The OD - Issue 1 - page 13

2011 · iSSuE 1
Eight years ago, entrepreneurs
(OD 1990) and Harry Biggs
launched Firefly Tonics, a natural energy
drinks company, to great acclaim in Harvey
Nichols, London. Working long hours in
the City, and tiring of all the sugary and
caffeinated products they drank to keep
their energy levels up, Marcus and Harry
conceived of a healthy alternative. They
collaborated with the most prominent
herbalists in Britain in their quest for a
healthy energy drink to provide that ‘get up
and go’ feeling and now sell to a 40 countries
Despite rapid growth, Firefly has
remained a small, specialist company with a
close-knit team. The key to success, say the
founders, is finding a niche in an already
saturated market. The early 2000s saw
both the rise of energy drink products, full
of sugar and additives, and an increased
awareness of healthy living. Firefly was
conceived to bridge a gap between the trends.
Business interests, however, have not
stopped Marcus fulfilling his personal
Health drink
Helps Charity
The company’s aim is to build
custom trips around the unique tastes
and requirements of travellers. This
involves far more than booking hotels;
complex trips are coordinated across
the globe by a network of ‘pigs’ who
have in-depth knowledge of over thirty
countries. As demand grows, Jack and
his colleagues research and explore
new regions.
Jack became interested in the travel
trade after university, when he worked
for a company running cycling tours
around France. He has since developed
an organisation devoted to bespoke and
philanthropic ambitions. He recently
completed the striking feat of climbing up
and then skiing down Mont Blanc to raise
money for cancer research. Firefly also
started a joint charitable venture with The
Oxford Children’s Hospital. In April, Firefly
launched Step Up, a new tonic with the
sole aim of raising £30,000 for the hospital.
The company will donate 10p from every
bottle of Step Up sold to this cause. The
money raised will help to transform two
dreary corridors that connect the children’s
ward with the operating theatres. It will
also provide attractive art for anaesthetic
rooms and help to fund state-of-the-art
Supporting The Oxford Children’s
Hospital is a very personal cause for
Marcus, as his brother Thomas (OD 1998)
spent many months there before his death
from Cancer. The Waley-Cohen family have
already helped to raise £1million for the
hospital and a new children’s ward has been
named in Thomas’s memory to care for
children before and after surgery.
highly personalised travel, and enjoys
all kinds of new challenges. “We work
with a range of budgets, from the fairly
modest right up to people who ask if
£25,000 is enough money for a week
in Tuscany,” says Jack. He adds: “We
also deal with many different clients -
everyone from families to royalty.”.
All Trufflepig trips are unique –
some notable excursions include a
safari specialising in hippo watching in
Africa, a trip to an archaeological dig
in the depths of the Guatemalan jungle,
and a private lunch at the 16th century
Villa Centinale in Tuscany.
Can a love of travel and exploration
be turned into a thriving business?
Trufflepig, co-founded by
(OD 1990), is such a business.
Describing themselves as ‘a tiny company
with a big nose,’ the partners provide a
trip planning service with a curious and
spirited approach to travel.
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