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“Crowdsourcing” sets Righteous Ltd on stable ground

THE PHILIPPINES, MAY 2, 2012: “It was just a pipe dream not very long ago while I was working for a large multinational company,” said Gem Misa, a Filipina who is now based in London, about her company Righteous Ltd, which offers an all-natural, preservatives-free line of salad dressings.

She narrated: “I was a global brand manager for one of the company’s big brands – living comfortably on a cushy expatriate package that included a gorgeous two-bedroom flat in central London and business class trips all around the world. I loved my job. But after a few years, the novelty began to wear off.”
A senior manager was interviewing her for a higher position, and what she said convinced Misa to leave the job and instead pursue her dream. “Maybe you should stop swimming against the tide and see where it takes you.” Misa left the corporate world and plotted her future as a businesswoman.
 
The business went off smoothly, as Righteous Ltd products got listed in all of London’s best food halls – Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, to name a few – just on its first year. The brand quickly rose to the number-one selling brand of sauce for Whole Foods Market in the United Kingdom. On its second year, the brand was picked up by two of the country’s largest supermarkets, Tesco and Waitrose, and were made available on the shelves of over 600 stores. From a shoestring budget and one employee – Misa herself – sales jumped from £10,000 to £120,000.
“Now that our salad dressings are on supermarket shelves competing against the big brands, I realized that the real work had just begun,” Misa said. “Supermarket buyers aren’t affording us any special treatment just because Righteous is a small start-up. If we don’t perform, Righteous products will be delisted. So you can say that we are now in ‘survival mode’,” she revealed. 
Misa promptly put together a plan: find the funds for a big marketing campaign for Righteous that will tell more people about our great products. Her solution: crowd funding. “It turns out, a good number of people do believe in our company ethos and love our products enough to make a small investment in the business,” she said excitedly. “We were able to get over £100,000 (we were asking for £75,000) within just 5 weeks of pitching our project on www.Crowdcube.com!” Misa further gushed. Righteous Ltd became the 14th business in the UK to be successfully funded through crowd funding.
Her next step was to develop a TV ad that would showcase Righteous salad dressings in a way that would get people interested enough to go into stores and buy them. Martin Arnaldo, now of Bullet Manila, who is also a cousin of Misa’s, was tapped to produce the commercial. Both startups, Righteous and Bullet Manila teamed up for a multi-national production. The finished product – a sultry, exciting spot that livens up the image of salads – will be aired in June.
“I’m anxiously waiting to see if this risk we took on investing in a TV ad will pay off – but on the chance that it doesn’t, I’ll look back at all the hurdles we’ve crossed and glass ceilings we’ve broken, and confidently say that it wasn’t for lack of trying,” concluded Misa.

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