Crisps. We all love them and when we spoke to Colette Russell Smith co-founder of audaciously luxurious SAVOURSMITHS, we couldn’t help but love them even more. We caught up with Colette as she moved back to the family farm along with her husband Mike, to take the business in a modern direction, to find out exactly ‘how she got here’.
Sum up yourself and your job in 2 sentences
I have an entrepreneurial spirit and I am passionate and committed about creating products of integrity and beauty and to never take myself too seriously and have some fun and laughter along the way.
In Savoursmiths, we have created a potato crisp brand with audaciously luxurious crisps made with potatoes harvested from our own British farm in Cambridgeshire using on the finest ingredients, fuelled by the local fields and we are involved in the process from start to finish.
What has been the inspiration behind your career?
I grew up in the food and wine region of South Africa and have always been a passionate foodie. I have also been blessed with an international modelling career for the past 10 years, working with leading agencies across three different continents, representing some of the world’s most esteemed brands in their categories.
I have worked with so many interesting people and companies and travelled the world trying different cuisines and exploring different cultures. I also studied business whilst modelling and always knew deep inside that I would love to have my own business venture and create something amazing.
All the experiences individually have shaped me in a way and inspired me to take an entrepreneurial leap of faith and combine quality home-grown product with global flavours in stylish packaging for a totally new take on a traditional snack.
What has been the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
To surround yourself with inspiring people and to learn from others and to always be humble enough to ask for advice or mentoring. Most successful people are happy for you to pick their brains, if only you would ask!
Another very important piece of advice is ‘what you focus on expands’. I have to remind myself everyday of my life that I should listen to the right people, focus on what is good and what is working. Sometime negative thoughts and responses can really get me down, but I have to stay determined, fix what is within my control and build on what’s good.
What piece of advice would you give to others wanting to follow in your footsteps?
JUST DO IT! It is scary to begin a project that is so risky, that a lot of people will tell you will fail, that is so competitive and where you are the newcomer, but it can be done! Just filter through the nonsense and do what you believe in. If you have a good idea, passion and good work ethic, it really comes through in your work.
You’re a new addition to a crayon box, what colour would you be and why?
I would be a red crayon, I would jump out of the box with vigour and joy and with courage and energy to create a beautiful picture! I love red, it’s striking, it has many different shades, some which have positive and negative emotions attached to it, but for me, it makes me think of a colour with a happy-go-lucky lust for life.
What was the last gift you gave to someone?
A Taschen James Bond Archives Coffee Table Book. James Bond is such an amazing character, I can only imagine that if he was a bag of crisps he would be a bag of Savoursmiths 🙂
What inspires you?
The world around me. My Mother taught me to appreciate little things in life and see beauty in everything, so I try to always see beauty in every individual, situation, in the flowers, the clouds, in the way a coffee is served, a good book and so forth.
My Father taught me a lot about business and new ideas, he is an entrepreneur himself, so I get really excited when I see other people do amazing things and achieve their maximum potential.
What is the difference between right and wrong?
I think every individual has a conscience that instinctively recognises good from evil and right from wrong. I think it is wrong when someone knows what they are about to do is wrong, deceitful or harmful and yet still go and do it. I believe that our inner moral judgement generally knows when actions or thoughts are not in accordance with the truth and inappropriate behaviour. If we really shine a light on our heart, we know what is right, just, fair, proper and good.
When have you been most satisfied with your life?
I would say right now. I think as you grow older you become more who you are. I have a lot more sense of direction now that every before and it makes me feel satisfied.
I wake up every morning and want to get busy working on SAVOURSMITHS. It really drives me. I think when I was younger I stressed too much about trivial things and about not achieving my dreams. I suppose I thought there was only certain ways to go about getting to your goals. I now realise life works in mysterious ways, you never know how its going to happen!
I also have the most amazing partner who really motivates me and builds me up. I think its really important in life to be in the right relationship. It can really be a crutch if its wrong. I also love that I can still enjoy a bit of modelling – I love the creative industry! It’s truly inspiring.
If there was one thing you could say to your 5-year old self, what would it be?
RELAX – you are going to be a potato crisps maker one day! lol 🙂 I would probably say; ‘relax little Colette, take it easy, look around you, learn as much as you can from as many as you can and stay true to yourself throughout’.
Tell us in 3 words, how you got to where you are today?
Creativity, determination, people.