When you consider that “It’s better to fail than to never have tried at all” is the motto of Gemma Pond, founder of no&more it’s clear from the outset that she’s cut out for the entrepreneur life.
Gemma launched no&more – a delicious blend of natural spring water, complete with a kiss of herbal extracts and natural flavours – following a frustration with the lack of flavoured water options when she was anywhere but in her own home. She found that most drinks, other than still water, contained huge amounts of sugar and preservatives. Tired of being sucked into marketing ploys of drinks that claimed to be healthy but in fact hid a multitude of sins in the small print of their label, Gemma decided to take matters into her own hands and created her own range of flavoured water – a desire that then peaked when she became a mother concerned with her son’s health and dietary options.
Gemma has built her brand from scratch, captured the attention of leading media publications including Women’s Health, Marie Claire and Grazia as well as successful securing deals to have her product stocked in WHSmith, Boots, health shop Holland & Barrett and many more.
Here Gemma chats with The Style Edit about her journey in the entrepreneurial world so far.
What were some of the biggest struggles you faced in setting up and running your own business? How did you overcome these?
The biggest struggle was the fear of failing and going into an industry I had no real experience of. However, I now believe that that’s actually been my biggest asset.
If I knew what I know now, I think that I’d question venturing into the drink business.
I’m also dyslexic and with all of us communicating over email I had a fear of being judged by people before I’d even been given the opportunity to meet with them. Determined not to let my dyslexia get in the way, I used online portals like grammarly which allowed me to construct emails and not worry about my spelling or sentence construction.
How do you ensure your product stands out against the noise of the rest of the industry?
By being honest and authentic. We’re still the only still water in the UK that uses extracts. We have a true voice and a true product.
What’s been the most surreal moment of your entrepreneurial journey with no&more?
Everyday! But if I were to think of one key moment, it would be when I was going on holiday with my family and saw us on the shelves at Heathrow Airport. That was a pretty surreal moment!
What’s your biggest strength as a businesswoman?
Being honest and transparent. Making decisions quickly and never looking back. Making mistakes (which I love) because my mistakes teach me so much!
What do you think has been the key to your success so far?
Working hard, being different and brave.
How has the brand evolved since its early days?
Lots! From slight alternations in our extract flavours to the rebranding the bottle. And from being just me and our co-founder Christine, infusing in our kitchens to us now having a small team of people.
What makes you feel empowered?
Change – and people who aren’t scared to take on the industry that frustrates them.
What’s your greatest passion?
Wellbeing. It’s one of the main reasons I started no&more to begin with. It’s something I’ve been intrigued by for over 15 years, and I love how the wellbeing movement is creating such a noise and making people choose to make lifestyle changes.
How did your previous role as a property developer prepare you for your role as founder of no&more?
I think working with frank individuals that say what they think gives you thick skin. As a founder you need this, as it helps you prepare for the rejection that comes.
Where did the name no&more come from?
We’re a brand that wants to encourage people to say no to the thing’s they don’t want to do and do more of the things that they do. Also from a product point of view, we have no sugar, no sweeteners, no preservatives and we offer more choice in flavoured water, more healthy hydration.
Describe your brand in three words.
Honest, balanced, kind
How do you see the brand evolving in the future?
We have so many exciting things in the pipeline for next year but if I was to have a dream, I’d love to create a wellness brand that offers good honest products and that encourages you to live well.
What advice would you pass on to aspiring female entrepreneurs?
Trust your gut, we have great intuition. I always think to myself what is the worst that can happen? Which is you fail. My motto is that I would rather fail then to have never of tried at all. Be brave, bold and honest. Always say what you think.
What’s been your biggest takeaway from setting up your own business?
You never switch off or let go as it’s always on your mind. You work the hardest you have ever worked but the rewards are so worth it. You do need to learn to manage your time and find the balance. I’m still looking for the balance between being a wife/mum/entrepreneur – if anyone has found it please let me know!