9th June 2016
Founder: Tom Tigwell
Tom Tigwell had his lightbulb moment while still a student: blend cold pressed juices with good causes. Here is the story of Mission Juice.
Then it came to me, the idea to blend juices and good causes into one successful business
Restless from jetlag after returning to Bath from Florida, where he had recently gained his undergraduate degree, Tommy Tigwell had his light bulb business moment. “I had just graduated and recently returned to my parents’ house and couldn’t sleep one night. Then it came to me, the idea to blend juices and good causes into one successful business.” Combining his passion for eating right with his desire to do business that had charitable causes at its core, Tommy created Mission Juice, a cold-pressed juice brand.
Tommy went to the US as a teenager on a football scholarship where he enrolled on a business management degree. For four years he studied the theory, practicalities and vision that other entrepreneurs had pursued and developed in order to achieve commercial success. It made Tommy eager to step out of the library and try business and entrepreneurship for himself. His inspiration came during the festive period: “I remember being home for the Christmas break the year before graduation and picking up a pair of ‘Toms’ shoes. I was fascinated by the business model, making money while making something that matters.” It was this fascination that led him to found Mission Juice.
“My very first Mission juices – if you can call them that when they were at such an early stage – were the product of myself, a juicer and a dorm room.” Not content with just his opinion on them, he went door to door in his student accommodation asking others for feedback, and adjusting the recipes accordingly. Guerrilla marketing done, Tommy entered a pitch competition at his university and won, receiving $3,000 worth of funding as his prize.
After moving back to the UK in April, Tommy has been working hard to bring Mission Juice to market. “I’ve had interest in the US but I think the juice market is less saturated here and there is a gap to do something different”, he says. That ‘something different’ is the charitable commitment that is built into the sinews of the business. Each juice is specially formulated and designed to represent the cause for which it stands, including a green juice that will raise funds to tackle deforestation and a pink juice that will contribute to cancer research.
Mission Juice is based at Tommy’s home, “Because of my low level of investment, I need to save as much money as possible”, he says, “So, I’ve set up a home office and although I want to move out eventually, it works for me right now.” He praises the convenience that the home set-up offers and the added working hours in the day that it grants, “I can wake up and get on it early every morning.”
Having set up the business immediately after finishing his studies in the US, Mission Juice has provided a prolonged homecoming of sorts for Tommy, “Working from home has reunited me with my family – it’s been hard leaving the Florida sunshine behind – but growing closer to my family makes it worth it.”
get your product out there, that way, you get a reception and you instantly know if there’s a market for it
With so much to focus on in the early days, Tommy says he’s glad that his product is already well tested. “That’s my number one piece of advice, to get your product out there, that way, you get a reception and you instantly know if there’s a market for it.” However, he does say that he wishes he had acquired more specialist advice before setting up, “The farther down this road you get, the more you realise the need for expert advice. I wish that I had been a legal expert and supply chain expert six months ago so that I could protect my idea and get it bottled faster, but you can’t have everything.”
With challenges to overcome and success to be savoured, Tommy looks to the future with optimism, “I know we have competition but we are coming at the juice market from a different angle and we are doing it for a higher purpose than just profit. That’s a double-edged feel good factor that will keep myself and my future team going.”
While others may fear graduating and jumping straight into their own business, Tommy would have it no other way: “I like doing it and I’ve wanted to do it for so long so it doesn’t even feel like a job.”