Every time we talk to Lizzie Hodcroft about The Sweet Beet, we can’t help but feel excited about the fun and inclusivity the condiments brand represents. Lizzie has been involved with Newcastle Startup Week from the start. She exhibited & pitched her products at the Natwest Entrepreneur Accelerator Hub on the final day of our 2017 event, then took part in the live ‘Startup Pitches’ on Day 1 & spoke about her personal journey on Day 5 of our event in 2018. We are pleased to say Lizzie will be speaking on Day 1 (‘Inspiration’) of Newcastle Startup Week 2019 to talk about the business lessons she’s learnt & the personal growth she has experienced along the way.
Learn more about Lizzie and her business below…
1. Hi Lizzy, can you please give me a brief overview of your business?
The Sweet Beet condiments are expertly designed to challenge traditional ways of culinary thinking and to excite the taste buds of food lovers across the spectrum. We execute this by leveraging the technical knowledge, passion, experience and ambition that I have for discovery in food and flavour.
The Sweet Beet challenges consumers to make it their own way: go crazy in the kitchen, have some fun, be brave and share with friends, family and the wider community so we can all join in the sociability that food inspires. Food shouldn’t be dull, so we’re fighting back with flavour and by empowering our consumers to be inventive and bold.
2. Who is your target audience and how do you help them?
We are not judgemental foodies, or food snobs. We want everyone to grab a jar, get stuck in and share their experiences with friends, family and with us. All are welcome and all are valued here at The Sweet Beet. We inspire consumers to get creative and fight back with flavour!
3. When was the business established, how many people are in your team & where are they based?
We became a Limited Company in July 2017. There are currently 4 people working on the business, mostly based from Newcastle upon Tyne.
4. What motivated or inspired you to start the business?
As a chef, I got tired of working all the time and getting paid next to nothing… So instead, I decided to work all the time and get paid next to nothing, for myself! I wanted to introduce the flavours that were dear to my heart from my time growing up in Texas and to empower others to have fun with food and flavour.
With The Sweet Beet, I found purpose. I took the challenge with excitement and no forward planning, putting in all of my savings which amounted to about £3,000. With absolutely no idea of what I was doing, I started my entrepreneurial journey – and without knowing it – a path of recovery, self-discovery and enlightenment.
5. Where did you go for help or advice when you first started out?
I was lucky enough to get accepted onto the Natwest Entrepreneur Accelerator very early in my journey. There I was able to connect with other entrepreneurs and gain access to mentors.
6. We think the North East of England is a great place to start or grow a business. Do you agree & if so, why?
The North East is one of the greatest places to start a business in my humble opinion. The startup community is growing fast here with so many different minds coming together to provide support and guidance. Founders actually want to see others doing well and encourage collaboration. I couldn’t think of a better place to be.
It also helps with focus. I find for myself personally, if I was in a place like London, I might be worn down by all the buzz of what others are up to. It would most likely erode my confidence and distract me from my own business. In the North East, I can keep my head down and get on with what I do.
7. Have you had any funding or investment to date & if so, where from? (e.g. Angel Investors, VCs, Govt Grants).
8. How would you like to see the business develop over the coming months & years?
So, I’m not really going to answer this because although I have some very exciting strategies and plans – essentially it all comes down to scaling up, new product development and turning profit.
Instead, I would like to see our business start the conversation and possibly change the way that business is done within the food industry. It’s becoming apparent that although retailers are asking for innovation, what they really want is the same with perhaps a slight difference. It’s such a shame…
9. What business book(s), video(s) or podcast(s) would you recommend people watch?
They should probably check out my website weirdlyrelatable.com
Also – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson (because you’ll certainly have to learn to stop listening to so many ‘experts’ – everyone has a f*cking opinion…)!
Want to know more?
Visit The Sweet Beet’s webshop to browse their selection of condiments and find out where the nearest stockist is in your area.
You can also be part of the Sweet Beet community by following them on Twitter @TheSweetBeetUK, liking them on Facebook at Facebook.com/thesweetbeetUK & following them on Instagram at Instagram.com/thesweetbeetUK.