- Quick Chat with Hannah Brady, the founder of The Brady Creative
- Quick Chat with the founder of Umwuga, Nasi Rwigema
- Quick Chat with the founder of BrainBar, Maxi Hristov
Today we have Maxi Hristow, the founder of BrainBar on the show with us.
Maxi Hristov Yeah, so right now, I’m studying in the UK, but I’m in Bulgaria, because of the coronavirus pandemic, and I went back to Christmas to see my family. I’m stuck over here now until February.
Yeah, so, introducing the company. I’m studying a bachelor’s degree program which is about entrepreneurship. So we’re a team. And we have to create multiple companies throughout the three years program. And a few months ago, we started a company, which was initially called Dopamine. Oh, it was about energy bars. But then we realized that dopamine is a very long name. So we decided to change it. And right now it’s called brainy bar. Yeah, brain. Yeah. So it’s a very healthy product. It’s nothing to do with what you can find now on the market because it doesn’t have any emulsifiers and rock ingredients that you don’t have, you have no idea what they’re about. And we started first, initially in the UK, we sold a few. And then we decided that for the beginning, we’re going to move back to Bulgaria because, in Bulgaria, we have lots and lots of connections. And now we are starting to find ways in which we can produce the product, the design packaging, we’re searching for outsourcing companies, and the process is very long but exciting.
Bradley Pallister So you’re at the beginning of your journey, basically.
Maxi Hristov Yes, we are in the middle of our journey. Yeah.
Bradley Pallister Yeah, that’s cool. So how would you describe to your grandparents what you do?
Maxi Hristov Yeah. So my grandparents would say that it’s selling energy bars and to my other grandparents who have no idea what energy bars are, they would just say waffles, something like waffles.
Bradley Pallister Haha, okay, cool. That’s good. So, obviously, apart from the course that you’re doing for your business degree, would there be any other reason why you started what you’re doing now?
Maxi Hristov Yes. So we have, I have a partner called Nikki and it was his initial idea to start the company. And he’s a ultramarathon runner. And he was preparing for a race, which was 100 kilometers. So he wants he needed something to feel himself to run for 12 hours straight. And that’s how he came up with the idea of this bar because it’s very high in calories, but the good ones.
Bradley Pallister Yeah, so you’re into athletics as well?
Maxi Hristov Yes. And we’ve been friends for seven years now from Bulgaria. And he’s on the same course. So we’ve had to come up with ideas. Because this course is very different than in the first month, we had to brainstorm every day, what are we about to start now? And he gave out the idea. I was very inspired by it. And we decided to start it
Bradley Pallister When did you start?
Maxi Hristov We started back in October. And then we started testing, because, in the beginning, the recipe wasn’t that good. I mean, it was still very healthy, but it wasn’t as tasty and didn’t feel that good in the mouth. So we produced about five, seven kilos to test 100-200 people to see how it goes. And we made a few improvements. And registered the company started selling on the streets. Even during the pandemic! Which is hilarious. Yeah. And then we decided that we’re going to produce it more professionally with machines.
Bradley Pallister So you’ve come across quite a few issues you spoke about, obviously, your change of brand name and that sort of thing. What other kinds of hurdles did you come across? What obstacles did you come across?
Maxi Hristov The process of registering the company, we decided to, we had absolutely no experience about registering a company for the first time. So the first time we registered it, it was at the wrong address. We registered it at the university’s address, which was illegal, and we had to close the company. Those are some of the issues. But it was all good. Now, the hurdles are more about health and safety certificates, or that the athletes can use them. So there are no banned substances. Now we’re searching for the companies who can test our product and say, yes, that’s good for the people, you can sell it.
Bradley Pallister If I was going to go and start the same thing as what you would do – I’m not going to by the way – but if I did, what would be likely will be the main reason that I would probably give up?
Maxi Hristov Oh, there are a few things right there. The first one is the mindset. Because both of us are athletes. Also, we’re very interested in self-development. We’ve been reading books for the past three years. Yeah, a lot. And so once you change your mindset for winning, and you don’t have those limiting beliefs that are holding you back, then there is not much that can stop you. And the second thing is about planning because if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Bradley Pallister Yeah, so it’s all about mindset, having that real having the determination to make it work. You know, if, if you had an extra 100 grand in your budget, what would you do? What would you do with it?
Maxi Hristov So the first difference would be that we wouldn’t be searching for an outsourcing company that is going to make us two 3000 bars to start, we’re going to buy the machines. So right now we are the least machines we can buy is three, because we need one machine that there that is going to meet the ingredients, a second machine that is going to form them and cut them. And the third machine that is going to package them, we can buy, of course, there are two more machines that we can buy. One of them is more about not the mixing, but the blending of the ingredients because that’s also very important. And another machine which is very innovative, it’s more about removing the oxidizing process of the product so that it can stay longer on the shelves. Those are some of the things we can do another thing as renting a place to start. In Bulgaria, we have connections for shops. So if we had 10,000 bars right now, we could start tomorrow, only if we had the certificates as well. Yeah. And the last thing we could do is more about producing more innovative bars. So we have three ideas. One of them is the traditional recipe for the bar that you have right now, a second one for the future that we’re planning is adding ingredients such as CBD for the market, it’s not so much for here, but it could work in London and Birmingham in other places in the world. And the third one is mixing ingredients that have more cognitive-enhancing effects on the body.
Bradley Pallister What’s the next thing you’re gonna be doing to move the business forward?
Maxi Hristov Yeah. In the next month, we are planning three or four things, to design the packaging, to know how to get those certificates for health and safety. And do find places where we can create the first prediction the first order of 3000. We call it the few shops, and they’re willing to collaborate with us. So we need the ready bars to start.
Bradley Pallister If you were going to start again, how would you have done it? Would you have started the journey differently?
Maxi Hristov Oh, that’s a good question. I think we started the journey very well because we were super inexperienced, four or five months ago, and now we’ve learned so many things from the experiences we had. So I wouldn’t start it differently. But if I could go back in time, knowing everything that I know now, I will just start the project directly from Bulgaria and not from the UK because it’s much easier here.
Bradley Pallister Did you have anything else you wanted to share with us today?
Maxi Hristov I want to share with the audience that whatever you start, start it with passion because if you don’t have the passion, you’re not going to continue doing it. And if you’re a young person who is wondering where to start a business or where to study business, I would definitely recommend the Team Academy, the place where we’re learning because it’s a finished system. It’s been working for 30 years and it’s amazing. It’s Aston University in Birmingham.
Bradley Pallister Good. Thanks, Maxi. I trust the all goes well for you. And we will look forward to seeing your bars on the local street corner soon!
Maxi Hristov Of course, Bradley, give us a few months and we’ll be there!