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Futureminded Founder Q&A: Nathan Clemes, Unrooted Fresh Energy

Updated: Aug 9, 2019

The team behind Unrooted Fresh Energy are helping to bring the wellness revolution to energy drinks market by harnessing the power of the baobab fruit, a potent superfood that has been used for thousands of years in many African countries. In doing so, they've managed to create a caffine-free, high-fibre, antioxidant rich energy drink that's now stocked by stores including Selfridges and Planet Organic.

We asked founder Nathan Clemes for his thoughts on challenging the status quo, establishing a business, and how he makes time for himself too!

Who? Nathan Clemes

Disruptor Brand: Unrooted Fresh Energy

Founded: From idea in 2017 to launch in 2019

Employees: Team of 6

Parent Company: Independent

What inspired you to create Unrooted Fresh Energy?

Before starting Unrooted, I was working in finance, fuelling my long working hours with lots of caffeine and unhealthy drinks. I realised around this time that despite the massive trend of health and wellness impacting every category in soft drinks, nothing had really changed across the energy drinks category. It was then I started to think about how I could make energy drinks truly different, and how a new brand could really stand out - and that’s when I saw an opportunity for an energy drink that didn’t use any caffeine or added sugar. Unrooted was then born!

What were the big lessons you learned in your first year as a business?

With starting a business, it's one of those things where you definitely learn something new every day. For me the biggest lessons were around the need to simplify and focus your message on what makes you unique. For us, we’re a genuinely new and unique type of product in the category, with a main ingredient in baobab that is also relatively new to the market, which means that we felt we had a ton to talk about. The reality is consumers don’t really have the time to listen to every brand in the market, so staying focused and on-message is crucial.

What are the brand values and promises you stand behind? How did you challenge the status quos and disrupt conventional wisdom? How did you set your brand apart?

At Unrooted we are all about promoting what we call Fresh Energy. For us this means two things - practically, it means disrupting the category through delivering a truly healthy energy boost without caffeine or added sugar, all due to the amazing baobab fruit and its high fibre, micronutrient and vitamin C content. Secondly, its means bringing some fun and levity to the category, which in the past has had a terrible reputation. We want to make the world a healthier place to have fun in.

What’s next for Unrooted Fresh Energy?

We’re aiming to spread the good word of baobab and show consumers there’s a much healthier way to give yourself energy these days! Something that really stands out about the baobab fruit is its high fibre content. Baobab is over 50% fibre (compared to only 8-10% for most other high-fibre fruit & veg), composed of both soluble and insoluble fibres, which means it’s a powerful prebiotic and great for your gut health. Gut health is talked about a lot these days, and we are working hard to make sure baobab is at the front of that conversation.

Give us a quick insight into a day in your life?

Its a cliché, but each day is very different, which is what makes starting a business so exciting! Most days I’ll get to the office around 9am and catch up on emails for a couple hours - topics ranging from sales, marketing & PR, to production and finance. During most days we have samplings booked at our accounts, and as we’re a small team I try to help with these where I can. Afterwards, I might have calls or meetings with the team to discuss new sales leads and what our plan is to approach them, new ideas in the pipeline for marketing and social media or chatting with potential investors. At the end of the day I always try to take myself to the gym before heading home for dinner!

What’s your personal mantra?

In these early days of starting a business it can be a rollercoaster at times, so I just do my best to stay positive, calm and collected no matter what!

What’s your favourite self-care activity?

Definitely going to the gym and spending time with friends

What’s your favourite book?

Too many favourites to list, but recently I’ve been reading The Spy and the Traitor by Ben Macintyre which is incredibly captivating!

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