Jenny Dawson left her lucrative fund management job because she did not want to reach middle age and wonder why she had not concentrated on something she was passionate about. Rubies in the Rubble aims to make the tastiest food, in the nicest possible way. They source all their fruit and vegetables from surplus, fresh from farmers and markets before they’re discarded and thrown away as waste.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
It was back in 2011. I had run a small business before throughout University and really enjoyed it. I loved having a product and something that I put on the shelf and knowing what was in it, where it was from… I was passionate about that product.
To see other people enjoying it as well, I found it really rewarding and really exciting. I was also really passionate at the time about making a business that made change and having a sustainable business that addressed things in society. So it was with both of those things in mind, not wanting to be a charity and wanting sustainable solutions in society but addressed through a business.
What skill or ability is most important and why?
Passion and determination in a way. You’ve got to be excited and light hearted about what you’re doing and not willing to give up easily as well as having an open mind. I found the thing that’s moved us forward is being really open with people, talking to as many people as possible, being approachable.
I think the best skills to have is just to be open minded and really positive and passionate about what you’re doing.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned?
It’s incredibly competitive. I think I started Rubies in the Rubble thinking if I just made the best tasting products and made them as well as I could then everyone was going to want them. But actually finding your route to market and knowing how to get your hands on the consumer is quite challenging.
To persuade a new stockist to stock your products and to take somebody else off the shelves to put you on is really challenging. Once you’re in the shop it’s just the start of it, getting the consumer to buy your product and repeat purchase and knowing how to use your product…all of that side I was really slack on and I think I’ve learned a lot about that and how you need to market and sell your product. It’s incredibly competitive and there’s a lot of other people doing some great things out there so you’ve got to differentiate yourself and let the consumer know where you are, and how to buy you and how to use you.
What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is probably the best and the worst. It’s being your own boss, making decisions, seeing your decisions being played out. Being in a really small team, and that every call that you make makes a difference, and it can completely change the company or the direction within a day or so.
It’s incredibly rewarding but it’s also incredibly scary, and some days you just wish somebody else was giving you a pay cheque and you were in a bit of security. It definitely keeps you alive and keeps you ticking, and every day is always a new day.
If you’re interested in food startups then check out our full list of ‘foodpreneurs’ right here.