Gracie & Sophie Tyrrell are the founders behind The Squirrel Sisters, a nickname which has stuck with them since childhood (Squirrel rhymes with their surname ‘Tyrrell’ and is much more fun to say!). Coincidentally and perhaps luckily, they also love nuts!
Here, they chat to us at House of Coco and tell us more about their brand, plans for the future and more…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
Health, wellness, food and how it makes us feel has always been a passion of ours so we started Squirrel Sisters as a blog in 2014. The blog gained a large following quickly; People connected with our mission and the fact that we are two normal girls with a busy lifestyle that want to enjoy life while feeling great.
With a growing following we saw an opportunity to turn our blog into a business so after much planning and preparation launched our snack bars in November 2015, which we already had the recipes for(Gracie used to make them for Sophie due to her Gluten- intolerance).
We’re sisters on a mission to help people make better and healthier choices more often.Our seriously tasty on-the-go bars double up on flavour and are packed with real, honest, good-for-you ingredients with only natural fruit sugars.Yes to delicious, No to compromising.
We believe wellbeing isn’t all or nothing.It’s all about balance, which is why we created our award-winning bars, which are innovative in format, beautifully packaged and first and foremost delicious… as well as being made with 100% natural ingredients of the highest quality.
If you look at the ingredients of a lot of healthy products you will notice that they include syrups, pastes and sugar alternatives, which we never do! We only use whole ingredients and whole dates to bind and sweeten our products absolutely no nasties or sugar alternatives.
We want to prove that healthy can be delicious and fun.
Whats your background?
Before Squirrel Sisters Sophie was working as a business development director in a Sinagpore-based agency. Gaining experience in market research, branding and design agencies across Europe and Asia. Gracie is a professionally trained actress, having worked in the UK and America with experience across adverts, film and theatre. Gracie also worked on the production side of TV both in Europe and the US.
How many people are involved in the company and what are their roles?
There are 3 of us in the team, us two (Gracie & Sophie) and Holly who is also full time.
If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently?
Running a business is hard and there will always be ups and downs but if it was easy then everyone would do it. We don’t regret anything but if we could do anything differently it would be to trust our gut; early on there were times when we didn’t listen to our gut feeling and that ended up putting us in a tricky situation so now when we have a bad gut feeling we always listen and trust our instinct.
What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
The biggest challenge we’ve faced is hiring; it’s really hard to find people that are as passionate as you are about your own business. We’ve made a few mistakes with hiring but it’s all a learning experience.
Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know?
Gracie: I was the face of Aldis ice cream advert: I was the magnum girl ☺
Sophie: I was a lead part on a BBC radio 4 program.
2019 is here, where do you plan on taking the brand?
We want to be a global business that’s known for it’s delicious and genuinely healthy products. We have some exciting NPD, which we are launching this year. We also have some very exciting new stockists announcements coming soon.
To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
Launching into our first and second major retailer Waitrose and Morrisons. Another amazing moment was publishing a cookbook (we were approached by Pavilion Books who gave us the opportunity to write a recipe book). Our cookbook has just been named the top healthy 9 cookbook by The Independent alongside Tom Kerridge, Gordon Ramsay and Joe Wicks.
Which city do you feel most at home in, London, Paris or New York?
Three beauty products you can’t leave the house without?
Best thing about London to you?
The buzz. There is so much going on. We love that you can step out of your home and be near a local pub, café or exciting event. It’s am amazing city and we feel so lucky to live here.
Statement shoe or statement bag?
If you had to, what piece of clothing from your wardrobe would you wear everyday?
Activewear- it’s just so easy and comfy. We always wear activewear to the office.
Favourite love song?
Van Morrison ‘Have I Told You Lately’.
Best place for a coffee?
Holly & Co. St Margarets (near Richmond)
We also love Esquires in Putney.
Most memorable piece of advice given to you?
Always trust you gut, it’s never wrong.
Gracie: Mac & Cheese with extra truffle from 34 Restaurant in Mayfair. It’s a heart attack in a bowl but it’s the most amazing mac & cheese I’ve ever had.
Sophie: Not massively guilty but I love red wine and chocolate.
If you could spent 24 hours in anywhere in the world, where would it be?
New York! 24 hours in NY is guaranteed to be fun.
In future, how do you plan on expanding the company?
We are already available in over 1000 stores across the UK including Waitrose, Morrisons, Whole Foods, Planet Organic, Ocado, Selfridges and hundreds of independents deli’s, cafes and supermarkets but we want to double this!
By end of 2019 we want to have double our distribution by rolling out into more stores that we are currently stocked in and securing new retailers including more major supermarkets (who we are already in talks with).
We have NPD that is ready to go including some new flavours as an extension of our current range as well as slightly different formats including share bags.
Find out more…