Skinny Malinky’s Real Juice & Super foods: Paula Heaney
Health enthusiast Paula Heaney shares how a surprising development spurred her to start her raw & living food delivery service
Name: Paula Heaney
Company Name: Skinny Malinky’s Real Juice & Super foods
Staff numbers: 2
Location: Northern Ireland
Date Launched: 01/01/14
Tell us what your business does:
Skinny Malinky’s specialise in providing super-healthy, enzyme-packed juices, smoothies, dips, salads & soups in a range of packages (bespoken, single day or 14 days). We deliver direct to your door, bringing all the benefits of juicing and clean eating without the hassle.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I worked in an organic shop over 10 years ago; but for last six years I’ve worked in a marketing job where I felt overworked and under-appreciated so – after encouragement by a friend who has a number of her own businesses – I decided the time had come.
How did you know there was a market for it?
I knew it was time after extensive research into the viability of the market in Belfast, a research trip to California and the global trend towards living a healthier lifestyle.
What were you doing before starting up?
I was the marketing manager for a large UK jewellery retailer, feeling very unsettled and knowing I could do is for myself.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes, even at school I was the MD of our ‘footprints to business’ company. My parents have owned their own business too, which I think helps cement the vision of being able to do it off your own back.
How did you raise the money?
Redundancies were offered at work and I jumped at it; while others were afraid of losing their jobs, I was skipping round the office as I was delighted that I would finally be free, yet apprehensive that from this moment on I would have no income – it was time to sink or swim!
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What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Initially I bought the best ‘juice bar’ juicer on the market, but I soon realised that delivering to people every day was a big cost and time consuming. We needed to invest in a juicer that keeps the enzymes alive in the juice as these are what makes a fresh juice so good for you and this was very expensive. I had a business credit card but only £500 limit which must be cleared within 38 days, we had no overdraft and limited cash flow. I called our Ulster Bank business advisor and she arranged for us to have our limit raised to £2,000 – unheard of for a recently opened business. Doing this allowed us the time to make the money for the juicer, pay it off in time and refresh our cash flow.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
We make money by providing the highest quality product at the best possible price. The product is high end but the price is not as we want it to be accessible to as many people as possible.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Realising how good the product was as there was a huge amount of repeat business in no time. Having Stephen Nolan call and request ‘a cleanse’ was definitely a moment when we realised everyone who tries our product loves it and tells other people how effective it is.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Put together a proper business plan and know your figures. You can’t just ignore the numbers and hope for the best, you need a forecast and you need to understand cost. Also feel the fear and do it anyway. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect anyone else to?
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
We want to be the UK & Ireland’s biggest supplier of fresh juice and super foods.