Alexi von Eldik is the founder of Sage8 Foods Ltd. We caught up with her to discover more about her entrepreneurial journey and top tips for success.
Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?
I grew up in an entrepreneurial environment, both my parents were business owners and so you can say that entrepreneurialism is in the blood. I’ve always known that I’d have my own business and that came to fruition in 2011 when I started a detox delivery business. First delivering to my friends and then to friends of friends… all out of my own kitchen. Seeing the opportunity with some of the snacks I was making, I took a pitch at the Duke of York Square Saturday Market and that was my first foray into direct sales. In 2021, Cru8 evolved to add a sister brand, Keto8, under the umbrella of Sage 8 Foods Ltd, with the launch of new packaging, a new website and new Keto8 products. We now count Planet Organic, Wholefoods Market, Holland & Barratt among our clients, plus a wonderfully loyal online customer base.
How did the idea come to you for the company?
I founded Cru8 in 2014, as I’d seen first-hand how profound the benefits are of a low-sugar, high-raw diet are. So profound, in fact, that I reversed my pre-diabetic symptoms by taking this approach to lifestyle and diet.
I explored this further with my Masters in Organisational Psychology in which I proved that a high-raw, gluten, dairy and refined-sugar free diet not only significantly enhances work productivity but also supports emotional wellbeing.
How did you achieve awareness?
We have achieved awareness through social media, PR and fabulous nutritionist recommendations.
How have you been able to gain funding and grow?
We completed a Seedrs round in 2018. We were lucky enough to be self-funded before then. Since the Seedrs round we have doubled our growth year on year and are now in profit.
What are the key successes?
Our key successes have been to gain our first listings at Planet Organic and Wholefoods Market in 2015. To launch Keto8 and a keto product range in 2021 has been key to growth. In 2022, we listed eight SKUs with Holland & Barratt, which has been another key win.
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
Cash flow is always a challenge for a small business. Being able to manage cashflow as we also invest in our growth happens with careful planning and ensuring we’re being as efficient in terms of expenditure as possible. We’ve definitely done a lot of bootstrapping!
What are your plans now/for the future?
The future sees keto going more mainstream in the UK, much like it now is in the US, so for us that means getting listed in the supermarkets. In 2023 we’ll be focused on the European export market as well. This has been tricky with Brexit but things seem to be settling down now.
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
Entrepreneurship is an incredible journey, the learning curve can be steep and the challenges seemingly insurmountable, but that is where the fun lies…in figuring out the way forward, in the problem solving, in the creation of a great brand that people can connect with. And not to mention the personal growth! I love the freedom and the agency being an entrepreneur affords me. It’s not for the faint hearted, but has its rewards for those who dare.
Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?
Make sure what you’re embarking on is your passion – there will be times when passion and the belief in your business are the only thing that get you through.
Be persistent and cultivate resilience.
When you run a small business, one tends to wear every hat out of necessity, but it’s important to spend time each week working on your business rather than in your business to ensure your business is number one on track and you know where it’s going, but that you have a little time to day dream and find inspiration for the future.
Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?
JK Rowling, for her success despite being a single mother and multiple initial rejections of your manuscript. For her persistence, perseverance and strength.
Alice Waters for the farm-to-table movement and her work around eating local, organic and regenerative foods.
Jaime Oliver for the use of his platform for good. I admire the fact that he brought awareness to the food children are fed at schools and tried to change this.
Anita Roddick for building a once incredible brand, The Body Shop and as a campaigner for human rights and the environment.
Dalai Lama, for his wisdom, humour and strength of character.
What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?
“There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” — Confucius
“The path to success is to take massive, determined action.”- Tony Robbins
What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?
The Successful Founder Magazine is the go to feature-rich magazine for founders on all stages of their entrepreneurship journey .