PROJECT #BEYOUROWN BOSS: RIMI THAPAR
In 2017, Rimi turned down a £50,000 investment deal from Deborah Meaden after appearing on the Dragon’s Den. She didn’t want to part with 30% of her business so she returned home to make LoveRaw work on her own. Now headquartered in Altrincham, near Manchester, the super-mum of two works alongside 9 amazing team members, including her husband, Manav, and juggles parenting with running the business that she has worked so hard to build – tears, tantrums, nappies and all!
A note from Remi
In 2010, after a successful seven-year career in investment banking, I made the difficult decision to leave my job and uproot my life to Spain, where my husband lived. I spent the next two years travelling between there and the UK, coming home as often as I could to visit my father who had suffered a brain haemorrhage.
During this time, I regularly felt tired and had no energy, so I started to question if there really was a correlation between eating well and feeling good. I used my new surroundings as an opportunity to change my eating habits – I shopped at local farmers’ markets and introduced a diet rich in fresh and unprocessed foods, and soon I felt great.
Losing my father really made me question what I wanted and the way I lived. It led me towards a healthier lifestyle, and I discovered a lack of products on the market that were not full of artificial ingredients and preservatives, yet still tasted good. It was frustrating to see so many products with false advertising, so I wanted to create something that was natural, stripped back, honest and transparent.
With this in mind, I launched my own vegan confectionery brand in 2013, with the aim of proving that not all vegan food is made equal, and to put a big focus on the importance of diet and feeling great.
After starting out with a budget of just £600, I wanted to validate my product before investing thousands in it. In order to grow and scale, I raised capital through family and friends, then more recently secured an investment deal with a venture capitalist.
In the same year that I launched my company, I managed to hustle my way into a meeting with a multinational supermarket chain, over-promising my first order of 5,000 units of organic snack bars. I had help from family and friends to make this order happen, whilst working crazy 20-hour days to get up and running.
In 2017, I found myself pitching my business to five multimillionaire investors on a well-known BBC show – one of whom offered me a £50,000 investment deal in return for a 30% stake in my company, however, I stuck to my guns and turned it down – and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I was made to feel small and inadequate about my business and I didn’t defend it enough, which I regret. It took me a while to bounce back from that.
There have been so many bumps in the road, but the one thing I’ve learnt is that if something isn’t working, move on and change up your offering.
As my business has evolved, so has my family. Working around the clock in a fast-growing, dynamic industry can be a strain, especially when you are a mum to two small children; Marni aged four who has just started school, and one-year-old Rui.
It has been a challenge juggling motherhood and being an entrepreneur, however, having children hasn’t hindered my success whatsoever. I regularly bring my kids to work and I’ve even been lucky enough to take them along to investor meetings and work trips abroad. Being a “Super Mum” has made me even more passionate about what I do.
I strongly believe that maintaining a work-life balance is impossible. I decided early on that I wasn’t going to sacrifice the business that I worked so hard to build, so I’ve found a way to include my children and their routine as part of my working day; tears and tantrums included!