- John Heseltine and Martin Hall launched Cherrygood, the UK’s first ready-to-drink cherry juice drink, in 2009 and the brand is now stocked in all the major UK supermarkets including Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose. But here’s what caught our eye: while ambient fruit juice sales have dropped by 12 per cent in the past year, Cherrygood has bucked the trend with a 411 per cent growth, outperforming established competitors such as Ocean Spray. Cherrygood is already planning further brand extension with chilled, children’s and sparkling versions due for launch in the final quarter of 2010 and early next year. The company’s products are already available in Spain, Greece, Germany and Ireland – and Heseltine and Hall want export sales to grow from ten per cent to 25 per cent of revenues within 12 months, with a US launch on the cards. Sales are expected to jump from £1.2m to £2.5m in 2011.
- Lilly & Sid was founded in February 2009 by husband-and-wife team Imran and Emma Hassan to provide the kind of “modern-classic” babywear that they couldn’t find for their own children. The designer brand is now stocked in more than 100 department stores and boutique shops across the country. The company landed its first export deal with Brown Thomas in Ireland within seven months of launch and has since expanded into Greece, Netherlands, Australia, Spain, Russia, Kuwait and Korea. The mix of products spans jerseywear, knitwear, accessories and toys – customers can mix and match to create their own unique gift box. Turnover is expected to jump by 368 per cent next year.
- Tackling the issues of rising electricity prices and consumer disillusionment with energy retailers, London-based Onzo has developed the Smart Energy Kit. The kit comes with a sensor, which is clipped onto the electricity cable and wirelessly sends consumption data to an easy-to-read display. The information can then be uploaded to a personalised website where customers can analyse, compare and break down their energy use over the past 30 days. The £1m-turnover company has signed a deal with Scottish & Southern Energy to provide thousands of its UK customers with the Smart Energy Kit.
- Aimed at professional, affluent 20 to 40-year-old women, Stylist is a direct competitor to Grazia, Marie Claire and Vogue, but with one big difference: it’s free. Launched in October 2009 following nine months of qualitative research and prototype development, Stylist is the UK’s first upmarket, free, weekly women’s magazine. Published by £11m-turnover Shortlist Media and backed by investors including hedge fund GLG Partners, film producers Matthew Vaughn and Kris Thykier, and French Connection founder Stephen Marks, 421,158 copies of Stylist are now distributed each week. While other magazines are struggling to attract advertisers, Stylist carried 194 different brands in its first year, including Hugo Boss, YSL and Selfridges.
- Truecall has designed, patented and built a sophisticated call-blocking gadget. Dubbed the “Cold Call Killer” by the BBC, it plugs into your landline and checks every call you receive before letting your phone ring. It remembers who you like to talk to and who you don’t – so you can avoid nuisance phone calls. More than 7,000 units have been sold in the UK to date and Truecall has blocked 1.5 million unwanted phone calls. The device now has police accreditation and is on sale in John Lewis, Harrods, Amazon and on the QVC shopping channel.
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