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Julie Waddell

Female Founder Spotlight: Julie Waddell

26 April 2021|Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder

Meet the Successful Founder: Julie Waddell  Moorish
Meet the Successful Founder: Julie Waddell Moorish

Moorish was established by Founder by Julie Waddell in 2012, after a career at British Airways and the BBC.  

Could you give a little background on your company?

At Moorish we exist to bring delicious moreish moments to the everyday. That’s why we have created an award-winning range of indulgent humous, dips, snacks and chilled desserts.​

All our recipes are lovingly crafted to taste superior to anything else on the market. We pride ourselves on never using anything artificial, just wholesome real ingredients that are better for you. And how we do business is as important to us as what we make.​

The result, a range of premium dips, snacks and desserts that are more than a little bit special. 

The hero product in the range is our award-winning Moorish Smoked Humous. Our smoked humous is made with chickpeas naturally cold-smoked in an artisan smokery in Dorset. We have several variants of smoked humous including; Moorish Smoked Humous with Chilli Harissa and Moorish Smoked Humous with Beetroot. We recently launched the UK’s first nationally available Moorish Chocolate Humous in Sainsbury’s!

Our company head office is located in Devon, our products are manufactured in London.​

How did the idea come to you for the company?

Coming from a catering family, I have always had an interest in culinary creativity at home. In 2012, I was looking for a way to make humous taste amazing for my young family. I smoked some chickpeas in a wok and made smoked humous for fun and it was INCREDIBLE! At the same time, I was working as a journalist on the BBC Radio 4 show “The Food Programme” and was asked to research the UK humous market. I discovered it was massive (worth over £12m) but lacking in innovation. A quick google search showed that my smoked humous concept was unique, so I decided to start a business!

How did you achieve awareness?

I started by making the humous myself in the corner of a local factory and selling it to our local deli. I soon realised that I needed to supply a lot of retailers to make the business work financially. I cold contacted Waitrose and they replied the next day asking me to come in and show them the products. Within 6 months we were stocked nationally in Waitrose and the business has gone from strength to strength.

How have you been able to gain funding and grow?

The business has been boot strapped since the beginning and is still completely privately owned. I was in dire financial straits when I launched Moorish and so I really needed to make it work. I believe that this hunger and drive is what has lead to our growth story and success.

What are the key successes?

Immediate launch in Waitrose.

Subsequent launches in Sainsbury’s, Ocado, British Airways.

International success through launches in Hong Kong and the UAE.

Meet the Successful Founder: Julie Waddell
Meet the Successful Founder: Julie Waddell

What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?

There have been times of great financial challenge, predominantly just before we enter a period of growth. I call it the roller coaster! Things often seem to go wrong and we lose some business, only for it to be replaced by something much bigger and better. Juggling being a mum of two and running a busy, national food brand hasn’t always been easy, but it has definitely been worth it.

What are your plans now/for the future?

2021 is our big year! As well as taking on our first MD, we are investing in new formats, new retailers and new channels. Our most exciting development is our unique “Moorish humous & dipper snack pack trios” which have already been listed by 2 major multiples, with more interested. This format leverages the £250m multipack “cheese/dunkers” category in Dairy​. We have secured a number of major listings for these new products which look set to more than double our revenue over the next 3 years.

What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?

If I can do it, anyone can. It’s about grit, determination and a hunger for success. You have to have a brilliant product or service of course, before you begin, but that is only half the story. A dogged tenacity will take you from launch to success. And never listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do it, if you want to you can, you will find a way!

Can you share you top tips for entrepreneurial success?

· Don’t worry about not having any experience, people are surprisingly willing to help new founders.

· Make sure your idea is better, or different or ideally both, then you have the potential to fly.

· Don’t give away equity unnecessarily, it is so precious that you should hold on to as much as possible for as long as possible.

· Bootstrap as much as possible, it makes you hungry to drive the bottom line.

· Keep the main thing, the main thing. Don’t get distracted by other ideas and diversions.

Meet the Successful Founder: Julie Waddell and family
Meet the Successful Founder: Julie Waddell and family

Who are the people who inspire you the most? 

Adam Balon – Founder of Innocent Drinks – spoke at an event I attended when starting the business and spoke to me afterwards, was very encouraging (https://www.linkedin.com/in/adam-balon-114aa297/)

Michelle Mone – Founder of Ultimo – her tenacity and drive and her ability to overcome hardship many times are inspiring (https://www.linkedin.com/in/michellemone/)

Pippa Murray – Founder of Pip & Nut – a young woman with no experience who went on to create a multimillion pound food brand (https://www.linkedin.com/in/pippamurray/)

Clare Smyth – Michelin starred chef – a successful woman in an incredibly tough part of the food industry (https://www.facebook.com/Core-644726912389183/)

What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right!

She who dares wins

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again

What are your social handles and website links so our readers can connect with you?

https://linkedin.com/in/julie-waddell-91b040b

https://www.facebook.com/MoorishSmokedHumous

https://www.instagram.com/moorishumous