This is How To Build A Million Dollar Fast-Moving-Consumer Goods Brand

Serial FMCG Entrepreneur Simon Gook shares the secrets of his success

Beauty Brand Model Secrets offer us a a masterclass in TikTok marketing Mastery

Hello and welcome to our in-depth conversation with Simon Gook, seasoned entrepreneur with a knack for crafting iconic products and brands. For the last 20 years, he’s been navigating diverse industries, from fragrances and skincare to food supplements and watches. One standout moment? His collaboration with David Coulthard and Red Bull Racing, culminating in the distinctive Pole Position Fragrance. Today, Simon is at the forefront of a fresh challenge: heading up an agency offering a full suite of services for influencers and celebrities dreaming of their own products. Ready to dive into Simon’s inspiring journey? Let’s get started!

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Simon Gook, FMCG Industry veteran is the visionary behind huge household names including Pole Position Aftershave, Model Secrets and Trim Sole

Hello and Welcome Simon!

Can you tell us about your experience in creating products and brands over the past 20 years? What specific accomplishments or successes are you most proud of?

The One and Only David Coulthard and Pole Position Ambassador

In the past 20 years I have created fragrance, skincare, makeup brushes, footwear, watches, functional beverages, protein bars, watches and food supplements, in essence my area of expertise is ’taste and smell’ although I will challenge myself in other areas as I did with Pole Position Watches and TrimSole Footwear.

I think the Pole Position Fragrance with David Coulthard and Red Bull Racing is my stand out success..not financially but as a great product that had an awesome aroma (I used to get stopped and asked on the street what I was wearing) and it was fun to work on:  we spent 4 years travelling the Formula1 European Races sampling and entertaining retailers – something that cannot happen today with the new restrictions and guidelines for entertaining buyers.

What motivated you to start an agency that offers a full turnkey service for influencers and celebrities wanting their own products? What unique value do you believe your agency can bring to this market?

There are thousands of influencers supporting third-party brands across the globe, and there are numerous agencies pairing influencers with products or brands – or both.

If you speak to most influencers/celebrities or even members of the general public – most will tell you that they have a dream or idea for a product – but just have no idea where to start.

We can ‘hold hands’ from concept to creation to distribution.

No other agency offers that full service.”

Simon Gook, Serial Entrepreneur

In your opinion, what are the key challenges and considerations when it comes to launching products for influencers and celebrities? How do you plan to address these challenges in your agency?

There are many challenges when launching a new product – the biggest challenge is to communicate ‘why’ a consumer should try a new product – who better to communicate the ‘why’ and the benefits but the product creator who is already fully invested with a genuine passion for the product.

We will impress on all influencers that we work with the importance of getting fully behind their product launch then maintaining regular updates and collaborations.

How do you approach the process of product conception and development? Can you walk us through your methodology and the steps involved in bringing an idea to life?

Every product is different, I can take you through the process I undertook with David Coulthard and the Pole Position fragrance.

I was living in Monaco at the time, I was at a British Association event and started chatting to what turned out to be David Coulthard’s business manager – the subject turned to the rise in male grooming (this was in 2005) and my experience creating female products.

He suggested that it could be worth incorporating Formula 1 (at the time a very male dominated sport) with David Coulthard, a high profile F1 Driver and create a grooming range or fragrance.

I went away, researched F1, and noticed that it was dominated by sponsors from the Tobacco, Oil, Petroleum, Energy Drinks industry… not a male grooming brand to be seen.

To try and buy the ‘F1’ trademark for fragrance/skincare would have cost millions plus I wanted to widen the concept to ‘Motorsport’ in general.

After watching hours and hours of Motorsport on TV, the phrase that I heard over and over again was ‘Pole Position’ which is iconic and also means to be in front, and of course – every driver wants to be in ‘Pole Position’ on race day.

“So now that we had a strong brand name, I went away and acquired the Trademarks and domain names”

Simon Gook, Model Secrets

The life of a F1 Driver is a glamorous one: we wanted the brand to reflect this with links to Monaco, yachts, travel, luxury and fast cars.

I then created 10 fragrances with a leading fragrance house, sat with David Coulthard and after lots of testing and discussion agreed that one fragrance stood out over the rest – we had our fragrance!

At the same time we had approached Boots and Superdrug with storyboards and pre-production samples  – these are two of the biggest fragrance retailers in the UK – they were keen to give us a trial listing.

We then signed off the packaging and produced 100,000 50ml and 50,000 100ml fragrances ready for a Christmas 2006 launch.

Superdrug were definitely keener and in return for a listing in 800 stores plus a Christmas launch promotion: we gave them a six month exclusivity.

In October 2006 (just over 1 Year from the initial discussions in Monaco), we officially launched the Pole Position Fragrance at Superdrug’s flagship store on Oxford Street in London. 

David Coulthard and Sir Stirling Moss at the buzzing press launch of Pole Position

Present at the launch was £1 Million of Supercars, F1 Driver David Coulthard along with MotorSport Icon Sir Stirling Moss

… plus a host of professional drivers from World, European and British Touring Cars – the event was a huge success and was covered in the national media, the motorsport press and even got a mention on Top Gear!

In the evening we had a launch party at iconic London Club China White – a star studded evening attended by F1 Drivers and sports stars from the world of rugby, football and cricket plus a whole host of models and rock stars – a very glamorous event indeed!

We then ran competitions within Superdrug to encourage staff to recommend the Pole Position Fragrance to customers looking for a Christmas present – all in all the launch was a huge success.

Distribution plays a crucial role in the success of any product. How do you plan to handle the distribution process for the products created by your agency?

We have our own distribution set up in Lancashire, we can very easily add new products and brands into the D2C side of things and introduce brands into retailers across Europe.

Garnering over 18 million views on TikTok, (you read that correctly 18 MILLION…) The Model Secrets Miracle Cream is drawing comparisons with Charlotte Tilsbury Magic Cream!
Beauty brand Model Secrets have grown rapidly through harnessing the power of TikTok

We keep an eye of the beauty, cosmetics and drinks industry news by way of subscribing to daily/weekly industry updates…there is also the ‘old school’ approach where I spend at least 1 day a month visiting retailers in London like Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and the likes of Space NK/Sephora that are usually at the cutting edge with new brands and trends.

Industry exhibitions like COSMOPROF (Fragrance and Beauty) and DRINKTEC are also great ways to keep up to speed on the latest trends.

What advice would you give to anyone starting out on their entrepreneurial journey?

Simon’s beverage brand, Number 1

I would always advise anyone to follow their dreams as an entrepreneur, be prepared for hard days and disappointment in the early days…

there are always more disappointing days and knock backs at the beginning but don’t lose hope.

Make the product great… ask yourself ‘why would I buy my product’ – that is the acid test – would ‘you’ pay your hard earned product for your creation’?

It is not easy… if it was then everybody would be doing it – so be patient and never quit!!

Once the momentum starts then it gets easier and easier…

Simon Gook, Serial Entrepreneur

Let’s Sum Up!

What a rich journey that has been, delving into Simon’s world of product creation and brand development! Through his experiences, we’ve glimpsed the challenges, triumphs, and the unwavering passion that drives an entrepreneur. Simon’s venture into the world of influencers and celebrities, coupled with his expertise and vision, promises an exciting future for product creation. His advice for budding entrepreneurs rings clear: pursue your dreams, prepare for hard days, and above all, never quit. As we wrap up this enlightening discussion, we hope that Simon’s story sparks your own entrepreneurial spirit. Thank you for joining us, and here’s to creating and innovating!

Financial Independence Retire Early
See you tomorrow folks! xx

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