Meet Annie Morris, co-founder of artisan granola brand Spoon Cereals. Here she talks about what it’s like to start your own company (including a trip to Dragon’s Den), the importance of breakfast and not necessarily being a morning person…
(This article was originally published in March 2016)
What do you like to do first thing?
Running a start-up business, no morning is ever the same. I like to vary my routine from week to week, some days I’ll be up at the crack of dawn to squeeze in a morning run or yoga class. I believe in listening to your body and mine is not the kind to sustain this early rise each morning, so on other days I’ll enjoy the lie in! After showering and dressing, breakfast is my main priority, which I’ll often enjoy whilst listening to a podcast or the BBC news. Mornings at my boyfriend’s house will be spent enjoying breakfast together.
Where did the inspiration for Spoon Cereals come from?
I realised there was never anything decent to pick up on my way to work so I would take my own breakfast in with me and have it at my desk. Essentially, I saw a gap for a really high quality bowl of cereal you could takeaway.
How did you get started?
About this time, my sister’s boyfriend, Johnny, also moved back from Amsterdam and was looking for something new to get involved in. It only took a couple of conversations and we decided to go for it!
And how did you come up with your cereal recipes?
We spent days cooking up loads of different recipes – one of which was given to us by a good friend of mine who is a Swedish ski instructor! We use natural sweeteners and all natural, wholesome ingredients. We started travelling around and selling our fresh cereal pots with fresh yoghurt and fruit compote, which went down really well. We went in-house at city banks and did a pop-up at Old Street station, which is how we ended up on Dragon’s Den.
What was being in the Dragon’s Den like?
That was just fantastic for us because we were at such an early stage. We were pretty terrified but thankfully they were very kind to us in the Den. We wanted to pitch for them to help us with the wholesale route and we earned the backing of Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones, which was great!
And what stage are you at with Spoon now?
In the last 12 months or so we have re-launched two of our most popular granola flavours (Peanut + Apple and Cinnamon + Pecan), which included an update of our pack design to a recyclable pack, and we’ve focused on expanding production.
We even held a four-day breakfast festival last summer to celebrate the launch where we collaborated with like-minded brands within the creative industries, including food, fashion, health, fitness and lifestyle. And we’re just generally really happy to be in the position where we are supplying top retailers across the UK, giving more people the chance to try our granolas for the first time.
What was your favourite breakfast as a child?
I remember my Dad always used to make pancakes for us as kids most mornings before work. I always had lemon and sugar. I love this memory. Breakfast cereal was a staple in our household too! I quite often ate it dry straight from the pack at all times of the day.
Do you think of yourself as ‘morning person?’
This may sound like a cliché but without breakfast each morning, I am not the friendliest of people! For me, a healthy sustaining breakfast is so vital each morning. I go to bed thinking about what I will have when I wake up, which makes the sound of the alarm going off first thing that little more bearable.
What I love and what amazes me most about morning times is the rush of energy and the mood lifting benefits your body receives from such simple ingredients as grains, fresh fruit, yoghurt and/or milk – forming the basis of a delicious morning breakfast bowl.
You can buy Spoon Cereal online and in selected stories nationwide. To find out more, visit www.spooncereals.co.uk