By way of an introduction, I’m Pippa, the Founder of Pip&Nut, a food brand that makes a tasty range of nut butters, and now the proud dweller of the Escape the City Shed.
Handing in my notice
I’m sure you can imagine if you told your boss that you’re quitting your job to move into a shed and launch a start-up nut butter company it would result in a few raised eyebrows to say the least. And indeed it did. When I announced this new venture to my work colleagues the general reaction was a confused mix of congratulating me in my new endeavour and checking that I wasn’t; a) about to become homeless, or b) completely mad!
But, like a lot of start-ups, I’d been battling between maintaining a day job to pay the rent whilst also being acutely aware of the need to leave said day job to give my business enough attention to get it off the ground. It’s always difficult to judge the right time to hand in your notice and go full-throttle at your business. Granted, a lot of work can be done around your day job, at weekends and evenings, but I’d got to the point where things had started to snowball and I was finding it harder and harder to squeeze things in.
From conceiving the idea it has taken me just over a year to get to where I am now. Where all the elements from product development, manufacturing, fundraising, branding (and the rest!) are coming together and I’m now able to start looking towards a launch in the autumn. But there are still a hundred and one things to do and the need to go full time was getting more and more urgent. So for me the Esc the City competition couldn’t have come at a better time.
Getting the phone call
Having said that, when I applied I don’t think I’d ever expected to actually get through to the next round, let alone win! Looking at the competition was tough – there were some awesome businesses in the running that, had I not been competing against, I’d have happily cast my vote for them to win. As for the Facebook competition itself, well let’s just say I’m sure my friends, family, Twitter followers, Facebook friends and general supporters were just as relieved as I was when the voting came to end purely so that I would stop hassling them to vote for me (again, thank you to everyone who voted – I am eternally grateful!).
When I picked up the call from the Dom, one of the co-founders of Esc the City, saying that I’d won the competition it resulted in some fairly high-pitched squealing down the phone (sorry Dom!) and represented another step in the right direction for Pip&Nut. It’s a perfect opportunity to get my head down and focus 100% on the business. Plus no longer having the security blanket of a pay cheque coming in at the end of each month adds that extra bit of pressure to put some fire behind my business!
Thanks to the stellar DIY efforts of the Esc team I moved into the finished shed a few weeks ago. I’ll now be sharing with you, via this blog and on Twitter, the ups and downs of my start-up journey whilst giving you a little inside look into life in the shed and the Escape the City office. Watch this space for future updates coming soon.
POST EDITED BY CELIA
(check out Celia’s blog “Dared, Determined, Done!” about making big career and life changes here)