Meet Jolyon of Juice
Jolyon Bennett is founder and CEO of Juice Mobile Phone Accessories.
A fascinating character, he runs his business in his own inimitable yet effective style, last year winning Ellacotts Business Person of the Year 2020.
Jolyon creates jobs for local professionals and even in growth there is no plan to move outside the local hub. He has a strong focus on employee wellness, with a wellness programme including free yoga sessions and beauty treatments in the office.
Juice has become the first mobile phone accessories manufacturer to completely remove single-use plastic from its packaging and in Jolyon’s words: “I’m not trying to be sustainable; I’m just trying to do the right thing.”
He is taking a hit for the environment by not increasing the pricing on his eco packaging so as not to put customers off buying it and to encourage more sustainable shopping.
1.Can you explain to us how the idea for your business came to you and how the whole process kicked off?
I’ve worked in mobile phone accessories since graduating from University. I chose working in mobile phones, and in sales specifically, because I was told that was where the most money was and when I came out of uni I was totally broke. I’ve always been quite forthright and always had my opinions on how things should be done and so throughout my career, I very sadly got sacked a few times and so juice® was born out of the last time that I got sacked! I realised that the only way I could possibly guarantee not being fired again was to start my own business, and that’s how it all kicked off.
2.What were the biggest challenges you faced when bringing the idea to market?
Getting people to listen to me. juice® was a completely cold start-up; we had no base to go after, we were just calling retailers and hoping that they would call us back. It was a completely cold, ground-up start up so the biggest challenge was actually getting in front of people and getting them to return my calls. I launched the business in one of the worst possible months – August. With the experience I have now working with retailers, I quickly learned that by August, the whole of the Christmas market is done.
It is so tough to breakthrough that initial layer and so difficult to get your first break, your first audience, and especially difficult to do that when it’s the time of year when Christmas is totally done, and retailers are just looking to trade out their decisions.
3.Where do you think good ideas come from and what inspires you?
This is a ginormous question so it’s kind of like asking creative people where creativity comes from. If you really want the honest answer, then if you take the Latin meaning of ‘inspire’, it means breath of God. Well I don’t think that God breathes into me to give me ideas about making colourful mobile phone chargers, but I do think that inspiration and creativity come from within. It comes when people are completely calm, and I think that intuition and creativity are intrinsically linked. When you quieten your mind and when you relax and move away from trying to force something, that’s when the best ideas will appear to you and you need to be very gentle with your mind in order to be effectively creative.
4.What are your company’s values and why are these things important to the business?
OK, so one of my personal ethics or standards or, I suppose what I would probably call an ideology, is that if business is done well then everyone can win. What I mean is that staff can get paid a reasonable and fair wage for the work they are doing, exceptional work will be rewarded with exceptional bonuses and exceptional pay, people have a fair opportunity to move up through the business, but they also have an opportunity to move out of the business if they don’t perform.
Our customers should be making enough money from supplying the juice® products and consumers should be getting a good deal when they choose to buy a juice® product from the retailer. The factories that we trade with should absolutely be making a decent profit out of the transactions that we do which enable them to pay, look after and treat their workers in the factories in South China with respect and with dignity and give them a decent wage. So everyone in the entire supply chain and process should be winning and I stand by that. I believe that is something that juice® as an organisation is something we push towards. I also think that we need to be positive.
We take every set back that we get as an opportunity to learn from and to grow and yes of course we have loads of setbacks, every organisation does, but we never ‘lose’ because we treat it as an opportunity and that’s something I’m very proud of and is embedded in my business.
Finally we are candid; we tell the truth, right from our management team at the very top of the business to the junior staff that work in the picking area of the warehouse. We tell each other the truth and we do it with a smile. Life is too short so tell the truth, have fun, work hard and be successful.
5.What is next for your brand?
That is the million-dollar question! We want juice® to continue to be a everything that it is, which is a brand that is fun, engaging, stylish, technology led, to expand into other areas. We want juice to move heavily into the TWS Bluetooth audio market and we also want to take juice internationally. We want to take our flavour of electronics and push it further out into every corner of the planet. The next stop for juice® is world domination!
6.What one piece of advice would you have for someone just starting out on their business journey or currently going through a setback?
There is no such thing as a set back and there is no such thing as missing something or failing at something. My one piece of advice to someone starting out in business is ‘take everything as an input and take everything as an opportunity to receive.’
What I mean by this is, even if you receive feedback that your product is rubbish, your service is awful, your prices are too high, you’re scruffy, you were late for the meeting and so on, you could walk away and think okay, I’m a loser. Or, you could say thank you so much, that’s a gift and now I’m going to go away and work on my prices and my proposition and I will improve. I won’t be late for the meeting and next time I’ll dress in a suit. If you do that and you take every single piece of feedback, or set back, or challenge that you have as an opportunity to improve, then I think that means that you have won.
7.What resources and tools do you use to remain productive or up-to-date on industry trends etc?
At juice® we use obsession; we are constantly looking at the market and constantly understanding consumer trends. My team, and me, we are always engaged with our consumers, whether it’s our friends or whether it’s a stranger. We try to understand exactly what they’re getting out of their product, looking at how our range of mobile chargers or power accessories can support someone in their lifestyle and talking to people about it.
Of course we look at data and we buy big data out of market and from our retailers where we look at what is selling, what doesn’t sell, what length cable works, what doesn’t work, what finish etc and we’re constantly trying and touching and seeing what works and trying to be data led. But the real thing that keeps us up to date and in touch with the market is our absolute obsession and pure focus on mobile phone charging accessories, TWS headphones and speakers. So while big data is wonderful, obsession is the tool that we use. It’s really all about being interested in what you do.
If you would like to include anything else about your journey, plans for the future or general information you would like us to cover, please include here:
Last year juice® became the first tech brand to remove all single use plastic from their packaging and use only recycled materials to make 100% recyclable packaging.
Later this year they are launching the world’s first plant-based plug which will be biodegradable.
Jolyon always states that he is not being sustainable, he is just doing the right thing!
Two of their latest products have been awarded the WHICH? Magazine’s Best Buy.
More info on Juice Global Ltd
Brand Name: Juice
LinkedIn handle: Juice
Twitter handle: @JuiceOfficialUK
Facebook handle: Juice
Instagram handle: juiceofficialuk