A bold approach to former football hard-man turned film actor Vinnie Jones proved to be an inspired move for a Tonbridge entrepreneur.
Tom Lock, the businessman behind the London Crisp Company, asked the FA Cup winner to lend his name to a special edition snack called Salt and Vinniegar and this has resulted in them putting a crunching tackle in on the snack market.
His range of crisps is now attracting plenty of interest but the 26-year-old had to overcome more than a few obstacles before his hard work started to pay off.
Having attracted some investment, the former Judd School pupil started to build up the company and managed to persuade supermarket chains including Waitrose and the Fuller’s pub group in London to stock his products.
The London Crisp Company is celebrating its first anniversary and Tom expressed high hopes for his latest product, which came about following a chance meeting with Wales and Wimbledon midfielder Vinnie Jones through a friend.
“He loves crisps, which really helped, but with his football background and London connections it just seemed like a perfect fit for us,” explained Tom, who said it was working in his local Waitrose specialist counter as a youngster that inspired him to start in the snack industry.
He is projecting that his venture will expand to a turnover of around a million pounds a year within the next 12 months.
As well as Vinnie Jones, the company gained support from senior Conservative Boris Johnson when he was still Mayor of London. He became involved in the campaign to promote Tom’s range of crisps, which represent different areas of the capital.
Tom added: “Ours is a challenging industry and it is hard to gain a foothold in the crisp market. But we think we have enough of a USP to carve out a niche in the business.
“We had noticed a lot of crisp companies are quite traditional in what they are doing, so we wanted to give our brand a bit of an edge with its packaging and having strong yet simple flavours, which is what we thought people were really looking for.”