The latest Market Gravity podcast is all about the start-up mentality. How do you go from idea to reality? What’s the process behind launching a product, and what do you learn along the way?

Ben and I interviewed Noah Geeves from LIC Frozen Cocktails and Edward Tweddle from Flint Watches to hear how they started their respective companies. Their stories are similar: ideas sparked by recognising a need for something that they didn’t feel existed. (Listen to the full interview on the podcast here

 

LIC Frozen Cocktails was born from a complaint by Noah’s co-founder’s Mum. She was wondering why she couldn’t buy a frozen cocktail whilst on the beach. On returning home, Harry told Noah (both have backgrounds in Chemical & Electrical engineering) and they started from there. Ed’s company Flint Watches was sparked by a vintage Fossil watch found in a charity shop, which got him thinking about ways to bring new materials into the watch market.

How on earth do you go from an idea in your head, to a real product on the shelves of Sainsbury’s or being sold online I hear you ask. Each founder had a slightly different approach, but both reinforce the idea of continuously learning at every stage.

 

“We have a bit of a process around it…we’ll say ‘what is the end goal’? And we will sequentially work back one step at a time…essentially you break it down and break it down into tiny problems and then just knock them out the park one at a time – that’s the theory anyway” says Noah with an easy confidence.

 

Ed’s process was more organic – “when we release a product now it’s different to how it first happened” he said.  “The first product was a learning curve, and it took a lot longer than we expected to bring that to market. We learnt everything we needed to know in order to release products in future…and I don’t think we would have learned that without going through that process.”

In order to learn, Flint Watches tested with customer focus groups to understand what they wanted from a premium watch brand. LIC Frozen Cocktails tested with family and friends before heading separately to two events determined to sell all the stock they had – with the belief that if they managed to sell it, they had a good product.

 

Ed’s determination was similar, driven by a passion for watches and wanting to create something that incorporated his passion for art and design. “There wasn’t anything out there that was really an artistic product” he says. However, passion alone wasn’t enough – it sounds as though getting the product out there was difficult at first: there were issues with their supply chain and their grass-roots, low budget approach led to complications.

“In order to produce a product and set up a company from a low budget, you need to take time, and it’s going to take you building relationships” says Ed.

Noah agrees wholeheartedly, “if suppliers don’t feel like stakeholders [in the business] they won’t work for you and they won’t invest.” Both founders impress strongly that neither company would be where they are today without the difficulties and everything they learned along the way.

Both founders have a can-do attitude – something that seems to be a pre-requisite if you’re starting your own company. We asked them their final piece of advice for fellow start-ups:

 

Noah: “Throw yourself in, reach out to people and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You don’t need to be solving the biggest problem in the world but, so long as you’re providing a better solution to someone’s problem, there will be someone who will want it. The next job is to get it in front of them!”

 

Edward: “Don’t replicate the winning components of all your competitors, as it will weaken your brand. Build a clear identity around your products, without overcomplicating your messaging.”

Find Flint Watches here or on social @flintwatches (Twitter and Instagram)

 

Find LIC Frozen Cocktails here or @havealic (Twitter and Instagram)