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FRUU is September's Featured Business of the Month

Wed, 20 September 2017

Terence Chung won a Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award in August 2016 for his business FRUU, which he started aged 29, after completing a PGCE.
FRUU makes sustainable cosmetics and toiletries using ingredients derived from fruit-processing waste that would otherwise go to landfills.
 
FRUU are helping create a smarter future by demonstrating that it is possible to produce more sustainable cosmetics products by cleverly utilising fruit by-products, and negating the use of carbon-intensive petrochemicals. FRUU believe it’s important to offer consumers an affordable alternative to achieve a low-carbon lifestyle.
 
FRUU won a Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award soon after they started trading, which generated a lot of buzz around their brand and provided Terence with a lot of optimism and confidence to achieve his plans.  The business has just completed a product development phase for two new product ranges, with their existing products now sold in five countries outside the UK. The business is now working to expand their distribution network to Italy and Romania. 
 
Shell LiveWIRE sat down with Terence Chung to catch up with him and to see what's next for FRUU.
 
What was the inspiration behind FRUU?
It is estimated that 15-25 million tonnes of orange waste is generated in fruit-processing factories around the world.  It is a very wasteful process that produces almost as much waste per tonne as products. In the UK, 1.1 million tonnes of fresh fruit is discarded. Using a strategic cost structure and clever formulation, we can incorporate ingredients derived from these waste streams and produce cosmetics and toiletry products that are affordable and effective. After many late nights designing the brand's aesthetics and developing the formula, FRUU was born.
 
How did you get into entrepreneurship? Did you always want to go into business for yourself?
It was a completely random process.  I have always had some crazy business ideas that I would write down every other day but most of the ideas were not feasible for one reason or another.  A few years ago, I had a chance to buy a bulk of goods at a discounted price and started an eCommerce business alongside my day job.  From that, I fell in love with the whole process of creating something from nothing.  I love working on FRUU for the reason that I can combine my love for visual design with my science knowledge to address a global problem. 
 
What challenges did you face when setting up your business?
As a biochemist, I understood the basics of how cosmetics worked but I had no idea how complicated it would be to make a functioning product that people would buy off the shelf.  So, I had to teach myself everything from skin biology, cosmetic technology, product stability to website design and packaging design.  I had about £2,000 to start the business so I had to come up with a lot of ways to reduce the cost of product development and be extremely resourceful.
 
What is your biggest (or proudest) achievement with the business?
Winning the Shell LiveWIRE Award – being a finalist for the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and speaking on London Live about a project that started from our living room. It was a surreal experience.
 
You won a Shell LiveWIRE Award in 2016, how have things changed for you since then?
We have just completed a product development phase for two new product ranges. We are gearing up to release our new products in the market at the moment. We are selling our products in five countries outside of the UK and we are working to expand our distribution network to Italy and Romania too. We will be expanding our production facility at the end of the year. Exciting times ahead!
 
What’s next for FRUU?
We will focus our effort in the next twelve months to extend our market shares and grow our distribution network to dozens of EU countries.
 
Entrepreneurs drive innovation. How do you think this can be used to help create a smarter future?
An ever-growing population and increases in material consumption across the world will put a tremendous strain on our planet's resources and natural habitats. In order to solve this, we as a race will need some serious innovation and new thinking, and entrepreneurs are in the best position to lead and challenge the status quo.
 
What role do you think entrepreneurs will play in the transition to a low carbon society?
Entrepreneurs can be the source of inspiration and fresh ideas to bring about new, low-carbon sources of energy. We have the responsibility to educate the public, whilst thinking of clever ways to produce low-cost and convenient solutions that would help ease the transition.
 
What advice would you give to aspiring young entrepreneurs?
Be VERY resourceful. Think BIG, but don't forget the details. Think about people's needs and desires first – technology and solutions second. Great planning is important, great execution is a necessity.

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