After delving into what consumers really want, Angus Murray found the answer, Foxy’s Thoughtful Ice Cream – small batch ice cream with probiotics and less sugar! Who can say no to that?
What’s your story?
We’ve been making healthy ice creams for 5 years. Ice cream is not supposed to be healthy, it’s a reward, a treat, something sweet at the end of the day or a bribe to get the kids’ rooms tidy. We had an opportunity to pivot when two large customers went out of business owing us a lot of money. We did a deep dive into what consumers really wanted and found our slice of that answer – rich indulgence, with a health benefit. The result is Foxy’s Thoughtful Ice Cream – small batch ice cream with probiotics and less sugar.
In 2017 we will be available in 6 counties, 4 of which are in Asia.
What excites you most about your industry?
It’s highly competitive and there are some very big players who are conscious of smaller companies like mine taking shelf space from their established brands. On the store shelf, Foxy’s Thoughtful Ice Cream runs up against them and big budget advertising campaigns or, perhaps more challenging, price cuts on premium products. We have to be very creative, careful and aggressive with the slim margins we make, and be strong on price. We make a premium product and command a premium price. I have seen larger players like Unilever and Nestle get into price wars with premium products where the result is that they now only sell when on discount. Ice cream is not a commodity item.
What’s your connection to Asia?
We had the opportunity 3 years ago to attend an expo in China with a US Government trade marketing organisation. We hadn’t planned on exporting, but we were blown away by the reception of Foxy’s Thoughtful Ice Cream and immediately allocated funds to have a small office in Hong Kong and invest in the region. We have exhibited many times around Asia and in 2017 will enjoy distribution in South Korea, the Philippines, Hong Kong and China. We find the level of nutritional intelligence is often greater than our home market of the US and the message of probiotics and less sugar resonates well with Asian consumers.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong to me is the easiest location for our pan Asian ambitions. It’s a major hub for air transport. I am based in the UK, but spend at least 120 days a year in the US and Asia. The trade practices are up to date and relevant to today’s market and the resource bank is considerable. I have a very fond place in my heart for Shanghai, China, Seoul and South Korea. The Koreans are incredibly well informed with nutrition and Foxy’s Thoughtful Ice Cream really needs to be on point to succeed there.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“It’s not about you, it’s about the consumer.” This comes from a scene in a very average comedy film called Joe Dirt, but is often forgotten. Just because I like something, doesn’t mean the target audience will.
Who inspires you?
My wife, her ability to assist not only in the generation of my product, but to help manage me during times of extreme stress, run a successful pediatric practice and raise our daughter inspires me every day.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
That Trump now holds nuclear codes.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I’d avoid or ignore the pressures of feeling rushed. Frequently customers, situations and other factors have put severe pressure on timelines for production or action. Bad decisions are made when timelines are unachievable. There is nothing that is worth sacrificing attention or quality, for the sake of negotiating a time line.
How do you unwind?
My daughter is 4, so we play with barbies and pretend to cook horrific dishes on her play oven. Her creative and uncluttered mind helps me reset mine.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I have a soft spot for Kuala Lumpur – it was the first major Asian city I visited back in 1998, and we’ve had a love, love relationship since then. I’ve spent days wandering around the markets, the river bank, the city often getting lost and relying on having to overcome a language barrier to get frantic directions from locals.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Porter’s, Competitive Strategy. So, you have an idea? Mum thinks it’s great? Cut down on the hubris and speed up the analysis with Porter’s 5 forces. In my mind, you cannot be an entrepreneur in any industry or location without a fundamental understanding of these principles.
Shameless plug for your business:
Foxy’s Thoughtful Ice Cream – the only super premium ice cream fortified with thoughtfully sourced, all natural ingredients and probiotics.
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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