Stephen and David Flynn - The Happy Pear

Brothers Stephen and David Flynn are passionate about fresh, organic,locally sourced food.  From their beginnings as a fruit & veg shop in Greystones they have become a national brand in healthy eating – not to mention their the café is always busy!  Now moving into providing their products to a wider audience, The Happy Pear Flynn Family Team are always thinking about how to expand their organic empire.  We took some time with the twins to get to know them a little better.  Thanks guys for giving us an insight to The Happy Pear

What led you to starting your business? We wanted to start a business that we really believed in, where we could work to make a better world by setting up a place that brings people together to celebrate good, healthy, local, organic food, and that really helps nourish all the people involved in it from people who work with there, to suppliers, to customers, to the local community and the environment. In essence we wanted to start up a place that really nourished us and everyone around!

How did you raise the start-up funds you needed? A blessed angel investor that believed in us and what we wanted to create – thank you, thank you, thank you!

What was the most significant lesson you learned in starting your business? Both of us are pretty impetuous, so we just tend to jump into things and make loads of mistakes and keep trying until eventually they work. So I think definitely a good lesson we’ve learnt is to try to plan and think a little before jumping in!

What’s the best book you’ve ever read, business or non-business?Small is Beautiful, Economics As If People Mattered by E. F Schumacher – written about 30 years ago and is still so relevant and wise. Ricardo Semler’s book Maverick was very refreshing. Steve Jobs biography was fascinating.

Who is the entrepreneur you admire the most? Pat the local shoe repair man! He still charges prices like €2.50 to fix your shoes and when you ask him why he charges so little he’ll say something like, “I have enough money!” I think it’s very rare to meet anyone who has enough and it’s really refreshing to find someone so content. Richard Branson is always fascinating and what Steve Job’s managed to accomplish was quite extraordinary.

What have been the biggest challenges in your business to date? Learning to face some of our fears in terms of dealing with people, trying to be always honest while being sensitive to others and ourselves. Learning how to maintain a healthy balance between working lots and looking after ourselves and our families.

What has been the proudest moment in your business so far? There is no one particular day that stands out above the rest, I feel proud of the business most days especially when I see people having a good time there!

What was the best piece of business advice you ever got? I love Einstein’s quote about an expert being someone who has explored all possible mistakes in a given field. It always inspires us to embrace mistakes and think of them as brilliant teachers and not as bad things.

Can you recommend a good time management technique for other entrepreneurs out there? This is something we always struggle with too and are always working at improving, the balance of doing the important while attending to the urgent. We both use the calender on our phones and link them up using Google Apps so we can add things to each other’s calenders. This is helpful but it just aids with communication. We try to hold each other accountable and in focus, and try to meet with our Dad regularly who helps give us a more objective view on things.

What magazine do you never miss each month? Neither of us really got into reading magazines but as of late I’m making an effort to read Wired magazine as I’m finding myself really interested in technology at the moment.

What is your favourite film? It really depends on the day, some that spring to mind: Amelie, Good Will Hunting, Avatar, The Lord of the Rings, It’s a Wonderful Life. Watched The Descendants last night and it was wonderful.

What is your favourite ad? I don’t really watch a lot of ads but the Old Spice ad that went viral a few years ago I loved, here’s a link if anyone wants to watch it:

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs thinking of starting a business? Find something that you really believe in and love to do and get stuck in, start making mistakes, learn from them, and if you love it and commit to it you’re bound to succeed.

What do you like to do when you’re not running your business? We both have little daughters about the same age and have such fun spending time with our little families. Both of us love to read, run, do yoga, swim in the sea, cook and generally have a good time.

Have you found the self-employed formula for a work/life balance? Somedays we’re great at this and really enjoy both work and time off but like everyone we can get lost in work and forget to stop and look after ourselves. It’s handy that there are two of us, so when one of us senses that the other is a little uptight he’ll fire off a reminder like; relax, take it easy and try to enjoy what your doing! Another thing we try to do is to remind ourselves how insignificant we are and to try not to take things so seriously. Swimming in the sea is good one for resetting us when we lose perspective, it helps us keep our cool!

What’s your website?

Do you have a Facebook page?

Are you on Twitter?

How has Wicklow CEB helped you and/or your business? They helped us to find a kitchen to rent for producing pesto. Their range of courses usually looks great and always look tempting – its making the time to do them.  Anytime we have contacted them they have always been very helpful.

If you could start up all over again, would you do anything differently? Hindsight is 20:20 so its very easy to see how to get where we are a lot quicker but I think all the holes we have fallen into along the way are the bits where we have really learnt.

The Happy Pear can be found on Church Road in Greystones, where you can sit & enjoy the Flynn’s produce or take it away to enjoy at home. Advocates of healthy eating, wheatgrass and smoothies, in addition to having their own smoothie bar the Flynns also like to help people learn about nutrition.  They have healthy heart classes you can attend, or just pick up some tips from their website & blog.  David & Stephen keep bees, cater for outside functions and are exploring further products on the bakery side – freshly baked organic breads.  They never seem to sit still for long!