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 with 'sweat expert' and founder of electrolyte supplement brand Precision Hydration Andy Blow to talk about building a successful business off the back of a true passion and learning how to balance work with life and travel.
In a nutshell, what is the story of Precision Hydration? What motivated you to develop the idea?
As an athlete (I used to race triathlon at a decent level) I really suffered in the heat in places like Kona or even in southern Europe. I'd often get severe cramps and drastically under-perform when compared with races in cooler conditions. Eventually, I learned that as well as sweating a lot, I lose a lot of sodium in my sweat (about 2-3 x the average) and once I'd corrected for this in my fluid and salt intake in races it was like night and day for me. I was able to do much, much better in long, hot races from then on.
As I was also working as a sports scientist and coach back then I was very interested in the physiology behind what was going on and started to look into it to see if what I'd learned might also help other athletes. This gradually lead me into the world of sweat testing, sweat testing equipment, and eventually also hydration products. From that process, the business that is now Precision Hydration emerged.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when setting up this business?
Probably a lack of experience or any sort of training in running a 'proper' business. Whilst I'd run a small consultancy business, with a single partner, running a larger operation where we needed to coordinate manufacturing, sales, marketing, staff and invest quite a bit of money to get off the ground was a bit of a baptism of fire.
How do you manage a healthy work-life balance?
I'm not sure I always do. However, a key thing I've learned in the last few years is that balance does not have to mean that everything is 'balanced' all of the time. I enjoy (and find it productive) to work very hard for prolonged periods but I have started to recognise that I then have to take some extended breaks to recover and recharge. In the last 4 years I've taken most of December off each year, for example, and gone abroad with my family and this has worked really well. I have also become a dad twice in the last 5 years and making time for my kids has been an important catalyst to change my lifestyle. My office is also now ~800m from home whereas I used to have quite a long commute and this has really helped.
What's been the most exciting part of developing Precision Hydration?
At first, it was the travel that running the business demanded. We're incredibly fortunate to work with many top professional sports teams in the UK and USA in particular so I get to go on the road quite a lot and see some cool places and meet some amazing people. I've spent a lot of time in LA, New York and most places in-between and that has been a great buzz. However, more recently as the PH team has expanded it is more about the challenge of building a long-term, sustainable business that employs some great people and is a fantastic place to work. That is what excites me now.
What does the future hold for Precision Hydration?
In the next few years, we're planning to do much more research into all aspects of sweat, hydration and performance as it is still an area of science that is not fully understood. We are employing someone full-time in a research role and to work with a top University in the UK to achieve this. The aim is that the outputs from this role will inform how we improve our current products, guidelines for usage and give us ideas for new products in the future as well.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Back yourself, with your own money whenever possible. 'Skin in the game' is critical. Early on, try lots of small things out, discard those that don't work and double down hard on those that do. Listen to the advice of others, but decide what you think you should do and then commit 100% to it. Read a lot (start with 'Shoe Dog' if you've not read it already). Carve out time to just sit and think on a regular basis. Get comfortable with uncertainty. Prioritise customer service.
- Coffee or tea? Coffee, strong with a dash of cream.
- Summer or winter? Summer
- Ocean or mountain? Mountains
- UK or abroad? UK (as long as I get to go abroad a few times a year. And don't get me started on Brexit...)
- Sweet or savoury? Savoury
From racing disasters to great achievements, Ian talks to us about life as a Team GB Age-Group triathlete.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes, even as a child I was competitive, playing football for many years as a goal keeper. I then moved into running in 2011.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
I moved to triathlon in 2012 to add some variety to my training.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
My favourite race so far is the Outlaw Holkham Half. We were blessed with hot weather, the race venue was beautiful, and the event was meticulously well organised.
And your proudest achievement?
Competing in the 2017 European Triathlon Sprint Championships in Austria, and more recently qualifying for the 2019 ITU World Sprint Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
My biggest racing disaster so far was in one of my first races when I crashed my bike at the dismount line due to my shoe coming off the pedal when I removed my foot ready for dismount. Nevertheless, I finished the race, albeit covered in road rash and a torn trisuit!
How do you overcome setbacks?
I carry on and never give up.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
Set your own realistic goals and try not to feel pressurised by others
What are your goals for 2019?
Competing in the ITU World Triathlon Sprint Championships in Lausanne, and the Royal Windsor Triathlon.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
I take my inspiration from Tim Don, an elite triathlete who has been competing for many years and has recently fought back from extreme injury to race at Kona.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
The ethical ethos of Sundried and its devotion to charities, plus the environmentally friendly use of recyclable material.
In July 2017, it was announced that the inaugural Collins Cup will be hosted by The Professional Triathletes Organisation, Challenge Family and Challenge Roth in Germany in 2018. Aiming to follow in the footsteps of the Ryder Cup for golf, the Collins Cup sees teams of triathletes from the USA, Europe, and the rest of the world compete for the title of dominating region in the sport of triathlon.
Each team will send 12 athletes - 6 men and 6 women - who will win points for their team based on their performance, and the team with the most points overall will win. Four-time Ironman champion Chrissie Wellington will be heading up the team for Europe thanks to her world ranking status.
Germany has failed in its bid for the Ryder Cup the past two years, so Challenge Roth CEO Felix Walchshoefer said that they are very excited to be hosting the inaugural Collins Cup. The event is set to be iconic in the world of triathlon and could give a breath of fresh air into a sport that is gaining popularity every day and becoming closely watched as an international sport. The Collins Cup is the first global event of its kind and is sure to bring the world together in their love for the swim, bike, run multisport.
Alice Hector is an athlete ambassador for Sundried and is an elite triathlete. She has been racing as a professional triathlete since 2014 and is coached by Hywel Davies. She is an Ironman 70.3 champion, 2 times Israman champion, and has collected wins and podiums at several 70.3 and full ironman distance races. She is also a freelance copywriter and fitness model who has appeared in a number of fitness and athletics magazines.
Now to add to her plethora of sporting titles, Alice has won the Volcano triathlon in Lanzarote, which is the oldest international triathlon in Spain. She was even able to control it enough in order to conserve energy for Challenge Lisbon the following weekend!
Alice says that this win felt fantastic and she is really looking forward to her next series of races.
From all here at Team Sundried, Good Luck Alice and massive congratulations on a fantastic win!
The challenge of triathlon is coming to Southend 2017, sponsored by Sundried.
Southend triathlon will take place on 28th May 2017, a sprint distance event with a 750m open water swim, 20km ride around local country roads and a sea air 5km run along the coastline.
This is a perfect event for athletes looking to achieve a personal best or first timers looking for a simple course to enter the world of triathlon.
Sundried’s sprint triathlon is taking place to raise funds for charity Haven’s Hospice.
Haven’s Hospice makes “Every Day Count" for children & adults with life-limiting illnesses in Essex. When a family has been told that there’s no cure for their loved one’s illness and all that can be done is to make life comfortable, Havens Hospices can help.
Both hospices help by controlling pain and medication, offering respite and caring for adults, babies, children and teenagers at the end of their lives. This free, specialist care is there for as long as it’s needed, within the home and at the charity’s two hospices.
Havens Hospices is a registered charity – not part of the NHS – and receives limited government funding. The organisation must raise over £100,000 every week to be there for everyone who needs its care.
After researching our local area and discovering there is no longer a triathlon present, Sundried wishes to return the sport of triathlon to Southend, particularly as it’s gaining popularity after the Brownlee brothers' outstanding success in this year's Olympics.
The event aims to encourage triathletes and first-time athletes in the local area to compete on their home turf and raise money for charity. In the future, we look to bring an extended event, with a full Olympic distance and fitness show.