Make it or break it: Joe Benn @ Ugly talks top tips for startups

04 Feb 2019 | Interviews

Make it or break it: Joe Benn @ Ugly talks top tips for startups

By Laura Giffard

Joe Benn, Co-Founder and UK MD of Ugly Drinks lives in Stoke Newington, London with three friends. His happy place is an Italian restaurant in Holborn called Ciao Bella.

What does your typical day look like?
My days are so varied given the growth of the business and any given projects that are happening at the time. I can be visiting flavour houses one day and meeting major customers the next. But consistently they involve a lot of coffee!

What do you do after work?
Usually it involves eating! I’m either cooking something or hitting a restaurant. I spend all my money on food.

Tell us about you and your business.
I am someone who has always had a passion for food, drink and entrepreneurship and so starting a business in this space was an inevitability. When I met my Co-Founder Hugh (whilst we were both working at Vita Coco) it was only a matter of time before we split off to do our own thing. Ugly was born out of a desire to challenge the status quo and disrupt the drinks industry. We’re here to tell The Ugly Truth in everything that we do and consumers seem to really relate to that transparency.

They say year 3 is when you make it or break it as a start-up. Have you ever come close to breaking it? What’s your single piece of advice for making it?
Ha! We’ve come close to breaking it lots of times! I think most businesses have. If you’re not putting yourselves in a position where you’re challenging yourself and your business then you’re probably not moving quickly enough or disrupting enough. In terms of ‘making it’, we subscribe to the theory of ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ (which is a book by Ryan Holiday). Basically, all the most challenging moments in our story so far have led us to better outcomes and strengthened our resolve and our determination to keep telling The Ugly Truth!

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