Nicci Clark is the founder of Re:Nourish, which is the world’s first fresh soup in a grab and go, microwaveable, fully recyclable bottle. Currently in its third year of trading, the brand is valued at £15M and has recently secured a two-million-pound series A investment that will help to spearhead its global expansion. In addition to a strong first two years of business trading the brand has had, Nicci also has a brave and inspiring backstory: she successfully turned her career on its head after finding her passion point and even sold her family home to fund the launch of Re:Nourish after being turned away by the bank. Nicci is so passionate about her business, and it truly shows when you talk to her.
Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?
I started out as a critical care nurse at a busy London hospital. I’m also a qualified reflexologist and have a background in nutrition. Essentially, health is part of my DNA! I launched Re:Nourish in 2019 with the USP that all our fresh soups have a functional health purpose – from immunity, to digestion, to energy and more. There are no additives, no allergens and no sugar, and they’re packed with vitamins and high fibre – a truly delicious fresh veggie soup in a world-first microwaveable bottle that has nothing to hide!
How did the idea come to you for the company?
Back in 2010, I started Nourished, a company which delivered fresh meals to your door. The popularity of my mission stemmed nationwide, with the likes of the Downton Abbey cast becoming fans of my offering, but the standout feedback was that our fresh soups were a real winner.
In a 3am lightbulb moment, I knew that I needed to make these soups easy to heat and drink, and able to save for later. With this in mind I flew to America and very quickly learned that nobody in the world had done soup in a microwaveable bottle. In fact, everyone said it couldn’t be done. Nine months – and many prototypes later – I proved them wrong and Re:Nourish was born.
How did you achieve awareness?
I launched Re:Nourish at the well-known food exhibition IFE, which takes place at the ExCel in London, and my stand instantly attracted buyers and competitors alike. I also won Best Health & Wellness Food at the IFE World Innovation Awards which served to enhance the authenticity of all our Re:Nourish health claims.
Within four weeks of exhibiting at IFE, Re:Nourish was stocked in Planet Organic stores in London, and within five months Re:Nourish was stocked in every single Waitrose in the UK – the first time Waitrose had given an unknown brand full national distribution!
We were awarded in December The Grocer Top Product Launch 2019 and shortly following this win we were stocked in Coop, Ocado, Wholefoods, WHSMITH and Brakes. We have recently been stocked in NHS hospital canteens too, which is an incredibly exciting move for us. Not only are we contributing to the NHS, but it is amazing to see health professionals supporting our healthy soups.
How have you been able to gain funding and grow?
I sold my house to be able to afford to launch Re:Nourish. As a mother of two young boys, this was obviously a very difficult decision, however I had so much faith in my brand and, after facing hurdles such as funding issues with my bank, I had no choice. Thankfully, my determination and self-belief paid off, and I have now secured funding from a Venture Capital (VC) and two private family offices. As is the dream of any business owner, people are now coming to me offering money!
What are the key successes?
Re:Nourish is the first every brand to be given a full national listing in all Waitrose 300 stores as an unknown brand. Fever Tree were given 80 stores on launch and Innocent just 20!
We recently secured a huge £2m series A investment as part of our global expansion initiative, with the participation of Doehler Ventures and two private family offices. This investment marked a major milestone for our brand, which had grown a staggering 248%* in 2020 thanks to a track record in disrupting the category with game-changing nutritious soups that are jam packed with vitamins and can be heated and drunk straight from the microwaveable bottle.
In under three years, the company is now the fastest growing fresh soup brand in the UK having grown 50% in 2021 alone; Re:Nourish is now worth £15,000,000.
*248% (*Nielsen Feb 2020–Feb2021).
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
I faced an immediate barrier to building Re:Nourish due to a bank not lending and so I decided to sell my house to be able to afford to launch the brand.
Other people’s opinions can be challenging to navigate too, but it’s important to remember that they are just that: their opinions. No one other than you knows what you are capable of, so don’t listen to doubters. Self-belief, determination and a sprinkling of luck will help you succeed.
Other than this, I try not to see anything as a challenge or an obstacle. Instead, I approach every day as an adventure and an opportunity to learn.
What are your plans now/for the future?
We are now the only global fresh soup brand, having launched in the UK, Dubai, Doha, Hong Kong, as well as having imminent plans to launch in Australia and Europe.
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
I’d love to share that I launched Re:Nourish during the very worst time of my life, having spilt with my boys’ father and with no money to fund my dream business. However, I used the fact that I had nothing to lose, paired with the need to support my boys, as the fuel to start this game changing business.
If you never try, you will never know what you can achieve. I now have a global brand and a great team but, more importantly, I now know I am stronger than I imagined. My boys are enormously proud of their mummy and I am proud of myself.
Can you share top tips for entrepreneurial success?
Self-belief, a great unique idea, inner strength and laser focus are all key. Always trust your intuition too.
Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?
Joy Mangano who founded the Magic Mop. She started a business under very similar circumstances to myself and I identify with her story. Karen Holland, my C.O.O, who left the Soup Factory to work with me. Louise Steer, who was a friend first and foremost for 20 years, and invested her own money into Re:Nourish without any hesitation and has even joined the company. Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, who shows every female founder what a great idea and determination can achieve. Finally, my best friend and fellow nurse, Erica Cattermole, who has been there cheering me on, through the good times and the bad.
What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?
Trust your instinct. If it doesn’t feel right, then it isn’t.
Other people’s opinions of you are just that. You know you.
What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?
Instagram – @Renourish_soup https://www.instagram.com/renourish_soup/
LinkedIn – Nicci Clark – https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicci-clark-a908b243