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Cassandra Stavrous Talks Propercorn And Inspiring Young Entrepreneurs

Friday 20 November 2015

Propercorn does exactly what it says on the tin: it’s popcorn that’s healthy, sustainable and delicious (we recommend the sweet n’ salty flavour) From working initially out of a one-bedroom flat to becoming the official popcorn of London Fashion Week, it’s safe to say that Propercorn is taking the UK by storm. We chatted to co-founder Cassandra Stavrous on her journey from quirky idea to world domination.

What made you start your business?

I have always had an entrepreneurial appetite starting from running club nights as a student. I’ve had many ideas along the way across all different areas, but Propercorn was the one that I had absolute conviction and belief in.

Tell us a bit about your background – what led you to starting Propercorn?

I don’t have a background in food but I felt there was a need to create a snack that not only delivered real satisfaction and was healthier for you, but also was something you were happy to be seen with. Popcorn seemed to be the perfect ingredient to use to achieve this, and when my mum reminded me of a popcorn machine my father had bought me it was the perfect extra kick I needed.

Which entrepreneur or business has given you inspiration?

It’s hard to limit it to one name as we have been incredibly fortunate to benefit from so many people’s time and advice. Our approach has always been to leave no stone unturned. It’s amazing how generous and supportive people have been along the way. Breakfast with Sir Richard Branson last month was pretty inspiring though.

Running a business is tough – what do you do when you aren’t working, and how do you manage the life/work balance?

I think it’s so important to maintain and protect that balance, so I’m pretty good at switching off when I need to. I often walk home to clear my head and then will jump straight into the usual things like going out to eat and seeing friends.

How big is your team?

We’re now up at around 35 full time.

What are your plans for the future growth of Propercorn?

I want to be a global popcorn brand, so international expansion is high on the list. We also have some exciting ideas around flavor and sustainability that we will be revealing next year. Part of running a business is doing it in the right way so I am excited about furthering our Platform initiative and also launching our Foundation too.

How do you find the balance of creative ideas vs commercial viability? Has there been anything you really wanted to do which wasn’t commercially viable?

Creativity is the perfect partner for commercial viability – it is often the absence of creative thought that causes people to spend in a default way without challenging the approach.

What’s been your most successful form of marketing and promotion for Propercorn?

If you believe in your product, then ultimately it’s about giving people the opportunity to try it; be it through distribution and sampling.

What’s been your favourite project to date?

Our Platform initiative was so rewarding and allowed the whole team to have an opportunity to mentor and support some inspiring British entrepreneurial talent.

What’s the best thing about running your business?

I love the breadth of my role from design to financial and I feel like I am on the steepest learning curve right at the edge of my comfort zone.

What’s on your work playlist?

Depends on my mood but the shameless plug has to be my brother’s (Emilio Stavrou) playlists on SoundCloud.

What advice would you give to any budding entrepreneurs?

Be prepared to take a leap of faith, there will never be any guarantees.

  • As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we’re talking to entrepreneurs who made the impossible possible and now run some of the world’s most unique enterprises. Read other profiles in the series here.