Dipping duo tantalisingly close to £300k crowdfunding target

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 6 Jul 2017

DIPPING duo Helen Boyle and Claire Ollard are tantalisingly close to completing a successful £300,000 crowdfunding campaign.

The friends, who discovered a passion for savoury snacking at a mutual pal's wedding back in 2009, have gone from farmers markets to supermarkets in an epic nine year journey with fun brand The Dip Society.

Listings in Selfridges, Booths and Ocado has seen production moved from the converted Wold Newton barn to third party manufacturing in Scunthorpe, and now the team has been scaled up after securing private investment last year

Product development work continues at the original base, but taking it to the next level is the absolute focus at present.

Currently at 96 per cent of the target - more than £287,000 - we caught up with the delightful duo, as they reflected on the risk they took in charging into second careers back in 2011, two months on from the May funding launch, as reported.

They made the decision after going from a standing start to producing 500 pots a week. They are now in the thousands. 

Polite conversation at the wedding had turned to party food at a subsequent dinner party, and within a year the idea became a reality. 

Business plans and life savings came together, as they quit successful jobs in the capital to enter the food industry.
        
One half had a bustling fashion career, the other was leading the way on the London independent deli scene.

Helen, originally from Herefordshire, said: "When we tell people how The Dip Society began and what we have risked in order to get it off the ground, the reaction is always brilliant… a combination of delight and utter bewilderment. Transitioning from a 15-year career in fashion and moving to a role where we were starting from scratch was both frightening and exhilarating all at the same time. There was so much to learn in a totally new industry.

"It’s not been plain sailing and the fantastic achievements have not come without their fair share of sticky moments. Starting from scratch does mean sacrifices, not just the financial ones but also your time and energy is 100 per cent focused on making it work – we have very supportive friends and family!”

The Dip Society’s growth is reflective of the UK chilled dip market which has grown 42 per cent in the past five years – now worth £182 million annually – validating their decision to risk it all in the name of dip.

Claire, who is originally from Weston-super-Mare, said: "Taking the leap from a secure and successful career into a new arena, with a new business partner, in the attempt to create a new concept for a market hugely dominated by supermarket own brand was as risky as it sounds! But both Helen and I knew that if we wanted to do this seriously and give it a good crack we had to throw all we had into it - it was that ‘now or never moment’. Six years later we are still growing strong.”

It was a move that brought her to the family farm she had married into, in a tranquil part of the Humber's hinterland, where a family is now being raised too.

Sales indicate that their decision to take the leap and start their second career from scratch was worthwhile; first quarter Ocado sales alone are up 143 per cent year-on-year, and a listing with Budgens has also been secured.

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