Paul Si­mon find sout what drives en­tre­pre­neur Paddy Bish­opp

Paddy Bish­opp, co-founder of Paddy & Scott’s, is every inch an en­tre­pre­neur – driven by suc­cess, am­bi­tious... and rest­less. Paul Si­mon talked to him about his next ven­ture

EADT Suffolk - - INSIDE -

Beans to bub­bles

PADDY Bish­opp’s busi­ness ca­reer, and in­deed his life more gen­er­ally, reads a lit­tle like a breath­less Boy’s Own story.

Half of the epony­mous Paddy & Scott’s, al­ready a well known UK brand of this cen­tury, he seems to move from one ex­cit­ing ven­ture onto another with barely a pause taken or a breath in­haled.

It’s ap­pro­pri­ate, there­fore, that his speak­ing style is suit­ably well-paced, ideas and as­pi­ra­tions tum­bling out like a page-turn­ing ad­ven­ture novel. We start with his lo­cal roots and close iden­ti­fi­ca­tion with the county.

“I am a very proud Suf­folk boy, and hav­ing been here since the age of nine, I am just about seen as a lo­cal. Af­ter Fram­ling­ham Col­lege, where like many en­trepreneurs I strug­gled within the con­straints of the class­room and spent far too much time play­ing sport – I still hold the school 800 and 1500m records – I went to Read­ing Univer­sity to do teacher train­ing, but very quickly re­alised that this was another class­room and it was not for me. I wanted to work and earn money.

“With no pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence, I man­aged to talk my way into my first role run­ning a concession in Har­rods for Geo F Trumper, sell­ing ra­zors, shav­ing brushes and men’s ac­ces­sories. Sales im­proved in the ini­tial six months by 175% and I re­alised that I could sell. So that started a Lon­don ca­reer in sales and mar­ket­ing, which then led me to work­ing in a start-up, suc­cess­fully launch­ing an online auc­tion site.”

But lest one as­sumes this is all about gee­whizzery and rid­ing a lucky wave through the ap­pli­ca­tion of fault­less charm, Paddy has a clear and tried and tested ap­proach to run­ning a busi­ness.

“I have al­ways ad­mired one part of Richard Bran­son – how he un­der­stands his strengths and weak­nesses, and sur­rounds him­self with good peo­ple. At Paddy & Scott’s we built an amaz­ing team of peo­ple, each with their own strengths, and this is a key part of its suc­cess – so thank you, team.” Paddy re­turned to Suf­folk with his wife, Sarah, af­ter the birth of their first child – “I be­lieve that there is no bet­ter county to live in and bring up chil­dren,” he says – know­ing that an en­tre­pre­neur’s life was for him.

“I was lucky enough to find a prod­uct I loved and re­ally be­lieved in. Food and drink is my big love and my wife, Sarah, and I started Eat Anglia, a home de­liv­ery/café/deli com­pany spe­cial­is­ing in lo­cal food and drink. In our first year, we won Best Café in Suf­folk at the 2006 EADT Food and Awards and the judges high­lighted the cof­fee. I knew then that we had a win­ning prod­uct. When the op­por­tu­nity came to buy the roaster, and learn the art of cof­fee roast­ing, it was my call­ing. And the rest is his­tory, as they say.”

It was at this stage that he sold Eat Anglia and joined up with Scott Rus­sell, who had an

im­pres­sive track record as an en­tre­pre­neur in tele­coms and was look­ing for a new chal­lenge.

The Paddy and Scott com­bi­na­tion has be­come one of those heroic bi­nary brands, a bit like Stan­ley and Liv­ing­stone, or As­terix and Obe­lix. Its suc­cess is in their com­ple­men­tary skills and in good com­mu­ni­ca­tions

“Scott and I had a very hon­est chat when we started the com­pany, on ex­pec­ta­tions, and it is fair to say that we wanted to take over the world. We are both very am­bi­tious, and had such a be­lief in our prod­uct and ethos that we felt there was a gap in the mar­ket that we could re­ally make our own. I think it is re­ally im­por­tant that busi­ness part­ners agree, at the be­gin­ning, on the end goal and how to get there.

