Emma Welsh and Tom Griffith’s friendship extends well back into their childhood, which meant the pair went into business knowing the other had their own set of attributes and weaknesses, but confident their shared respect, trust and good ideas would see them through any tough times.
An interest in health and nutrition meant they left the corporate world behind and started Emma & Tom’s juices, whose range has expanded over the past six years to feature eight juice and five water flavours, as well as four snack bars.
And their proudest achievement? Emma & Tom’s is now a viable Australian business.
Griffith talks to Dynamic Business about learning important lessons, staying ahead of the competition and taking necessary risks.
Q. What was the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn while setting up Emma and Tom’s?
We’ve found that we’ve always been better at doing things ourselves, as opposed to relying upon others to do things for us.
We’ve also learned that things take a lot longer to build than you’d expect – setting up a business is a marathon, not a sprint.
Q. What’s one thing you think all aspiring entrepreneurs or small business owners should know before setting out on this path?
Be very sure that you want to proceed as it’s a one-way street and you really need to have the stomach for it.
Q. What do you believe makes the foundation of a strong & successful business?
As with anything, we believe it takes commitment. You need to always be able to stick to your game plan and see it out.
Q. Are there any other high-profile business people you look up to? Why?
My father ran two businesses with around 200 employees back in the day when it wasn’t particularly fashionable to start your own business, and he did this with minimal fuss and carry on. Now that Emma and I are running a business with about 10 percent of the staff numbers my Dad employed, I definitely feel a sense of admiration towards him.
Q. What advice do you have for staying one step ahead of the competition?
You’ve definitely got to be a little bit adventurous. We’ve been the first to use square bottles, and ingredients like spirulina, chia and now stevia, which are all things I think our customers appreciate
Q. How important is it for an entrepreneur to be willing to take risks? Can you be successful without doing this?
Emma and I did all we thought we could to minimise risk to ourselves prior to launching and still made about 1,000 mistakes.
It’s a bit like asking a question without knowing the answer! We would say that the unknown risks are risky enough, so there’s really no need to look risk in the eye and proceed anyway.
You can read more of Emma & Tom’s story in the mobile version of Nokia’s online book, In Hindsight.