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Paddy Klein: Why perseverance pays off

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“It’s more-for-more but we want the offering to be so much better and so compelling that customers are willing to pay the extra 50 pence,” he said.

It’s an ambitious goal but Klein is pretty tenacious.

He and Ed Caporn established Klein Caporn, which produces quality chilled pasta sauces, in November 2004. In three years, the business model has changed three times.

“The first model was very high-quality, high-end, low-volume selling through the independent channels. But we overestimated the volumes we’d shift in the independent sector at such high prices.

“We got a deal with Waitrose after a repackaging, rebranding and repricing exercise. Volumes were fine but not stratospheric. The price point seemed prohibitive to anyone but Waitrose.

“Then we reduced the pot size from 400 grams to 300 grams, which is the standard pack that pasta sauce is sold in most supermarkets, and found that to be a much better proposition.”

The sauces are now also sold in Sainsbury’s, and turnover for Klein Caporn is projected to hit £500,000 this year. The plan is to grow within the current market then approach other supermarkets and create a “ready-meals brand”.

Klein said: “It’s been trial and error. You can do as much market research, tasting, and price point analysis as you like, but ultimately you have to chuck the product on the shelves and see whether it sticks.

“I’ve realised how hard it is to turn a viable product into a thriving business. Creating something, making noise and shifting something is quite doable, but it’s harder to make a profit. Your best-made business plans and projections will always lose sight of one or two logistical items or costs you hadn’t anticipated.”

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