BRAIN FOOD: Decisions - Harry Cragoe - Pete & Johnny Smoothies


Developing and then launching a new product. I launched PJ smoothies after spending two years in California in the early 1990s. I used to drink smoothies every day when I was in Los Angeles, but when I got back to the UK I discovered that they weren't available here. So I launched the Pete & Johnny brand, based on the smoothies idea.

Now we've decided to launch PJ Frooties, which is a new range of fruit drinks that will be aimed at the children's market. Although smoothies are known as being good for you because of the high crushed-fruit content, this also means that they tend to be expensive. Frooties still contain 100% fruit, but they're not as thick as a smoothie and they're smaller, so they are cheaper to buy.

We can tell from the initial response that people are very interested.

It means that you can buy a healthy drink for your kids that isn't packed full of synthetic sugars and isn't as expensive as other smoothies. We've just launched it, and the feedback has been good.


The worst decision I made was connected indirectly to the business.

One year after launch- ing Pete & Johnny, I agreed to set off the fireworks at a friend's wedding. We were on a small island off the coast of Devon, and as soon as I had lit the fireworks, I fell over the edge of an 80-foot cliff. I eventually came to in a deserted cove.

Between the ambulance and a helicopter that developed problems mid-air, it took five hours to get me to a hospital. I'd broken my wrists and pelvis and dislocated my left hip. The problem was that Pete & Johnny's was still very small and I couldn't afford to be out of the office. I was in hospital for three weeks and struggled back into work on the fourth, but I wasn't really as mobile as usual and I was somewhat under the weather.

We sold less during the time I was in hospital and it took a few months to get the business back up to speed - at a time when fast growth was important. It probably took four months out of the company.

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