Brainfood: Decisions - James Averdieck Gu Chocolate Puds, Founder and managing director

MY BEST ... was starting Gu. Not only has it worked, but it has also allowed me to be in charge, which is the way I like to work.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

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 Gu 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 Gu. 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 Gu 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 Gu. What happened was quite the reverse.

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