Entrepreneur Life – Interview With The Founders Of Squirrel Sisters
Sundried is an independent UK business that was founded by entrepreneur Daniel Puddick. We encourage the growth of small businesses and want to empower consumers to choose ethical companies rather than defaulting to multi-national corporations and faceless conglomerates.
We spoke to sisters Gracie and Sophie Tyrrell, founders of popular health food brand Squirrel Sisters, about developing and growing a thriving female-only business with no investment.
In a nutshell, what is the story of Squirrel Sisters? What motivated you to develop the idea?
We are Gracie & Sophie Tyrrell founder of Squirrel Sisters (and we are actually sisters). Squirrel Sisters is a health and wellness company with range of award-winning healthy snacks that are available across the nation in Waitrose, Morrisons, Ocado, Selfridges, Whole Foods, Planet Organic, BP M&S forecourts and WHSmith.
Health, wellness, food and how it makes us feel has always been a passion of ours so we started Squirrel Sisters as a blog in 2014. Our blog gained a large following quickly; People connected with our mission and the fact that they are two normal girls with a busy lifestyle that want to enjoy life while feeling great.
With a growing following we saw an opportunity to turn our blog into a business so after much planning and preparation we launched our snack bars in November 2015, which we already had the recipes for (Gracie used to make them for Sophie due to her gluten intolerance).
We have had no investment to date and are an all-female team and big fans of female empowerment. Not only are we entrepreneurs but we are also authors, having recently published our cookbook, Naturally Delicious Snacks & Treats, which was just named the top 9 best healthy cookbooks by The Independent.
Squirrel Sisters products are for people that are hungry for easy, energising, positive choices. Choices that feel good to make. Choices you don’t need to think twice about.
We are on a mission to help you your TREAT YOUR HEALTH... because we believe healthy doesn't have to be tasteless or restrictive. It can be indulgent and delicious!
What was the biggest challenge you faced when setting up this business?
The biggest challenge we’ve faced is hiring; it’s really hard to find people that are as passionate as you are about your own business. We’ve made a few mistakes with hiring but it’s all a learning experience.
How do you manage a healthy work-life balance?
Balance is so important… it’s so easy to burn out these days so we do take it seriously, especially because we are a health and wellness company. We eat really well because we know that it helps us feel good and we both have ways that we like to wind down like going to a gym class or having a glass of wine with friends. If you’re tired then you won’t be productive so in order for the business to run smoothly we need to be feeling good so we do a lot to make sure that we have a good work-life balance.
What's been the most exciting part of developing Squirrel Sisters?
The best part of our job is getting to work together. We get to bring our passion to life and do it together, which has been an incredible experience; supporting each other through the ups and downs and being there for each other through more stressful times. The other amazing thing about working together is that we completely trust each other and have each other’s best interests at heart, which is invaluable in business.
What does the future hold for Squirrel Sisters?
We are already available in over 1000 stores across the UK including Waitrose, Morrisons, Whole Foods, Planet Organic, Ocado, Selfridges, WHSmith and hundreds of independents delis, cafes and supermarkets but we want to double this!
By end of 2019 we want to have doubled our distribution by rolling out into more stores that we are currently stocked in and securing new retailers including more major supermarkets (who we are already in talks with).
We have new product development (NPD) that is ready to go including some new flavours as an extension of our current range as well as slightly different formats including share bags.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Success doesn’t happen over night. It takes a lot of hard work and you need to stay motivated. Passion is crucial; you have to be passionate about whatever it is that you are doing because if you don’t have the passion and the belief then it won’t work. It’s all about passion, persistence, and patience
Coffee or tea? Tea
Summer or winter? Winter
Gym or outdoors? Outdoors
Weights or cardio? Cardio
Sweet or savoury? Savoury