Every day during the Christmas holidays we profile winners of the recent IoD Director of the Year Awards. Today it’s Paul Lindley, founder and chairman of Ella’s Kitchen, who won the International Director award
‘We too often forget the power of using our imagination’ – Paul Lindley, founder and chairman, Ella’s Kitchen
Paul Lindley launched organic baby food brand Ella’s Kitchen from his own kitchen table in 2004. Last year it was selling goods in 40 countries, turning over more than £75m and reporting 13 per cent sales growth against a sector average of one per cent. He is also the founder of natural toiletries brand Paddy’s Bathroom and The Key Is E, which supports social entrepreneurs in Africa whose businesses benefit children. He shares some of his secrets of success.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever taken? Supermarket tycoon Sir Ken Morrison once pointed at my feet and said: ‘See them, lad? Keep those on the ground. Be humble, grateful and real.’ He then pointed at my head and said: ‘See that? Keep it in the clouds. Dream, imagine and don’t accept that anything is impossible.’
Which entrepreneurs do you especially admire? Tony Hsieh of Zappos for his audacity and Dame Anita Roddick for her trailblazing ethical entrepreneurship.
Where do you get your best ideas from? Play! We too often forget the power of relaxing, opening our minds and using our imagination.
Which innovation has been crucial to your firm’s growth? A new form of packaging: the flexible pouch. It enables lower cooking temperatures, giving better colours, textures and nutrition.
What are your plans for 2018? Delivering our 13th consecutive year of double-digit growth.
What’s the biggest leadership lesson you’ve learnt? Think like a toddler to release your imagination, self-confidence and free thinking. It can change the world.