partners to deliver our products to stores, we don’t own our own warehousing.
“Right now, you can find Pip & Nut in over 6,000 stores around the UK and Ireland.
“But we have some big ambitions over the next three years as we’re set to double the business in size.”
Speaking on her highlights, she recalls a moment during last year’s Australian Open.
“Last year I had a real pinch me moment when I saw Emma Radacanu saying that she takes Pip & Nut on tour with her.
“I’d just watched her win at the Australian open so this was a huge moment for our brand.
“What we’ve achieved as a team is way beyond any imaginations I had for the business when I started it.
“I find it so motivating to know that as a business we’re not only scaling up but doing so in a way that’s reducing our impact on the planet and making people’s lives better.
“It’s incredibly rewarding and I’m forever grateful for the fact I get to do this every day for a living.”