Home to The Successful Founder Print & Digital Magazine 
Advice Articles, Interviews, Founder & Brand Spotlights 
Home of The Most Advice-Feature-Rich Entrepreneurship Magazine Around

Inspirational Female Founder Spotlight: Jess Higgins

Following an extensive 15-year career as a solicitor, Jess Higgins is Freja’s co-founder and COO, responsible for spearheading the brand’s commercial growth and highly-anticipated international expansion.

Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?

Before the ‘birth’ of Freja, or Take Stock as it was then known, I spent more than 15 years as a solicitor across six different firms.

After founding the brand in November 2020 with my husband, Ed, we’ve gone from strength to strength and, in just four years, we’ve become a multi-award winning bone broth with an incredibly loyal customer base.

Today, I am Freja’s COO and I manage the sustainable growth of our brand, with our eyes fixed firmly on becoming the number one bone broth brand in Europe

How did the idea come to you for the company?

As with many successful businesses, the idea was born out of necessity. As a working mum in a busy household, finding quick, easy and nutritious meal solutions was always a challenge I would run into.

I’ve always been interested in food and nutrition and had long been fed up with the amount of ultra-processed ‘health’ foods on supermarket shelves. Frustrated with the lack of delicious, nutritious fast food to feed our family of six, Ed and I wanted a genuinely healthy alternative.

Something delicious, with no additives, and that’s cupboard-friendly and sustainable too. Enter Freja!

We wanted to recreate the slowly simmered bone broths of our childhoods, but now as a delicious store-cupboard staple. We decided to create one, armed with an ambitious list of non-negotiables: a long shelf-life, 100% natural ingredients and high animal-welfare standards. It had to be delicious and nutrient-packed, too.

Our quest for the ultimate bone broth took us to Norway where we found our perfect production partners, and Freja was born!

How did you achieve awareness?

In May 2023 we rebranded from Take Stock to Freja.  We wanted to lean into our Scandinavian roots, where animal welfare standards are one of the highest in the world. Bone broth, by its nature, is a sustainable product where the unwanted by-products of meat production (that would otherwise be incinerated or thrown away) are turned into one of the most nutritious foods available.

We are on a mission to educate the nation about bone broth.  We spent +£1m on advertising over the last year and will more than double this spend this coming year.  We aim to be synonymous with the bone broth category, so that in the consumer’s mind, “bone broth equals Freja”.

How have you been able to gain funding and grow?

In January 2024, we announced a £2.1m funding round and attracted investment from high-profile sports figures, Harry Kane and Alistair Brownlee, as well as a host of FMCG industry leaders and brand founders, including Joanna Jenson (Founder of Childs Farm) and Sally Preston (Founder of Kiddylicious).  We are particularly proud of having Mint Ventures, a syndicate of female only angel investors, on our cap table. 

This is our most significant fundraise to date, and one we believe will not only help us accelerate our growth here in the UK but support our international expansion, taking us one step closer to our goal of making bone broth a household staple across Europe.

In terms of growth, one of the key factors of our success was finding the right manufacturing partner so early on. We were very lucky, though it did take a lot of research! We had such specific requirements for the bone broth recipe and the packaging format, as well as exacting standards for sourcing and sustainability, and they were able to meet those needs.

I always love reading through the 1000s of reviews we’ve had from Freja customers who use bone broth for a wide range of reasons; from improving their gut health, to losing weight or to help build muscle and support joint health.

It certainly helps to have a genuinely fantastic product which people love to use!

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

It’s no secret, the bouillon aisle is one of the most boring fixtures in the supermarket and has seen little innovation since the Knorr stock pot. At the same time, customers’ desire for natural products and the rising awareness of ultra-processed foods has driven consumers to seek products, like bone broth, that have a clean label and don’t have long lists of ingredients you can’t pronounce. 

Bone broth is a forgotten foundational food, which we’re bringing to the modern household. Freja is made from entirely natural ingredients, with a delicious homemade-style flavour, and a convenient 24-month shelf-life. Packed with protein and collagen, the broths are a rich source of amino acids and minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, making them highly sought after by health-conscious consumers for a multitude of concerns. 

Our bone broths are shelf stable, so they could become a store-cupboard staple. As well as being easier to store and ship, making it more viable from an ecommerce perspective, our bone broth eliminates emission-heavy refrigeration from the supply chain. 

What are your plans now/for the future?

We’ve already seen great success, with more than a million units sold, our team growing from just two to 12, and our revenue more than tripling from last year.

Looking ahead, we’re currently preparing for a European expansion, some exciting new products on the horizon and we’ll continue to strengthen our team with new additions.

Our goal is to be Europe’s leading bone broth brand, and we have devised a strategy (which we call 24:24) to get us to £24m revenue in 24 months.

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

Try and find a business partner who shares your vision, mission and values, but also provides a complementary set of skills. 

My husband, Ed, is my co-founder and he is great at sales and marketing, whereas I am more product and operations focused, so we both have our strengths and can support each other along the way.

Who are some people who inspire you the most and why?

My mum. She’s always worked so hard as a lawyer, but still made sure she was present for me and my sister.  I am trying to do the same whilst running Freja with four children.

In fact, all working mums inspire me – it’s hard work!

I’m also hugely inspired by Joanna Jenson and Sally Preston, two incredible female entrepreneurs who built and sold their brands, and have now joined us at Freja as investors.

What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Another one I live my life by is ‘get sh*t done’, it hasn’t failed me yet.