We are so thrilled to see Soupologie in You Magazine again, and in a fantastic feature!
In today’s issue, Soupologie co-founder Amanda Argent discusses Soupologie’s success in a six page spread on female entrepreneurs who started up their companies after the age of 50.
Read below, or click click here for the web version.
The superfood soup supremo
NAME: AMANDA ARGENT
In 2012, former marketing specialist Amanda, 54, co-founded superfood soup brand Soupologie with her accountant husband Stephen, after friends suggested their homemade soups were so delicious that they would sell. Soupologie is now stocked in supermarkets and the brand’s first eponymous cookbook has recently been published. The couple live in London and have four grown-up daughters.
Lightbulb moment: When two of our girls turned vegetarian we all started to become more aware of our eating habits. We were buying quite a bit of soup, but when we looked at the ingredients, we realised that any goodness from the vegetables was counteracted by sugar, artificial thickeners and lashings of cream. Some manufacturers use cornflour to create the same mouthfeel of vegetables, while adding as few fresh ingredients as possible.
Stephen has always done the cooking in our family so he began making his own vegetable soups that were healthy and delicious. In 2011 we booked a stall at a local Christmas fair and within an hour all the soups had been sold.
First steps: In 2012 we tried selling in more markets, which was useful to get customer feedback. The reactions made us realise that we needed to be vegan as well as gluten- and dairy-free. Some people said that we would never be mainstream because the soups were so niche. I always took the opposite view: that they had the widest appeal because being vegan they were completely non-offensive – and if people wanted to add meat or dairy, they could.
We have kept true to our beliefs and that has worked really well for us. Then it came down to Stephen’s magic in the kitchen. The girls and I gave him lists of vegetables that we liked, such as spinach and kale, garlic, beetroot and pomegranate and told him to create delicious soups.
The launch: We asked local shops if they would take the soups on sale or return. To our surprise they always sold out and the orders kept getting larger. Once we had linked up with a distributor and quickly became his bestselling soup brand, it was time to start thinking big. We raised money on Crowdcube in 2014 and that gave us the basis to start a proper PR campaign and redesign our labels so that we could increase awareness of the brand.
The age advantage: Maturity is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you have a certain confidence and the finance to take the plunge into a start-up. On the other hand, you have the knowledge of how horribly wrong it can go and the worry of all the responsibilities age brings. That can be an advantage, as investors can take comfort from maturity bringing a sense of accountability. What life experience has also given us is the confidence to delegate. We have surrounded ourselves with a really smart and enthusiastic team of people.
Biggest challenge: I’m certain that there are people of our age who have great ideas and would love to have the courage to try them. There’s very little obvious support for the over-50s – the media is full of stories about young entrepreneurs while older ones often get ignored. Starting a business is a huge leap into the unknown, and to do that, at 50-plus, needs encouragement. It wouldn’t surprise me, however, to discover that mature entrepreneurs had a greater rate of success with their start-ups than younger ones.
Motto: Anything is possible.