Name: Tracey Hogarth.

Age: 49.

What is your business called?

Nudie Snacks.

Where is it based?

Stewarton, East Ayrshire.

What does it produce?

The firm is a family-owned and operated producer of plant-based snacks. They’re high in fibre, high in protein and low in sugar.

To whom does it sell?

Independent retailers and consumers all over the UK. I’ve also got ambitions to sell in Germany, Italy, France and Spain in the not too distant future.

What is its turnover?

The pandemic has been tough for us and we’re currently trading at 35 per cent of our pre-pandemic revenue volumes. Thankfully we’re nowhere near where we were at the beginning of the pandemic, and are optimistic that sales are moving in the right direction online and will bring the business back to where it was and beyond.

How many employees?


When was it formed?


Why did you take the plunge?

I was originally in the world of coconut water. My business partner at the time and I felt there was a real lack of tasty plant-based snacks available on the market. We wanted to develop a range that was functional but more importantly tasted amazing compared to other less health-conscious snacks. We’ve just launched our new cauliflower crisps which have proved a huge hit with our customers across the UK.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

I worked in property sales and letting before starting the business. I wasn’t a good fit for the world of property sales. I like processes and data more, and the environment was too highly emotionally charged for me. People can be scary when they don’t get the right price for their house or if they lose out on a property sale. Deep down I knew it wasn’t for me.

At the time I was working in property I was asked to invest and join in operating a company that was developing a new coconut water. I don’t like fizzy or carbonated drinks, and when I tried coconut water for the first time 11 years ago I was amazed, and thought there was real potential to develop a brand in this space. I was part of the coconut water category in its very beginnings, before I decided to branch out on my own and develop a line of snacks.

It took about six to eight months to develop the first product. This involved back and forth with different variations on flavourings to get them right. It also meant getting the texture right and then using the tasting panels before we launched properly out to market. Our cauliflower crisps took significantly longer as we had been working on those for the past two years trying to get it just right.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

It might be a cliché but every day is a school day for me, and I genuinely mean that.

What was your worst moment?

Before the pandemic we were selling snacks and food boxes to offices across the UK. Our sales dipped with the closure of offices and other workplaces during lockdown. The pandemic made us sit up and reassess how we were going to adapt our business model and survive. Our sales fell by 95% after the March 2020 lockdown began, and we knew we needed to find a solution.

We switched our focus to selling on Amazon and have seen revenue begin to grow again in the months since. Selling online has been a blessing and has allowed us to continue growing throughout the pandemic. The key to this growth has been the ability to put our products in front of a huge online audience. We’re still learning how to make the most out of selling online, but we’re confident that Amazon will allow us to grow during these difficult times.

What are your ambitions for the firm?

I would like to grow the Nudie brand to a position where it’s recognised on a global level with customers around the world.

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

Although government has put funding behind businesses to help them get through the pandemic, it is just not enough unfortunately. The stop-start of the economy has had a devastating effect on the high street and with it, consumer confidence. A number of our biggest customers in the UK are out of home retailers such as café chains who have just taken the decision to remain closed. I also supply the food service and hospitality sectors which continue to be ravaged by the pandemic. I have stocks of products that are no longer viable to sell onwards, which represents tens of thousands of pounds that we have lost that we will never get back.

Add in to the mix the additional challenges getting fresh material into the UK due to Brexit delays and Covid, for example shipping costs, and many UK businesses will be in a very painful position in the next few months. Some will inevitably give up. At the moment we’re dealing with a perfect storm for businesses to contend with. Both Westminster and Holyrood need to significantly increase the assistance to businesses like mine in order for us to survive in 2021 and beyond.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

Listen to people who know better and learn from them.

Sir Tom Hunter, who is one of my favourite mentors, once said to me: “If you are going to fail, fail fast and fail cheap.” I always have that in the front of my mind when making business decisions.