Finance · 22 August 2018

From blogging to business: Squirrel Sisters health and wellness brand looks for investment

Squirrel Sisters Gracie and Sophie Tyrrell

From starting out as passionate food and wellness bloggers these founders already had a large following ready to try their award-winning healthy snack bars.

Founders of Squirrel Sisters, Gracie and Sophie Tyrrell began their brand as “normal women with busy lifestyles” and now have thousands of followers reading their recipes.

The sisters believe that in treating yourself you can treat your health, and this is where their guilt-free vegan and gluten-free bars come in.

Business Advice caught up with the Tyrells to discover how they managed to set up their business up with 100% of their own savings.

Where did the concept come from?

Health, wellness, food and how it makes us feel has always been a passion of ours so we started Squirrel Sisters as a blog in 2014.

Our blog gained a large following quickly; people connected with our mission and the fact we are two normal girls with a busy lifestyle that want to enjoy life while feeling great.

With a growing following we saw an opportunity to turn our blog into a business so after much planning and preparation, we launched our snack bars in November 2015, which we already had the recipes for (as Gracie used to make them for Sophie due to her Gluten- intolerance).

Life’s too short for second guessing what’s in your food. So we use only the best quality, honest (easy to say), real kitchen cupboard ingredients, which is why we’ve been certified by Sugarwise, an international authority for sugar claims.

At Squirrel Sisters we are all about making healthy fun, delicious and satisfying. We are sisters on a mission to help people make better and healthier choices more often…and when it comes to our products taste is at the forefront.

How did you fund your business?

We are 100% self-funded (we started the company using our savings) but we are currently in the process of looking for investment.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when launching?

Finding a factory that could replicate our bars (that we were making at home) on a large scale. It wasn’t as simple as passing over the recipe; scaling up changes everything (taste, texture and quality) so it took a lot of research and factory trials to find someone that could create our bars on a larger scale while keeping our delicious homemade taste and texture.

What’s your biggest achievement to date?

We are extremely proud of our distribution- after 2.5 years you can now find our products in over 1000 stores across the UK including Waitrose, Morrisons, Boots, Whole Foods, Planet Organic, Selfridges, Ocado and Amazon. We also published a cookbook this year, ‘Naturally Delicious Snacks & Treats’, which is available in all good bookshops and online retailers.

What marketing strategies have you used?

To get our products in as many peoples hands as possible; sampling is key! Once people have tried it we know they will love it so it’s just a case of coming up with innovative ideas to get our product out there.

In five years’ time, we’ll….

Still be running Squirrel Sisters, which will be a company well-known globally for it’s real, honest and exciting approach to health.

Who are your business heroes and why?

Renée Elliott, founder of Planet Organic because she’s an all round superwoman!

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Starting a business requires passion, persistence and patience… and cash is also very important.

What’s your favourite way to spend downtime?

Catching up with friends and family over a nice glass of wine. Fitness is also important to us both, it helps us focus and it’s great for a boost of endorphins.

Last series you binge watched?

The Sinner

What three things can’t you live without?

Family, phone and Squirrel Sisters bars

What app do you use the most?

Spotify

What song is always on your playlist?

Anything uplifting and empowering. Beyonce is usually high up on the list.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Carly Hacon is a reporter for Business Advice. She has a BA in journalism from Kingston University, and has previously worked as a features editor for a local newspaper.

Finance