The Career Farm Podcast with Jane Barrett - James Shillcock of Vivid Drinks

In this interview I talk to James who is the dynamic founder of Vivid Drinks. James saw an opportunity to bring a healthy version of iced tea to the UK market. This category is huge globally but not big in the UK. The popularity of green tea has been rising in the UK and Vivid Drinks seems set to capitalise on a drink that focuses on improving our mental energy.

James Shillcock of Vivid Drinks - The Career Farm Podcast with Jane Barrett

Having worked for Deloitte for a year prior to university he was due to start on their graduate scheme but delayed his start date to get some start up experience under his belt. He worked for a start up tea company which gave him the idea to start up his own business. So he turned down Deloitte and set off on the entrepreneurial journey.

He raised external finance by talking to as many investors as he could, crediting the government 'Seed Enterprise Scheme' in helping attract finance to start-ups like his by offering up to 45% off an investor's tax bill.

Describing himself as a 'paranoid optimist' James has been proud to secure retailers such as Whole Foods, Planet Organic, Selfridges as well at main stream retailers like Boots and Waitrose. It's not always been plain sailing though and he is honest about the challenges he has faced - such as dealing with a supplier whose failure to deliver nearly lost them a contract, and another that literally went up in smoke!

Vivid Drinks Macha Green Tea - The Career Farm Podcast with Jane Barrett

In this interview you'll find out why James...

  • turned down a graduate scheme with Deloitte
  • thinks deciding what kind of business you want to start from day 1 is crucial
  • advocates talking about your business everywhere
  • isn't a big fan of Dragon's Den
  • advises you to look at not just the money when approaching investors

James's Books

'Thinking Fast and Slow' by Daniel Kahneman

'The Tipping Point' by Malcolm Gladwell

'Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind' by Al Ries and Jack Trout


Company mantra: focus on progress over perfection

Productivity hack

Unsubscribed from all newsletters, particularly those on productivity!

Gets up early!!


I really hope enjoyed the interview with James. If you have any thoughts or comments about this episode, please do share them with us on Twitter or Facebook – we’d love to hear from you!

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Thanks again to James for taking the time to be interviewed.