Our interview series is creating lots of buzz in the startup scene. We had interview with founders of great startups. Recently, we had a chance to interview Boon Koh, co-founder of MeatSnacker, a London based e-commerce startup, who are into meat snacks. Their mission is to bring the best meat snacks in a click.
MeatSnacker is an online shop in the UK providing a great range of meat snacks at amazing prices. They scoured high and low across the UK to bring the best meat snacks, from beef jerky to snacking salami, ostrich biltong to air dried ham. Founded by a seasoned e-commerce veteran, They bring to UK consumers a vast range, great prices, and fast shipping of the meat snacks they love.
1. What motivated you to start your company?
On a holiday to the United States, I was introduced to beef jerky. And not just regular, standard jerky, but amazing artisan beef jerky. It opened my mind. We had nothing like this in the UK that I knew of. When I got back, I tried finding it in supermarkets, delis, and shops. After much searching, I came across small artisan producers across the UK. I wanted to create an online shop, a place where it would be easy for others to purchase the best meat snacks available in the UK, whether it was beef jerky, biltong, or snacking salami.
2. When was your startup founded?
The idea started in late 2014, but the website was officially launched in early 2015.
3. What were you doing before starting this Startup?
I was working full time as VP of Digital Marketing at Barclaycard.
4. How did you come up with the idea of your brand name?
MeatSnacker – I’m not a very imaginative guy, I know! As a new internet business, there are two things that are important. The first is to choose a name that conveys your company and your products. This is important because you don’t have money to spend on expensive 30-second TV ads to explain who you are. The second is that SEO is a critical source of traffic and sales, especially in our case as we didn’t have much money to spend on paid marketing. Ranking highly for the key search terms are important. With a name like Meat Snacker, we were immediately ranking highly for terms like Meat Snacks, which is what we sell.
5. What problem your product, service or concept is going to solve?
MeatSnacker makes it effortless and easy for anyone in the UK to buy their favourite meat snacks. Rather than restricted to the one or two products available in the back aisle of a local supermarket, we stock over 50 different products from other 15 brands, all carefully curated. We usually ship within 24 hours and most of our customers receive their products within 2 working days after order – faster than standard delivery at Amazon.
6. Why did you choose this particular domain or industry?
Meat snacks has seen a renaissance and massive growth in the USA. It is ubiquitous in supermarkets, delis, gyms, and online where it is widely consumed as a casual snack because of its low carbs, high protein content. In the UK, the industry is still very nascent but consumer spending the meat snacks category is growing year on year, and at MeatSnacker we want to be at the forefront driving that growth.
7. What are the challenges that you have faced in your niche industry?
There are two main challenges we face. The first is on the consumer side – meat snacks is still a niche snacking category, so we have to be very targeted in our marketing, to reach existing customers. As we grow, we aim to broaden our marketing to reach new customers, educating them about the benefits of meat snacks and convincing them to try. We are going to aim to grow the category in 2016 and 2017.
The second challenge is the lack of top quality meat snacks in the UK. In the US, it would be possible to have a shop with hundreds of products, as there are just so many great brands and producers out there. In the UK, the industry is still at a very young stage, and quality is not as high. We must have taste tested over a hundred products before settling on the 50+ we currently stock. As we expand, we aim to source brands and products from further afield – Europe and USA.
8. What does a typical day in your office consists of?
As a bootstrapped startup, I have to do everything myself as the founder. From answering customer emails to fulfilling orders, to stacking our warehouse shelves when new product shipments come in. It is a challenge to balance the tactical day-to-day work, while also working on the strategic work that will drive long term growth of the business. The fun bits of the job are the sampling sessions we run internally, where we test out new meat snacks that we’ve discovered.
9. What are your future thoughts about your industry?
I think the meat snacks industry in the UK is on a multi-year growth trajectory. Many big brands, like Jack Links from America, are now focusing more attention in the UK. You have new brands being launched at a faster pace than before, and more and more consumers are being exposed to meat snacks. The future is very bright – and we want to be one of the leading players.
10. Your suggestions for budding and upcoming entrepreneurs?
An idea is only an idea – the most important part is the execution. Run with an idea that can leverage your core strengths. In my case, I have a deep background in eCommerce, digital marketing, and web coding. So this lent well to starting up an online shop.
The second bit of advice is to have effective time management. As a founder, your only asset is time (and a little bit of cash!). So use that time wisely. Once your company starts growing, quickly find the right tools, technology, processes, and new hires to take over work so that you can focus on the most important areas of your business.
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