Real Handful

with Carly and Joe, Founders

We’re super excited to feature Real Handful in this weeks’ installment of Start-Up Stories. They are absolutely smashing it, with a big year ahead. We got an inside look from the team at Real Handful on all things start-up life and more… 

What is Real Handful? 

Real Handful is a trail mix snacking start-up founded by Carly & Joe Taylor (husband & wife/food industry geeks). We discovered trial mix blends of dried fruit, nuts, seeds and chocolate whilst hiking in the US and became the first brand to launch a dedicated trail mix brand into the UK market in 2016.  Since then we’ve added to the range with our delicious plant protein trail mix bars, kids snacks and new trail mix sharing bags. 

What’s the culture like at Real Handful? 

Being family-founded is definitely at the heart of our business. As parents of three boys aged 3-8, our Co-founders know how unruly day to day life can get, so we have a big culture of flexible working which means we can make time for the important ‘life’ moments as well as the business ones too. Having the ability to structure our days around samplings, school pick ups, seeing customers and hosting team meetings means we spend a refreshing amount of time away from our desks or on the go. 

“We also try to speak really openly as a team so that everyone understands all the challenging things that are happening and often sit alongside the amazing levels of growth we are experiencing” 

What was it like to get listed in the likes of Sainsbury’s? How did you go about that? 

We’ve always been very clear from the start that Real Handful was here to disrupt the fruit & nut snacking category by doing something different. Currently >70% of the value sales in this category come from private label fruit & nut that are often considered a little dull.  Our approach is to focus on flavour, fun branding and our unruly personality to help change the perception and bring new consumers in to the category.  We’ve always tried to share this message with retailers in a way that demonstrates humility and appreciates the strength of their existing range which I think builds trust and is seen as a positive as brand owners can often have tunnel vision about the strength & importance of their brand.  Of course there is a huge amount of persistence and chasing required too but ultimately the retailers have shared our belief in this opportunity and that’s led to some really exciting growth for us. 

“Sainsbury’s was our first listing so that was a huge ‘wow’ moment for us” 

That was when Real Handful was just two employees and less than a year old and we’re so proud to still be trading with Sainsbury’s who also introduced our kids BUNDLZ range earlier in 2019. Fast forward to the start of this year and we got the confirmation that we were going to be working with Tesco too and that was another incredible moment as it came hot on the heels of launching with ASDA and Waitrose. After this happened we plotted all the stores stocking Real Handful on a big map of the UK and with more than 2,000 stores it’s a little scary when we’re still such a small team. But we have really exciting plans for 2020 to support all these lovely customers. 

When people see Real Handful, what do you want them to think? 

We wanted our packaging to be brightly coloured, bold and use a lot of hand-drawn style illustration to convey a fun family-focused brand. We hoped the way the packaging stands out on shelf would rival a traditional confectionery experience, meaning consumers would want to not only buy into the product but invest in the brand experience as a whole from speaking about us on social to sharing it with their friends in the office.  However, we hope that as the brand becomes more familiar to people they will also associate Real Handful with the great taste of our snacks as without our Unruly Flavour there’s no reason to come back for more! 

You guys are crowdfunding, why did you choose this over more ‘traditional’ routes? 

We have some wonderful private investors already supporting us on our journey, but this absolutely feels like the right point in our journey to open up Real Handful to the ‘crowd’. 

“The joy of crowdfunding is that for £10 anyone can own a little slice of Real Handful.” 

We’ve always been big on creating a community around our brand from talking to our unruly snackers directly on social media to little handfuls sending us their own creations they’ve made with our BUNDLZ snack stickers. Going down this route is just taking this mentality one step further and giving existing Real Handful fans a chance to join our ‘family’ but also an amazing opportunity to introduce ourselves to thousands of people that might not have tried Real Handful before. 

How can people help you reach your goal? 

We’d love it if they contributed to our campaign here 

If you could have one celebrity advocate for the business who would it be? Why? 

We don’t want to cop out but celebrity endorsements aren’t really our style. We’d rather focus on getting Real Handful out there to a bunch of busy households, families, office workers, golfers, hikers and snack-time lovers! 

Describe Real Handful in 3 words 

Unruly, Honest, Family. 

Where can people find your tasty treats? 

So, any unruly snackers can grab our sharing bags in Tesco, there’s a link to a blog here to find out which stores. The whole range can be found in Asda, Ocado and Amazon. We’re also in Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Sourced Market, Puccino’s and As Nature Intended.  

What’s next for Real Handful? 

To hopefully smash our crowdfunding campaign, come in 2020 armed and ready to activate all of our exciting ideas – including some extremely delicious new snack ranges. 

Real Handful are set for an awesome year, we can’t wait to see where they are in a few years’ time! Be sure to check out their Crowdfunding campaign here