Pippa Murray, 27, runs all-natural nut butter company Pip and Nut and lives in Hackney. Her business was partly inspired by her love of running – she’s already completed six marathons – and yesterday she ran the London Marathon for the second time.
Q: How did you get into running?
A: I started when I was an Anthropology student at UCL and found that when I was training, I really wanted something fast and full of energy to snack on. I’ve always loved nuts so began taking spoonfuls of peanut butter to fuel my running.
Q: So how did you start making your own butters?
A: I saw that most of the mainstream peanut butter was full of palm oil and cane sugars which I knew weren’t particularly healthy. And I found a lot of the all natural brands a little po-faced so three years ago I began dabbling making my own, buying nuts in bulk and crushing and roasting them, experimenting with flavours like dates, syrup and even salted caramel.
Q: You were working for the Science Museum at the time so how did you make the transition to being a food-preneur?
A: I began taking my butters to markets like Maltby St food market just to see if anyone was interested and after they sold well, I wondered if there was something more in this and began looking into turning it into a proper business. Then I heard about Escape the City – the company that helps people with career changes. They were running competition for an entrepreneur to get help for their start-up. I was thrilled when I won in June 2014.
Q: We hear you spent the summer working in a shed?
A: Yes, as part of the prize, I got to live rent-free in a shed at the bottom of the garden of the Escape the City founders over the summer while I was getting the business together. I left my job and with no bills, I could devote myself to crowdfunding the £120,000 I needed to get it off the ground.
Q: Where and what do you sell now?
A: Our range includes jars of peanut butter, almond butter, coconut-almond butter, honey-cinnamon cashew butter and we also sell them in little sachets designed especially for runners like me as a little healthy energy boost. You can find us in Sainsbury’s, Holland and Barrett, Whole Foods and on Ocado.
Q: You compare running a business with marathon running. How are they similar?
A: You have to be very determined to do both and you definitely experience highs and lows in both and have to dig deep from time to time. There’s also a huge adrenaline high from both when you get it right!