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Julian Hearn's Bio

About me in 10 seconds

Hello, my name is Julian and I’m the Founder and CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of Huel.

I built my first company (Mash up Media) from scratch as the sole founder with £1,500 investment. Within three years Mash up Media was making over £2.5 million profit per year, and I successfully sold it to Internetbrands in 2011.

I’m now the founder of Huel which I bootstrapped to over £40m in revenue, and a valuation of £220m within four years of launch.

Julian Hearn

Just email for high-res versions (julian at huel dot com)

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Contents

Quick timeline to get you up to speed

  • 1972: born in Buckinghamshire, England
  • 1988: left school at 16 with virtually no qualifications (two Es at English, my forte)
  • 1988: worked in a shop for a year
  • 1989: worked as a laborer - dug holes in the road for two years
  • 1991: girlfriend said I was too bright to dig holes, so went back to college
  • 1993: passed college with distinction, couldn’t get a job, so went to uni
  • 1996: left uni with a 2:1
  • 1997-2008: worked my way up the marketing ladder to Head of Marketing (Starbucks, Tesco, Waitrose, MFI, Emap, etc.)
  • 2008: started my first company with a £1,500 personal investment
  • 2011: sold Mash up Media to Internetbrands for a multiple of the £2.5m annual profit it was generating in its third year
  • 2012: launched next business Bodyhack
  • 2013: paused Bodyhack and started work on Huel
  • 2015: on 17th June Huel was launched, from my garage
  • 2018: after bootstrapping Huel to £40m annual run rate we took £20m investment from Highland Europe, valuing the company at £220m

Why I created Huel

I wanted to create something I was proud of.

My first business was a cash generator, it solved my objective at the time to make my family financially secure, but it wasn’t a business I was proud of.

Huel is completely different; money wasn’t the objective. Sure, the lifeblood of a business is money, but Huel is so much more than that. Even if it were a tenth of the size I would still be into it just as much.

I wanted to create a business that did the right thing for the planet, for its staff, and most importantly for its customers. I wanted to create a brand that people would be proud to be associated with.

The litmus tests were:

  1. would my friends use and wear the clothing unprompted
  2. would my son be proud and tell his friends “my daddy runs Huel”

Both have been achieved.

How I grew Huel

Making a success and creating a brand isn’t easy. Here are my top tips.

  • Start – without action you have zero chance. Reading, researching, planning and talking can be useful but they are NOT starting. Take real action, get a product out in the market asap, so you can learn from real customers.
  • Work your arse off – there are no shortcuts. Being successful is going to take a lot of work. You want to do every job in the business for the first 6 months at least, so you can teach the next person how to do it the way you want it done. You will need to be become obsessed for certain period of time.
  • Make customers happy – understand what customers want, talk to them, be a customer, engage on social media. Then give them what they want.
  • Create a powerful and enduring mission – a clear and concise mission should be your north star. It aligns the whole company to move in the same direction.
  • Create a brand people love to be associated with – the late Steve Jobs said “People buy brands, not products.” So make sure you create a strong brand. Be proud of what you do, really care about every detail.
  • Remember, brand is every touch point – the product, the look and feel, the way you speak to customers, the delivery box, emails, website, adverts, etc.
  • Speed wins – learn how to get stuff done as quickly as possible, set short deadlines, hustle. You are in a competitive race so aim to work faster and smarter.
  • Don't be afraid to fail – everyone fails, Huel is not my first company but it's my most successful. Why? I've learnt along the way by failing.
  • Go around, over, under or straight through barriers – there will be a new problem every day. You are marking a new path, so you need to solve problems and get past new barriers every day. Learn to be creative and don’t take no for an answer.
  • Ensure you have a powerful and lasting motivator – startups are hard, they can take a toll on your health, your friendships, your relationships. So if you don't have a burning motivator inside you will struggle to last the distance.
  • Create a strong culture – without a great team you can't make a great company. So you need to create a culture where the best people want to work. I recommend writing down a culture document as early as you can. Outline what is your DNA and how do you what the team to behave.
  • Never rest on your laurels – your competitors will improve, so you need to improve to stay ahead. Too often companies slow down and stop innovating. Stay hungry, keep pushing, keep innovating. Otherwise another brand will steal your lunch.

Awards I've received

TV and radio appearances

  • CNN Business Live – live interview
  • Radio 4 You & Yours – live interview with Peter White
  • Sky News Live – Ian King (sorry, no online version available)
  • BBC Business News live (sorry, no online version available)

Press coverage about me

  • Wired – profile of Huel with some quotes from me
  • Elite Business – a very in-depth article about me
  • The Times – profile of Huel and I (requires sign-up)
  • The Metro – fun piece about me
  • The Telegraph – some quotes from me
  • Forbes – profile of Huel with some quotes from me
  • Telegraph – about the £20m raise and some quotes from me
  • Business insider – about the raise and some quotes
  • Mr Porter – a profile on me and my first stab at professional modelling ;)

Podcast interviews

    Places to find me

    How to contact me

    Julian at huel dot com

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