My Week: Hayley Gait-Golding of Bear

The entrepreneur and 35u35er on cherry-picking, being with her husband 24/7 and why it's hard taking on new people.

by Hannah Prevett
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013
It’s absolutely crazy here at the moment, which means I definitely don’t have an average week. Not that I’d want that; I think it would get a bit boring. I spend a lot of time out doing the harvests for the fruit that goes into our snacks. Just last week, my husband Andrew and I (we run the business together) were out doing our cherry harvest. We went to Greece, Macedonia and Hungary, where we checked which varieties were best this year, and then we do the first batches of drying and baking to make sure it’s perfect. Once it’s all good, we leave it to our partners.

Compared to other companies, we are really hands-on. We repeat this picking process for all of our fruits. So we’ve already done peaches and next will probably be mangos or pineapples. Mind you, the weather’s changing so much around the world that we never really know what the harvest is going to be like any more. The fruits are so different, and they come weeks earlier than they used to. But every year we go to the farms or orchards; we taste it, we bake some, taste it again… You just work it out.

The good thing about travelling so much is that I get to do it with Andrew. A lot of people ask how we cope with living, working and travelling together. But, actually, it’s really great, because if we weren’t in the business together, it would be really difficult for the other person to understand why their partner was working all weekend. We think about work all the time. We’ll be having dinner and one of us will just say: ‘what do you think about doing this next?’ We’re never really ‘off’. And if we’re not working, we’ll be training together, usually running or mountain biking. That’s what we enjoy doing. We’re not exactly huge party animals.

We live in Derby and we’re generally home-based, but we also have an office in Farringdon, so we split the week between Derby, London and then other meetings at factories. A lot of our partners are all over the UK, so we tend to be travelling around a fair bit. Anything fruit-related we tend to do together, because our farmers are our friends too. Our farmers are often couples and they’ll invite us to their weddings or to go skiing. They are great relationships.
Since I’ve been back I’ve been working on so many things. One of the most important was the Venture Candy awards pitch with Metro. They’ve narrowed it down to the last seven, so we’re just waiting to find out if we’ve made it down to the last three. Then at the weekend we also had a stand at the Cornbury festival; so I was there for a few hours, before leaving the team to it. I used to be able to stay for the whole thing, but now if I do that I get so behind on my work.

We’re also recruiting at the moment; we’re looking for a marketing executive to join us. It’s so important that new staff have the same passion for health and for the brand that we do. I don’t really like recruiting; I actually find it really hard because when it’s your own company it’s really difficult to find that calibre of individual that you can 100% trust. But when you do find that person, it’s great.

Hayley Gait-Golding is the founder of Bear, which makes healthy snacks.

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