Healthy muesli moves into supermarkets

LAURA WALTERS
Last updated 05:00 29/03/2014

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Pucka Products' bircher muesli was started after Samuel Tyler's triathlon buddies continued to steal his homemade pre-race snack.

The 28-year-old set up the business about two years ago and was just starting to gain traction with his healthy breakfast products.

Tyler says his products are now stocked in 30 locations including cafes in central Auckland, Nosh supermarkets in Auckland and some New World supermarkets.

Pucka is moving into more New Worlds at the moment, with the hope of eventually being stocked in all New Worlds in New Zealand.

Tyler says the next step is to move into Wellington's Moore Wilson's supermarkets this year and then begin exporting.

Tyler would not say how sales were going in terms of numbers but he says he has a "loyal following".

Pucka currently has four flavours of muesli but plans to launch other healthy products in the near future, he says.

Why did you start your own business?

I'm a bit of a health nut and have always liked the idea of being able to make people's lives a bit healthier. I enjoy the challenges problem solving brings to the table and this is part of everyday life now.

What have been the biggest obstacles in starting up your business?

The biggest obstacles have occurred when prospective customers or suppliers don't take you seriously. Don't give up, learn the art of being polite but ever-persistent.

Name one thing you've learnt in your business journey so far and from whom?

Hustle everybody. Being small, you will be at the bottom of everyone's list, so keep on top of them or you will lose weeks waiting. I worked in London for a startup for two guys who spent their days ensuring tasks were completed on time. This immersion was great.

What are your business and personal goals?

Personally, family and friends are the most important ingredients in life.

In business, to make a readily available range of real, honest food products full of natural energy. There is no need for people to skip meals or fuel themselves with over-processed junk.

Do you have any tips for budding entrepreneurs?

When people say "no" they really mean "yes", so be persistent. I love Will Smith's Running & Reading principle: running teaches you to persevere when things get hard. And people have lived before us, so there are no new problems. Read the stories they've written or get out and network to find your own solutions.

What have you sacrificed to be an entrepreneur?

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Free time - you're kidding yourself if you think this is a lifestyle choice! Your mind thinks business 24/7. A decent living wage is something you have to be prepared to sacrifice in the beginning.

Are you prepared for failure?

Going into any situation, you must know what the worst case scenarios are. Weigh it up. How can you mitigate the risk and build your confidence at the same time? Maybe the fear of failure gets you across the line, just like sport.

Who is your "business guru", or who do you admire, and why?

Gary Erickson, the Founder of Clif Bar Inc. His White Road-Red Road philosophy about the destination versus the journey is something everyone should familiarise themselves with.

Getting to where I am - still at the bottom of the hill, but heading the right way - has in no small way been attributed to some very able assistance by a range of successful business mentors. So get out and network.

What do you do in your downtime?

Play with numbers. I look through number reports or play with my son's Lego number train.

What has been your biggest disappointment since you started on your journey of establishing your business?

People not doing what they've said they were going to do.

Where is your favourite place to relax?

Whangamata, undisputedly the best beach in the world. I've never been one to relax, but I do enjoy getting out for a run or swim to unwind.

What is one thing readers would be surprised to learn about you?

My wife really wanted to go to New York, so I took her to Iceland - White Road-Red Road.

- BusinessDay

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