Decisions

James Averdieck - Founder and managing director, Gu chocolate puds.

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

MY BEST...

was starting Gü. Not only has it worked, but it has also allowed me to be in charge, which is the way I like to work. I'm entrepreneurial and always have been. And I've always been a chocolate-lover. In terms of the business, my best decision was going with the Gü brand name. I worked with a marketing agency right from the start, and asked them to come up with a brand name for us, because they're impossible to come up with. I'd been down that route before, and it can be a futile exercise.

They phoned me a week later, and told me that they'd been round lots of chocolate shops in Europe and had come across a brand called Gü. The name was exactly what I wanted, but I'd never seen that brand before. They showed me the packet and I was really disappointed that someone had beaten me to it. It was then that they told me it was a fake – they'd mocked it up for me – and that was the brand name I should go with. I like Gü because it reminds you of gooey chocolate, and the umlaut adds a Continental sophistication.

MY WORST...

When we started up the company, we did a bit of own-label business. It was something we decided to do right from the start, but that was a bad decision. We'd wanted to do it because we thought it would be a good way to get quick business early on. But it didn't work out for two reasons.

The first was dealing with a middleman. It is something I will never do again, because you always need to be in touch with the end customer. The second was that when you're doing own-label products, you end up making things that you don't think are necessarily the right things to make – you don't have total control over the product. We ended up losing quite a lot of money. So, rather than making money from the own-label business, which would help fund our own brand, we ended up carrying a whole lot of packaging write-offs and products that didn't work.

It was a learning experience. We were meant to run both in tandem, with the own-label work funding Gü. What happened was quite the reverse.

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