Elixir Freshly Frozen: A refreshing approach to small business growth
Meet female business founders Lauren and Kate, who started Elixir Freshly Frozen from their shared passion of juicing. Their business has seen incredible success in a short span of time, building a loyal customer base locally in the Isle of Wight and beyond. We caught up with them to hear about what our award means to them as a business, life as ‘mum-tepreneurs’ and growing their brand beyond its local roots.
Q: Hi Lauren and Kate. So, tell us, where did the idea for Elixir Freshly Frozen come from?
Kate: I was pregnant with my fourth child and really exhausted. I knew Lauren had four small children, and she always exuded so much energy! I had to know how she did it – and that's when she said to me: ‘you've got to try juicing!’. I bought myself my first juicer at that point and became hooked.
Lauren: I juice religiously. And I honestly believe that that's what gives me the energy!
Not long after we met, when the kids were school age and I had more time on my hands, I thought ‘why don’t we turn our passion into a business?’. At this point we were bringing juices on school runs for parents, teachers – everyone in the community wanted our juice!
Q: It must have been a real milestone to be at Isle of Wight festival – as it’s such an iconic local event? (In 2022 we interviewed Electro Love, another business from the island).
Lauren: It really is such an iconic festival, we’re so thankful it’s on our doorstep. As a very small business we never thought that it would be within our reach – it’s like a dream really, isn’t it?
Q: Aside from the festival, how has the Barclaycard Business Boost Award helped Elixir Freshly Frozen?
Lauren: We’ve put some of the bursary towards getting our brand trademarked, which is so exciting! That’s something that’s always been kept on the back burner as we haven’t had the money for it.
Kate: We’re also looking at putting it towards another level of food safety accreditation, which will put us in a different league to approach big supermarkets. Having that extra cash behind us at this stage in our journey just opens so many doors.
Lauren: It’s not just about the money! Through our association with Barclaycard, so many other opportunities have come about – for example opening our Business Bank account via Barclays. It’s quite difficult to get banking as a start-up.
Q: That’s great to hear! Was there anything else that’s come out of us working together?
Kate: Let’s not forget the radio interview that came out of the Isle of Wight! After the festival, we were interviewed on the morning show of our local radio station. That kind of exposure goes such a long way for a business like ours.
Lauren: It’s been a massive confidence boost. To be considered and recognised, it’s amazing.
Q: What lessons did you take away from trading at the Isle of Wight?
Kate: Something we’d focus on next time is increasing the spend per customer. We did have people asking if we sold food so there’s definitely an opportunity there to expand our product range.
Lauren: When we got there, we realised we were one of the only stands who didn’t have a visible flag. Next time we’d make more of an effort to signpost people to us.
Q: Cash flow can be notoriously difficult to manage in a small business. What have you noticed about yours?
Kate: That is the biggest thing with small businesses, the cash flow. Especially when you’re trying to do something different. It’s the cost behind it. For example, we’d love to improve our website, but cashflow has been a huge blocker. Every day-to-day decision we make is determined by our bank balance.
Lauren: In terms of money coming in, we’ve noticed that if we are not continuously posting on our social media, then our online orders drop. There seems to be that correlation between social media and the website. Any form of sale also leads to a spike in sales.
Q: What role has community played in the success of Elixir Freshly Frozen?
Lauren: Oh, it’s been instrumental to us. We prefer to use local ingredients – not only for freshness and taste but to promote the local economy too.
Kate: So many founders have taken time out of their busy schedules to offer advice and encouragement, it’s quite humbling. Even at the Isle of Wight Festival, the other vendors were more than happy to share their tips and tricks, which we were so grateful for.
Lauren: We’ve spent years building up this network of people that we can count on to help with busy periods and to ask questions. My sister and both of our partners even helped us out at the festival. We’ve been so blown away by how our friends and their friends have offered to help.
Q: Sounds like community is at the heart of Elixir Freshly Frozen. How do you plan to protect your local roots as you grow?
Lauren: We’re already thinking about employing people from the local community. We love that we can give people opportunities. We have perfected our recipes, so we can train people up. It will allow Kate and I to be hands on with the business!
Kate: We’re a double act! We are the brand, but we’re also two mums who just want to help people.
Q: What’s an investment you’ve made in your business that’s really paid off?
Kate: Our brand. Because we always had these huge visions, we knew we wouldn’t be happy with just a bottle with a logo on. The Elixir brand you see today is the result of two years of hard work. It’s about building that momentum and recognition.
Lauren: We’ve definitely gone the long way round on this front – but we’ve really reaped the rewards in the last couple of months. We’ve always wanted our branding and product to be able to compete with the big boys.
Q: Finally, what advice do you have for other small business founders?
Kate: Just go for it. Yeah. Even though there’s a critic in my head that’s like ‘you can’t do that radio interview’ – I know it's such a big opportunity that you've just got to suck it up and do it. So just, just believe in yourselves, take opportunities, and go for it.