Charlie Bigham’s: Another small but beautifully formed brand

Over the last couple of years I've posted on several small but beautifully formed brands. They are premium priced brands that target a specific occasion or consumer segment, and aim to lead in this part of the market. Examples have included innocent (not so small now), Gu and Fresh Italy.

Well. Time to add a new find to the list: Charlie Bigham's. My mate Tom, who started then sold Fresh Italy, has joined as CEO, working alongside uber foodie founder Charlie. They make super high quality, fab tasting, hand-made ready meals, pies and other savoury goodies in lovely packaging. Tom took time out today to show me round the kitchens. Here's some stuff that makes the brand special.

Screen shot 2010-05-21 at 15.12.50

1. Visionary founder: this is one of those brands, like Jordans Cereals, where the founder is not only the name on the pack, its the creative genius who still has a hands-on role. Its nice to know there is a real person behind the brand who is creating the recipes, and also keeping an eye on quality

2. Super sausage and Sizzle: Charlie Bingham's make special products. They do use only the best ingredients, such as the tenderest meat. And this is then cut by hand (it is, I saw it for myself!) to ensure the right size of chunks. The meals are then also assembled by hand and inspected by eye. 

The dishes are all made to be cooked in the oven, not microwaved, as this makes them taste better and ensures the preparation is part of the experience.

Screen shot 2010-05-21 at 15.22.41 3. Posh packaging:
what also makes the brand stand out from the crowd is the packaging. A bit like Gu with their glass pud packs, CB's use enamel dishes for their Shepherds pies that you can serve the food in from the oven. And the lasagne comes in a nice wooden tray.

Tom and the team are building on these strong brand truths and have big plans for Bingham's. I'll be posting over the coming months to share the progress on the brand as the story unfolds.