One to Watch: Feel Good Drinks Company
A small, tight structure means this team has the flexibility to give everyone a say in product development.
Four years ago three friends - Dave Wallwork, Steve Cooper and Chris Wright - quit secure senior marketing jobs at Coca-Cola to found the Feel Good Drinks Company and make soft drinks from natural ingredients with no added sugar.
Within a year of launch the juice drinks gained a listing in Superdrug, before rolling out to other retailers across the UK. In 2003 the brand entered the Irish market and today has a presence in six further territories - France, the Netherlands, Norway, Greece, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia. Feel Good drinks are available in more than 14,000 outlets and it has an estimated turnover of pounds 5m. Further expansion looms in the company's plans.
The team is undoubtedly ambitious, but is determined that any growth must not be to the detriment of the company's inclusive atmosphere. 'It's a priority for us,' explains commercial director Chris Wright. 'We have no division between management and staff. We will do all we can to keep the team spirit as we grow.'
While the founders are alert to opportunities for growth, marketing director Steve Cooper is quick to highlight the benefits of a compact team. 'We can make quick decisions. If the numbers add up, we do it. One of the frustrations of working for a bigger company was the layers of management. The last thing we want is that kind of structure.'
The team hopes their dynamism makes them an attractive prospect to potential brand partners. Earlier this year Feel Good Drinks was the official soft drink of The Magic Roundabout film. The trio chuckle when asked whether they plan future tie-ins with children's films. 'We didn't choose it because it was a children's film - it made us feel good.' In a similar vein, the brand recently ran a promotion offering customers a free beauty treatment at salons across the UK.
Feel Good's mantra runs through the organisation down to the last detail. Even its employees' business cards have a 'feel good moment' printed on the back. While Wright's is his two children 'happy on a frosty day', marketing manager Libby Dimeloe's is 'relaxing on a beach in Fiji'.
The company's range of beverages now comprises six flavours, with four sparkling Spritz drinks. The entire team is encouraged to suggest flavours - although some have more of a flair for it than others.
'Chris keeps suggesting mandarin, which I keep vetoing - but apart from that, everyone can chip in,' jokes managing director Wallwork. …