Have a product that you can believe in. It is hard to sell something you are not passionate about.
Give it all you got! I have seen so many get half way there and just cannot push through. Some get 90% of the way there and just give up.
Always be ready for the next opportunity to move up to the next level. Try not to get there too fast. As they say in sports, let the game come to you.
As a part of our series called “5 Things You Need To Create a Successful Food Line or Specialty Food”, I had the pleasure of interviewing David Noll of PRI — Pacific Resources International.
Nearly three decades ago, PRI was the first to introduce Manuka Honey to the USA. Today, Manuka Honey is a billion-dollar industry worldwide, proven to help digestive issues with a natural treatment. And although now 68, Founder David Noll‘s story — and the story of Pacific Resources International — started from before he was even born. Due to birth complications, David entered the world with 23 different allergies and asthma. His father Chuck decided to set out on a personal mission to investigate better nutrition. The Noll’s then did away with white flour, sugar, and processed foods. His son began to flourish. Allergies began to disappear. David moved to New Zealand and while he was visiting the US some beekeeper friends asked him to help them get their honey into the US. PRI started in a blue van before moving to a 600-square-foot health food store and beyond PRI has continued to grow, all while staying true to their homegrown roots. From their business directly with NZ Beekeeping Families to working with the best natural Sea Salt, PRI still works sustainably. PRI, David, and his growing family will continue the tradition of offering American consumers the absolute best New Zealand has to offer.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?
Well, before I arrived on the world stage, life was already a struggle. My mother had to have an ectopic surgery for my twin that did not make it. It took a couple of months before they could figure out that I was still there and that was the reason for my mother’s morning sickness. Having to go through that trial left me compromised with all the stress and medications before being born!
Can you share with us the story of the “ah ha” moment that led to the creation of the food brand you are leading?
That moment came when the qualities of Manuka honey were discovered and took it from a bakers honey that was hard to sell to a billion dollar industry.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that? What are the most common mistakes you have seen people make when they start a food line?
They try and do too much at once instead of taking the time to crawl before they run. They focus too much on branding, marketing costs instead the quality/image of their products. It does work for some, but it is the exception and never the rule. And there are a million advisers out there with information that are happy to take your money for their so called “advice.” The best way to success is to have a passion for the quality of your products and build from there.
What can be done to avoid those errors?
Take your time; believe in your products’ ability; and, set you goals. If I had listen to all the so called experts on how to do things, I would not be here today.
Let’s imagine that someone reading this interview has an idea for a product that they would like to produce. What are the first few steps that you would recommend that they take?
Research the area that it is going into and ask why is this product better than every thing else that is out there. Unless you have tons of startup cash, the product has to be unique to find a path of success these days.
Many people have good ideas all the time. But some people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. How would you encourage someone to overcome this hurdle?
Prepare yourself for a fight and get in shape for it. We all have great ideas, but few have the resolve and energy to push a product from zero to success. And, don’t be afraid to fail. It is never a set back but a set up for future success. I have an old saying, “A No is just a Yes in disguise!”
There are many invention development consultants. Would you recommend that a person with a new idea hire such a consultant, or should they try to strike out on their own?
They can be helpful but you will have to very choosey. My experience was that most are a waste of time and money. They may have great experience but does it apply to your success. Most of business is common sense, and if you don’t have it, don’t start. There is so much free information available these days from our friend Google that you can figure most things out for free. But, you will need a good accountant and most likely a good lawyer. At the top of most businesses, there is always an entrepreneur that is or has driven the business.
What are your thoughts about bootstrapping vs looking for venture capital? What is the best way to decide if you should do either one?
Depends on if you are looking short term, long term or a quick in and out. Venture capital can be great if everything works out. But you really need to have all you ducks in a row and be certain of achieving certain goals. If there is a solid base that is working and cash is the answer to sustained growth, VC can be a good route. But, there are always strings. I am boot straps long term person that when necessary, bring in partners that can get behind the vision in an active way.
Can you share thoughts from your experience about how to file a patent, how to source good raw ingredients, how to source a good manufacturer, and how to find a retailer or distributor?
I have never filed for a patent. One of the reasons I did import New Zealand products was that it is not hard not find great manufactures that believe in their products and take the time to produce high quality items. It does not take long when talking to a manufacture to find out if they love their business or just in it for the money. Retailers and distributors are means to an end and it costs to do business with them. Distributors are the worst these days than ever before as they cut their margins so tight to try and win business that they are making no money. They then try and make you make up the short fall of their bad decisions. With the advent of Websites you can get your feet off the ground before venturing into distribution. More and more retailers are willing to buy direct not getting the service from the distributors. To start, always pick retailers and distributors that are exclusive to the area your products work in.
Here is the main question of our discussion. What are your “5 Things You Need To Create a Successful Food Line or Specialty Food” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Have a product that you can believe in. It is hard to sell something you are not passionate about.
- Find people that are liked minded to work with that are already successful. You can learn a lot from people that know what they are doing.
- Give it all you got! I have seen so many get half way there and just cannot push through. Some get 90% of the way there and just give up.
- Be realistic at the chances of the product and it’s competition. I have started a few items that I liked that just did not compete well.
- Always be ready for the next opportunity to move up to the next level. Try not to get there too fast. As they say in sports, let the game come to you.
Can you share your ideas about how to create a product that people really love and are ‘crazy about’?
For me it was easy. I loved New Zealand and the high quality products that are produced there. These product not only taste good and fun to use, but are also good for you.
Ok. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
I am blessed to have products that actually help people improve their health and have a better life style. And, I always share that with as many as possible. I spend hours with people that have digestive issues helping them to untangle the web of poor diets, stress, and over use of antibiotics. Helping the rebuilding process with Manuka Honey. We also support “ Save the Bees” program. As they say “No bees, No food!”.
You are an inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
This is simple and has been around for many years and always works with the freedom we all have in America no matter who you are. Always be honest and work hard where you are until you can work hard for what you love doing. All of us have a special gift that helps improve the place/society we live in. Doing it for the money may help but doing because you love it and make money is the best.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why?
He or she might just see this if we tag them. Business: President Trump, Sports Michael Jordon. One of the Home Depot founders. All of these have done it the hard way and been successful.