The Company You Keep

Naked Foods

Caique Ponzoni is the Founder and Owner of Naked Foods. Brazilian born, Caique originally moved to Australia to live out the Aussie dream, surf and learn English. But he ended up making a home here focusing on his passion for sustainability and zero waste.

Starting out at local farmers markets, Caique founded wholefoods retailer Naked Foods in 2012 and has since expanded to more than 20 stores nationally. But it hasn't always been easy, tune in to hear from Caique about how to overcome major business mistakes and scaling up a big business venture without any experience.

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Naked Foods

Caique Ponzoni moved to Australia in order to spend time surfing, but quickly realised he needed a job to supplement his hobbies. Not long after arriving, Caique quickly became concerned with the amount of food waste he saw everyday. So he founded Naked Foods as a sustainable, organic bulk healthfood chain that has now reached 21 stores across the country.

In this episode of The Company You Keep, you'll hear it hasn’t always been easy. Starting up the initial business for $50,000 with a loan from his grandfather was a massive risk. Caique has made mistakes along the way: not having a mentor, he says, was among them.

“I never had someone that guided me in the right direction or I've never gone to a business school to understand what it takes to build a business in a different country.”

Still, the business has succeeded. But if he could do it again, Caique says building a retail business requires proactiveness – especially looking for legal advice. “I basically had to do a lot of studying and learning to understand how much I have to pay staff or even to build the business itself.”

Another issue Caique faced was that he didn’t realise he had to trademark his business name until about two or three years in, a very costly mistake. But Caique’s persistent focus on listening to customers has seen him grow his business – advice he says other retail founders should follow closely.

“We can measure conversion rate in our stores, how many customers have come through, how many customers have been sold [to] or not, and that's basically by doing the staff reviews. Every time we speak we're asking how the customers are going.”

Caique advocates using My Business resources as well, like our online HR solution. “If I was starting Naked Foods today to be involved in that and have all the information available...that'll be a great tool to have it.”

Disclaimer: Our guests are real business owners and their experiences are their true stories. The guests express views and opinions that are from their own learnings and insights.

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