Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Reblog: Sir Richard Branson gets Not Dogged with the Ultimate #SausageSelfie & Happy Birthday to Not Dogs!

This blog post was taken from the Not Dogs founders blog 'By Katie & Jane'

Last week we were invited by the lovely team at Virgin StartUp to watch the live finale of Pitch to Rich – a campaign by Virgin Media to award three businesses an amazing package of business support. Nine finalists pitched live to Sir Richard Branson and his judging panel which this year consisted of the inspirational; Jo Malone MBE, Supermodel turned business investor; David GandyVegetarian CEO of the hugely successful Shutterstock; Jon Oringer and founder of Mumsnet; Justine Roberts.

Last year Not Dogs made the live final of Virgin’s Foodpreneur competition which saw us cook live in front of the judges, including Richard Branson so we really felt the nerves of the final few! Last year as the judging panel took Q&As and as we sat furiously scribbling notes on the front row, Richard gave the valuable advice that you should never be afraid to make a fool of yourself to get your brand noticed. Following that, he directed a question at me (Katie) and asked outright what we’d been doing to make fools of ourselves for Not Dogs in the past year. 

By September 2014, just three months since our first event, there was a growing list of things I could mention! We’d named vegetarian hotdogs after ourselves, decorated a food truck in bright purple zig zags and driven it into Middleton Hall (as in physically into the wall of the hall!), only narrowly missing the lake. We had been so busy organising the delivery of 1,500 hotdogs to Coventry, that we’d forgotten where we were going to store them – a shout out here to Bob the freezer man who kindly let us borrow all the freezers in his shop last summer! We’d even bought (wait for this) purple and orange slippers each as a crazy IKEA purchase (this should not have been a priority) and, this one is Jane's favourite - I once pushed the trailer so hard I fell down face first in chicken poo. It was safe to say we left our pride at the door of our little food truck as we embarked on our Not Dogs journey!

Apart from these happenings, we hadn’t actually chosen to go out of our comfort zone to truly make a fool of ourselves and at the prospect of bumping into Sir Richard himself again at another Virgin event, we thought maybe we’d take him up on his advice. We decided we were going to make a fool of ourselves to get our brand noticed with the aim of getting the ultimate #sausageselfie to celebrate our 1st Birthday!

Yep... it took every piece of confidence we had but we dressed up as walking Not Dogs making people laugh all the way from Euston Station to the event in Shoreditch and taking lots of Sausage Selfies with all kinds of people! Our first was Paul O'Grady after Jane spotted him at the station!

The Pitch to Rich event was fantastic and we heard from some great businesses and entrepreneurs. We, as ever, were inspired by Jo Malone who spoke very poignantly about being relentless as an entrepreneur, every single time you want to quit, keep going, because tomorrow the whole landscape can change in just a day – so very true. 

We really enjoyed speaking to vegetarian Jon Oringer who's creation Shutterstock has been going from strength-to-strength since 2003. More standout advice came from stylish investor David Gandy who said when pitching, many investors want to know about the people behind the business and the human elements of the brand rather than simply the figures - something Jane and I have been building within the Not Dogs brand.

Of course Richard wasn’t going anywhere until we’d captured the ultimate #sausageselfie – a lifetime goal for both of us!

This week marked the 1st birthday of Not Dogs… wow what a year. We've grown quicker than we could have ever dreamed of, met some very inspirational people and are building a brand we are so proud of. We can’t tell you how exciting the journey has been so far and how thankful we are to our customers who support us from all over the UK. We couldn’t and wouldn’t be doing this without you all!

We've very excited to be continuing our second summer tour this weekend with our return to Godiva Festival in Coventry, followed by Lovebox and Citadel in London. We hope to meet many more of you over the summer - you can view the full line up at www.notdogs.co.uk

Keep up to date with us on TwitterInstagram & Facebook too!

Here's to a successful year two with tonnes more #sausageselfie photos... Wonder who
can beat the ultimate one with Sir Branson!?

Eat. Sleep. Not Dogs

Katie & Jane x

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