“As a com­pany we have been through a ter­ri­ble re­ces­sion, which def­i­nitely slowed down our am­bi­tious plans, but also made us stronger. We con­stantly looked at the mar­ket, looked for new op­por­tu­ni­ties and grabbed the ones we be­lieved were the right fit for the busi­ness to help us grow.”

In 2007, Paddy & Scott’s roasted 750kg of cof­fee beans in Scott’s garage. Ten years later, em­ploy­ing over 30 peo­ple and with 50 café con­ces­sions, they pro­duce over 320,000kg – about 90,000 cups per day – in­clud­ing into the Chi­nese and Rus­sian mar­kets. Paddy has also learnt that there comes a time when he should fin­ish one ad­ven­ture be­fore em­bark­ing on another.

“As a con­se­quence of sur­round­ing your­self with great peo­ple, you can find that the day-to-day run­ning of the com­pany no longer needs you. I had this re­al­i­sa­tion last year at Paddy & Scott’s. It al­lowed Scott and my­self to work on projects like a po­ten­tial Dubai fran­chise, our Kenyan Plan­ta­tion project and to in­ves­ti­gate our cof­fee in pods, biodegrad­able cof­fee cups, which we have just launched.

“Scott and I agreed that af­ter 10 years at the helm and with the great team in place, the busi­ness would sur­vive and grow – and that was key – with­out me work­ing op­er­a­tionally in the busi­ness. In De­cem­ber last year, I left my desk at Paddy & Scott’s, very proud of what we have built, and I now sit as a brand am­bas­sador for the com­pany and ad­vise the board.”

It also freed him up, in one bound, to try his skills and der­ring-do in another mar­ket sec­tor. En­ter Bub­ble and Squid. Set up ini­tially as an events and street food con­cept, it is ex­actly what it says, sim­ply de­li­cious cala­mari with a glass of cham­pagne.

“I took the idea to my good friend, the chef and restau­ra­teur, Ver­non Black­more, who owns both The Ta­ble and The An­chor in Wood­bridge, which fol­lows my busi­ness mantra of bring­ing in the right peo­ple around you.

“This year you will find us at many events such as The Suf­folk Show, Jimmy’s Fes­ti­val and Suf­folk Dog Day, but the long term aim for this is Lon­don street food sites and our own restau­rant chain, so watch this space.”

Paddy has also set up Bish­opp and Co Ltd, to of­fer direc­tor-level sup­port and men­tor­ing. So how does he rate Suf­folk as a place to build a busi­ness? A sharp in­take of breath, fol­lowed by a clear and hon­est ap­praisal.

“The hard­est part of be­ing a Suf­folk-based busi­ness is find­ing peo­ple to work for you. There’s a rea­son that mo­bile phone re­cep­tion is so ter­ri­ble in this county – there are not enough chim­ney pots for the providers to war­rant in­vest­ment in this area.

“The pop­u­la­tion level im­pacts em­ploy­ment – a lot of the younger gen­er­a­tion, like I did, will go to Lon­don. Suf­folk is a very ru­ral county mak­ing trans­port dif­fi­cult, so if you’re based out of town there’s the chal­lenge of staff get­ting to you. And let’s not get started on the joys of ac­tu­ally en­ter­ing Suf­folk via the A12 or A14.” But ul­ti­mately, for Paddy, it comes down to com­mu­ni­ca­tions and build­ing re­la­tion­ships with cus­tomers.

“Suf­folk has so much po­ten­tial, but the big­gest prob­lem is that so many peo­ple seem ter­ri­ble at mar­ket­ing them­selves out of the county, es­pe­cially in food and drink. We have some of the best pro­duc­ers in the coun­try, we are a top five foodie county, but we hate shout­ing about our suc­cess.

“The Suf­folk suc­cess story can go the whole way, but we need to spread the word and not be afraid to get out there and say ‘we are the best’. We have achieved this in cof­fee, and As­pall and Ad­nams are also ex­am­ples of what can be achieved with phe­nom­e­nal suc­cess. So let’s build on this.”

“The Suf­folk suc­cess story can go the whole way, but we need to spread the word and not be afraid to get out there and say ‘we are the best’.”

Top: Ver­non Black­more and Paddy Bish­opp at Wood­bridge Tide Mill Left: Paddy Bish­opp

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