Purdy & Figg, Beans Coffee Club and Two Brooks have won the ‘Ones To Watch’ at the prestigious Family Business of the Year Awards 2021 organised by Family Business United (‘FBU’)
In 2018, following several years of researching and testing natural cleaning methods and recipes, best friends NHS Nurse Purdy Rubin and horticulturist Charlotte Figg began hosting workshops to show people how to create their own natural cleaning products from home. Both in their sixties, they have been friends for over 20 years, and share a passion for using natural products and reducing plastic waste in their homes.
The business grew and they continued hosting workshops over the next two years, teaching hundreds of people to make their own natural cleaning products. Many of their clients were encouraging them to launch their own range of products, so in late 2019 they started putting the wheels in motion.
When the pandemic hit in early 2019, Purdy & Figg was faced with months of cancelled workshops. The company had even been about to launch its cleaning retail line but lost the entire supply chain capacity to the high street supermarkets due to Covid-19 demands. Ever the entrepreneur, Purdy Rubin saw her friends in hospitals around the country complaining about dry hands from poor quality hand gels and realised there was a huge opportunity right in front of them.
Charlotte and Purdy were able to pivot their business and focus on producing a beautiful, eco-friendly, natural hand sanitiser that moisturises while it protects. It was at this point that Purdy’s two sons; Charlie and Jack Rubin, came on board as co-CEO’s to help launch and scale the retail side of the business. Rachel Rubin, Purdy’s daughter, also joined the business as Head of Customer Service, overseeing customer relations and managing the company’s social media channels. Age is clearly not a barrier to launching a business and this one is already going from strength to strength.
Winning this award means a lot to Purdy & Figg. As Purdy Rubin explains, “We are thrilled to be acknowledged for this award as being a family business is one of the most important aspects of our DNA as a company and it is at the heart of everything that we have done. Our brand is all about empowering consumers to choose products that nurture and uplift themselves and their families, both on the go and in their homes and we are delighted and honoured by this recognition.”
Beans Coffee Club is a coffee subscription club which offers people a way to explore freshly roasted coffees from a variety of independent coffee roasters in a simple, flexible and risk-free way. With over 100 coffees from 13 independent roasters across the UK, they curate a personalised selection for customers based on their taste and brewing preference. Beans Coffee Club started out with sales from a converted tuk-tuk outside a train station in 2010 before the business was formally launched in June 2019.
Founded by Fiona and Richard Jones, this family firm is taking off with their innovative approach and passion for the business. Like many entrepreneurs at the start of their journey they have to make use of time when they can, often burning the night oil when their daughter is sleeping to get everything done but the brand is growing and their desire to succeed is palpable.
As Fiona explains, “Having grown this self-funded business which spans two generations, we are delighted to win this award. We are proud to accept this award on behalf of the business in recognition of the passion and strength of all the people behind it and the roasters that we champion too.”
Two Brooks started out with the love of sparkling water and the idea of creating a business. Managing Director, Fabio Bruni, worked in M&A for 4 years before calling it quits and setting up his own venture. Toying with the idea to create an alcoholic drink centred around sparkling water, Fabio became increasingly attentive to the meteoric rise of similar products in the US. This only confirmed his drive and intent and he immediately got to work. At this time, he onboarded his sister, Francesca Bruni to the team and together created a dynamic duo.
After many months of building the company, the duo finalized a recipe and a design for their cans, as well as giving the company its memorable name: Two Brooks. They set out for a big launch in the early 2020 after roughly 9 months of preparation but were met by an unprecedented global event: the worldwide pandemic. As businesses closed downs, and people locking up in their homes, there wasn’t much to look forward too. But the pair rolled up their sleeves and were determined to launch regardless. A full 180 was necessary to adapt their launch to the current climate, which they did successfully in the summer of 2020 – the date now etched forever in our family’s history.
As the end of the summer neared, a new addition to the team came along, in the shape of their youngest brother, Paolo Bruni. Paolo, after a stint working in a start-up over in the US, came back home to form the final family trio. Now the three siblings are on a mission to revolutionise the way we drink, not only in the UK but also around the world.
Their enthusiasm is infectious and they are certainly driven and passionate about what they do. As Francesca Bruni explains, “We love what we do and working together as siblings is really special. To have gone from a dream to an award-winning business within the space of a year, and a year that was engulfed by a global pandemic is almost unbelievable. Team work really does make the dream work, even more so when you are working with your nearest and dearest too.”
As Paul Andrews, founder of FBU and organisers of the awards explains, “Family businesses are the engine room of the UK economy and these awards celebrate their contribution and the ‘Ones to Watch’ award seeks to recognise young family firms starting out on their journey which struck a chord with the business.”
“The past year has been difficult for many businesses so starting out a venture during a pandemic is clearly an added challenge for young ventures that needs to be overcome. Our three winners are clearly passionate about their products and finding new ways to engage with customers and potential customers. Starting out on their journeys the entrepreneurial spirit is clear to see and their desire to build on the family element of what they are doing is clearly evident too.“
“All three of our winners are looking to grow their businesses and we look forward to following the next stages in their journey too. Hopefully, winning this award will give them a boost at the end of what has been a clearly difficult year for them all,” concludes Paul.