Founder Interview | Ed Hauck @ The Curators
The Curators are a collective of flavour fanatics led by food-loving friends, Max and Ed.
Simply put, we love food and we set out to create a brand that is all about great flavour and snacks you can as easily share with friends over a cold pint as you can coming out of the gym after a work out.
We are on a mission to champion "British” production and leading the market on innovation, sustainability and environmental stewardship.
Our snacks are made with premium ingredients that deliver big bold flavours and available in sustainable packaging that leads the category. From British Silverside Biltong to our Sensationally Seasoned Almonds we are bringing some foodie flair to serious snacks.
(Click Here to Buy The Curators Snacks)
Why did you become interested in the world of snacks & drinks?
Snacks are awesome!
What’s not to love. We are shameless foodies at heart, the entire team, and every one of us loves working in the industry. There is a degree of convenience to snacking that makes it possible to take a great flavour inspiration or a product idea and get it to a large number of people quickly.
We can be really creative too, as well as hanging out with some incredible friends across the industry. As much as we’d love to run a great burger shack or a pit cue its a different set of skills.
What inspired you to do what you do?
The food hospitality industry and hugely creative food scene in the UK.
Over the last 5 years or so, the UK has become one of the most exciting places in the world for eating out and that has definitely inspired Max and I to want to create a brand that is all about great flavour and influenced by the food scene.
Our Korean BBQ Jerky for example, is inspired by our love of Bao and Bibimbap!
What was your Eureka Moment when you knew you had a product which you could take to market?
It was probably about 3-4 months into the development process and we were in the factory a lot trying to perfect then process.
We had a couple of moments where were we sure we had an absolute winner.
Fast forward 2 years and we have a brand new process for our Jerky and a range of Biltong and Nuts too.
That’s the food industry for you - things move and change very fast!
What current & future trends does your product meet?
Ultimately we are producing healthy snacks, and that will continue to be an important trend at a macro level as consumers are more and more informed about their diet and nutrition. But we always wanted to be about flavour first and that is a trend as timeless as it gets. For us, food needs to taste awesome or else what is if for!!
What did you do before starting your company & what made you take the leap into entrepreneurship?
Before we set up The Curators, my business partner Max was running a hugely successful snacks business called Metcalfe’s which is obviously hugely helpful!
I met Max during a brief period advising small and medium size brands in food and drink about their people strategies (hiring, trying etc) but I needed a new challenge. I had been involved in a start up before and was mad enough to have another go!
What has been the hardest part of starting your business?
Running a small business is hard, there is no denying that and in the adversity is the way, as the saying goes.
Its a lifestyle as much as a job to be honest and you have to be prepared to make that level of commitment as there isn’t a normal day or normal hours, especially as an owner / founder.
The hardest thing for us was early on in our journey with some production dramas that cost us nearly a year of really building and growing, but that’s behind us and a distant memory now.
What has been the BEST mistake you’ve made & why?
Our best mistake…that’s a great question.
I am not sure about mistakes, but I would say that in a strange way this recent crisis has been really good for the business.
We’re very lucky to have an incredible core team who we’ve kept going throughout the crisis and they have responded brilliantly.
We’ve innovated, stripped out the 'BS' distractions and we’re growing. I really believe great business are born in a crisis and this is hopefully case in point.
What keeps you motivated?
Building a brand that we love and others love too, making it happen for Ellie and Toby (our team) and hopefully creating opportunities for my family from any success we might have with the business.
What do you do in your spare time outside of business life?
I don’t have any spare time. Ha, jokes. Its all about my family to be honest, and the occasional game of golf or a cold beer with my brothers and friends.
What do you think are the key skills required to make yourself & your business a success in the world of snacks & drinks?
I think it comes down to resilience and determination as it does require some effort to build a business.
Be really clear on what you stand for, what your brand stands for and keep it simple.
Many businesses over-complicate things and often its about doing the simple things well on a regular basis.
Despite all that, fundamentally the team build the business not you, so just hire incredible people with talent and energy and it will happen.
What would you say is your biggest strength?
I think have a lot of energy and drive (which I need an outlet for so a start up food business is as good as anything!).
What would you say is your biggest weakness & how do you look to overcome this?
Oh man, where do I start.
I’m a bit of a chaotic bundle off energy at times but I am very aware of it and have people close to me who can try and direct my creative energy in the right places.
I’m also quite scatty at times so again, at the age of 42 I’ve probably learnt some tactics to cope with that.
If you could sit down with yourself for a pint/glass of wine/coffee this time last year.....what would be the 3 most important tips you would give yourself knowing what you know now?
Sorry, no looking back and no free passes for the future, that version of me would have to figure it out.
Just keep talking and learning and keep going - it will happen!
Any plans or predictions you can share with us for the rest of 2020?
I don't think anyone can predict the future right now it’s a really strange and tough time.
However, I do predict big things for our sector, tons of innovation and lots of opportunity. There will be some massive challenges but I think there will be more opportunities.
Packaging is going to be huge for the sector, so check out our new range of nuts packed in fully recyclable packaging made from paper!