How to single-handedly revolutionise the food industry? Clue: it doesn’t have to involve avocados or the latest vegan trend. When Pippa Murray decided to create her perfect post-run snack, she probably didn’t realise that her kitchen experiments would result in a brand new food category on supermarket shelves.

The best business concepts are always beautifully simple – it’s that lightbulb ‘why didn’t I think of that’ moment. Pip & Nut was born out of a love of peanut butter. Sounds simple, right? The perfect, protein-rich, healthy snack in theory – in practice, it’s often packed full of sugar, not to mention palm oil which is high in cholesterol, plus environmentally-unsound too. Murray decided to create her own blend of nut butter and the rest, well – keep reading and you’ll see!

Why did you launch your own business?

Interestingly I didn’t imagine myself having my own business growing up. I think in some ways I had a lot of the classic traits of an entrepreneur – I’m strong willed and pretty determined once I get an idea in my head. The concept for Pip & Nut came about pretty organically. I was a marathon runner and peanut butter fiend. Whilst on the hunt for products to fuel my training, I spotted a gap in the market for palm-oil-free natural nut butters with a focus on flavour and innovation. So I guess the idea actually came before the desire to start something!

Who helped you out?

The startup food and drink world is a really supportive industry and so many people have helped in one way or another on the journey to making Pip & Nut to what it is today. Friends and family have of course been a big support to me as I grew in fact my Dad loaned me £5,000 to buy my first blender to start making nut butters in my kitchen at home. Other than that I had more professional help from my long term mentor Giles Brook. Giles is a lead investor of Pip & Nut, and as CEO at Vita Coco EMEA amongst an array of other FMCG ventures, his insight and support has been immensely helpful.

Best business advice you’ve been given along the way – and by whom?

It’s actually a really simple one but I don’t think it should be underestimated. Do one thing well which is a mantra held by David Hieatt of Do Lectures. When you are starting out it’s tempting to get distracted and try and do too much at once which can lead to compromising on the overall quality of what you deliver. I think honing down and executing one thing brilliantly is the best foundation to start building a business from.

What problems have you faced along the way?

I think one of the earliest, but most significant challenges I have faced has been securing a factory to product the nut butters. Going back five years ago to before I found our factory partner I was just 25 and had no experience in the food industry. I was essentially approaching these factories with my vision alone and trying to persuade them to take a risk by producing my product. The process of finding the right partner took around eight months which was pretty gruelling. This is when I think my steely determination really came in to play as I don’t think I’d have got through this critical hurdle without it.

How do you feel about women in business today?

It’s fantastic to see so many initiatives encouraging women to start their own business and to rise up in existing ones. For me there have been moments when I have felt conscious of my position as a female founder. For example I felt it was hard to get taken seriously in the male dominated world of manufacturing. However, I feel that as the business has grown, my confidence has grown with it and I now feel able to hold my own in any situation. One thing which I think can hold women back is we naturally tend to play down our achievements instead of claiming the full credit they deserve. This has a number of negative consequences. The self- deprecation could mean a pitch doesn’t quite make the cut or the success of female founded businesses isn’t reflected in the press. By learning to celebrate our achievements women can both flourish in their own careers and inspire other women to do the same.

Favourite Startups?

One of my favourite startups is a glasses brand called Cubitts. They are beautifully made frames with stores all over London. Within the food and drink space one of my favourite brands out there is Ugly Drinks. They are really challenging the status quo when it comes to sugary drinks and introducing a refreshing unsweet sparkling water to UK stores…about time!

Women in business who truly inspire you?

In food and drink alone there are so many inspiring founders. One that stands out for me in Thomasina Miers, founder of Wahaca. With creativity and passion, she’s built a phenomenal Mexican empire: from restaurants to cookbooks to a supermarket range. The excitement she has created around Mexican flavours is truly inspirational.

Tell us about your work life balance?

Startup life, particularly right in the beginning is pretty consuming and it can be challenging to find a balance. I would regularly be working 12-14 hour days. However increasingly I really value the time to switch off , both for my own sanity and because it allows me to think clearly and be creative when I am working. I try and carve out quality time with friends and family and stick to it. I recently lost my phone on a flight which forced me to go ‘offline’ for a while – I actually found it strangely refreshing!

What do you do to relax/when you’re stressed?

Running is a fantastic way for me to clear my head and get my creative juices flowing. Although I’m not running as many marathons as I was pre-Pip & Nut , I still love it and try and get out as much as possible. Other than that food is obviously a huge passion of mine and there’s not much that beats sharing an incredible meal and discovering new restaurants with friends at the weekend.

What are you proudest of and why?

Some of the early moments will always stick out to me as milestones on the journey so far. After such a long road to find a factory, watching the first jar of almond butter roll off the production line felt like an amazing achievement. Winning our listing in Sainsbury’s was another enormous highlight as it really signified the business moving up a gear –I was so thrilled that the Sainsbury’s buyer bought in to my vision and were willing to take a risk on us. Last summer we moved office to a new and improved Nest. We went from a pokey space with no windows in Dalston to our airy new Nest in Shoreditch. We were like an excited bunch of kids running around the new place when we first moved!

Can you run in heels?

I can barely walk in them, let alone run!

For more information and to find stockists, see Pip & Nut’s website. You can also follow the brand @pipandnut.