Cereal thrillers get to business

Two marketing graduates with a passion for cereal have launched a healthy breakfast bar in Leeds. Founders Zoe Blogg and Jen Gibb talk to BQ's Bryce Wilcock about the business.

It was while sharing a flat as students that Jen Gibb and Zoe Blogg realised they both loved mixing different breakfast cereals – depending on their mood and what they were doing next.

After completing their Marketing degrees at Leeds Beckett University last summer, the duo from Kent have recently opened a breakfast bar called Moo’d Cereal House in Headlingley, serving 100 types of cereal from across the world.

Jen said: “We are really excited about launching Moo’d. It’s a totally new concept for Yorkshire, but the response from people has been really positive so far.

“Zoe and I met at Leeds Beckett and became good friends.  As flatmates we always enjoyed eating cereal together and were sitting in a café in Headingley one day and talked about how great it would be if there was somewhere that just served cereal.”

Zoe added: “Leeds is such an amazing city and full of independents and exciting activities. Our Marketing degrees were one of the key tools when starting up our business. We had knowledge of how to write a successful and persuasive business plan and had learnt the fundamentals of digital and press advertising.  Not only did the knowledge help but the people we met on our courses such as our graphic designer Stephanie Martin helped bring our brand to life.”

One of the biggest challenges for the 23-year-old’s was creating a strong brand and so they spent hours thinking up the perfect name for the project.

Zoe said: “We were always in the 'mood' for cereal and realised we had different mixes of cereal depending on our mood such as lucky charms on a hangover, or porridge before the gym. We made the connection to cows because of the milk and Moo’d came from there.”

Leeds was home to 6,174 start-up businesses alone in 2013 and Moo’d is just one of hundreds of start-up success stories from this year alone.

“We both had graduate jobs and realised the nine-to-five thing wasn't for us. We were aware of lots of other independents in Leeds who had made the jump and decided now was the best time to take the risk.

“Cereal bars are quite a new concept which tends to draw people in. But it's not just about the cereal. We have tried to focus on the atmosphere as well. Moo'd has a 'bar' like feel with milk coming out of ale pumps and punters can 'double up' on cereal.”

As well as thinking of the ideal brand name, the pair also had to conduct a serious amount of research into what was quite a new market. As Zoe said: “finding the right image for us was one of the hardest challenges. We spent long nights in the premises doing DIY and sourcing cereal. We even ripped a suspended ceiling down and plumbed in dishwashers!

“It's been tiring but great fun! We had an official launch on 25 February which hopefully boosted people’s awareness of us.”

Moo’d serves cereal from £2 a bowl as well as offering children’s portions and a ‘mega bowl’. The café also serves a range of milks - including chocolate, strawberry, almond and lactose-free - as well as tea, coffee and smoothies.

The duo are now hoping to raise £1,500 via crowdfunding site KickStarter and have already raised £263 from eight backers, with 23 days to go. The campaign aims to help the girls launch their very own Moo’d-Mobile, a milk float style pop-up stall to take to festivals and events across the country.