Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jamal Ayton-Brown, Co-Founder of jrny, located in London, UK.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We create protein-packed, multi-nutrient super powders for women that boost energy, improve digestion and replace vitamin pills. They contain 16 vitamins and minerals in recommended daily amounts, all carefully selected to mitigate common nutritional deficiencies faced by women worldwide.
Our customer is any woman who cares about wellness and is seeking a healthy product she can trust but tend to be those who've felt alienated by the fitness and wellness landscape where the focus is always on looks; the gym and products are often dubious, to say the least.
We're on a mission to make healthy nutrition simple for all women whilst fighting diet culture and leading by example to be responsible for our environment.
Tell us about yourself
I've had the entrepreneur bug since I can remember, and jrny is possibly product number 6 that my co-founder and I have tried to bring to fruition!
Our origin story begins with my co-founder (who has a background in Sports Science & Nutrition) working at BUPA, where he advised women on their health. People would come in daily complaining of lacking energy, and very often, after a blood sample was taken, it would be revealed that they had a nutritional deficiency they were unaware of. He'd suggest pill or protein supplementation and get pushback on the idea that the former led to a lot of wasted money due to forgetfulness, and the latter was stigmatized as only for men or hardcore exercisers.
The idea sparked from here to amalgamate those two products and create something entirely new, a true pill replacement in powder form. We realized early on that as two guys, we couldn't trust our assumptions, and so we began to test our thoughts with over 100 women. Things really got going when we realized my co-founders' Mother was a potential core customer.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I think getting started during the pandemic was and still is a major accomplishment, as well as bucking the trend to gain angel investment. We also received a shout-out from the one and only Richard Branson, which I won't forget any time soon!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
For me, it's maintaining efficiency and staying focused despite all the distractions happening around us. Also, business is ultimately about solving a new set of problems day after day and can be an emotional rollercoaster! It's important to reflect often and try never to take things personally, after all… it's just business.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Business is all about relationships; without building this skill, it's almost impossible to get the right help when you need and trust me… you'll need it!
- Act first, think later. It can sound counterintuitive, but our biggest learnings have always come from getting our hands dirty and making mistakes. It's also surprising how much serendipity is on your side when you're doing the work, day after day.
- Lean into your skillset. It's so easy to get overwhelmed with what you're not good at and waste precious time trying to build skills you'll only be mediocre at. That's what co-founders are for! Find what you're good at and work at it aggressively until you become great.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
For anyone struggling on their jrny, who maybe lacks a bit of confidence and isn't fully believing in themselves. I've been there, and I know how it feels. TRUST ME; you'll be shocked how quickly that disappears if you just act. F*** it; you might as well!
Where can people find you and your business?