Inspirational tale of success in a box - 14th July 2017

The next time you see Graze boxes in your local supermarket, it’s worth considering the incredible story behind the tasty snack’s success.

Graze was set up in 2008 as an internet-based business that posted healthy snacks in cardboard boxes small enough to fit through letter boxes.

One year later, Anthony Fletcher, an Oxford University graduate who was working for a drinks company, was so impressed by the product he drove across London to ask for a job.

The Graze team made him head of marketing and the rest, as they say, is snack food history.

Anthony is now chief executive of the business, which enjoys annual sales of more than £70m and has successfully expanded from the UK to the US.

“Lots of founders and chief executives tell stories about having the right vision from the start, but it wasn’t the case at Graze,” he told the BBC.

One thing that Graze initially got wrong was to try to sell slices of fresh fruit, but Anthony says it had to be axed because it wasn’t arriving with the customer in good enough condition. After selling direct to customers via a subscription service for its first six years, Anthony overhauled its business model in 2014 as customers could start to make one-off purchases. An even bigger move that year was the jump into wholesale, with Graze products becoming available at UK retailers.

The next big move was expansion into the US in 2015. Anthony says Graze knew it had to move fast to get to the market before its rivals, so rather than try its luck in one state, it decided to launch in all 50 at the same time.

Thankfully this approach worked, and while it initially started selling its standard UK range, items that US customers disliked such as mango chutney were swiftly dropped and more US-specific products introduced.

Anthony admits he finds it hard to balance being a boss of a company with 500 employees with being a father-of-two. Part of that process is taking a step back.

He says: “In the early days I was really involved in the decisions, but as the business has grown, I have become focused on not solving all the problems, but still being curious about the organisation and making it better.”

Here at SW&As we love working with start-ups and playing a role in their business journey. For a confidential, no obligation chat to find out how we can help your business grow and develop, call us on 01905 622202.

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