Hugh Duffie

Managing Director | Mother Root (Sept 2022 – Present)

I've recently joined Mother Root for a new challenge. Mother Root make alcohol free aperitifs that help you put flavour first and ABV second. Switchel style drinks, they're supercharged with apple cider vinegar which amplifies and celebrates the unique botanical blends mixed with bold flavours like Ginger and Marmalade.

Elliotts Flowers | (mid 2021 - Oct 2022. Launched Feb 2022)

I teamed up with two friends to launch Elliotts Flowers, selling beautiful flowers exclusively on Amazon. We wanted to challenge ourselves to build a brand on Amazon and provide an option that people could feel excited about gifting (and of course receiving) right up to the last minute, leveraging Amazon Prime delivery. It's my role to build business processes and value to enable us to one day sell the business as a turn-key, profitable entity.

Wednesday's Domaine | (Feb 2022 - Sept 2022. Launched July 2022)

I worked with founder Luke to build a high-converting custom Shopify website and a growth plan for launching the business. I encouraged Luke to commit to a weekly newsletter and now, over a year later, he hasn't missed a single week and has even managed to find a brilliant writer to take it to new heights. Table Talk is very much the heart of the brand and takes only five minutes to read - about the time it takes to give a few wine glasses a good polish.

Tarla | Website build for launch (launched September 2021)

I worked with developer and repeat collaborator Dhruve Shah to build the custom Shopify 2.0 theme for the outrageously delicious bake-at-home pastry brand Tarla. This gave me an opportunity to understand more about how Shopify themes are built, practice agile project management and maintain QA throughout the process from design handoff to site launch.

Days Brewing Co | Pre-launch - team of 10 (May 2020 - March 2022)

I worked closely with founders Mike + Duncan from pre-launch on alcohol free beer brand Days to develop their e-commerce strategy. Alongside working with their brand agency Onwards I've also sourced additional members of the freelance team for functions like social management, photography and launching on Amazon.

I sourced and briefed our developer to deliver a website optimised for conversion. I've helped guide the founders thinking on DTC channel strategy and put systems in place to ensure accountability and structure for the team as they build this channel into a growth engine for the business.

Blueprint | Advisor to the founders + Board observer

I provided guidance to the founders of SaaS ‘conversational commerce’ platform, Blueprint, over ~18 months. My role continually evolved but in a short space of time I helped them:

- establish internal communication standards for the team, investor updates and board meetings

- interrogate the fundamentals of the culture they’re trying to create and establish keystone habits

- understand how finance drives strategy and to gain a full grasp of cashflow/ P+L/ balance sheet

Co-founder | Sandows cold brew coffee (~April 2014 – April 2020)

Developed from mid 2013 and launched in early 2014, Sandows pioneered the UK cold brew coffee category. Specialising in ready-to-drink coffee drinks using responsibly sourced, speciality grade coffee. My role evolved many times over 6 years and my key experience included:

- Responsibility for setting strategic direction and plan
- Responsibility for securing finance, through crowdfunding, angel and venture capital phases
- Responsibility for maintaining appropriate levels of communication and governance
- Directly briefing in all elements of brand identity and packaging design
- Leading sales force to win key positional accounts such as Selfridges, Harrods, Whole Foods Market, Ace Hotel, Soho House and also for securing volume drivers with Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Ocado.
- Hiring and directly managing team of six and network of freelancers
- Leading all marketing + PR functions working in-house and with agencies on a project basis
- Developing Sandows tone of voice and social media presence
- Building Sandows e-commerce channel (Shopify + Amazon)
- Taking responsibility when we decided not to continue, shutting the company down and communicating that to the team, shareholders, suppliers and customers

photo: Lauren Maccabee

I spoke candidly about my experience shutting the company down on the Untold podcast. When asked about it now, I'd say I'm grateful that it happened and actively applying the learnings in the next phase of my life.