Business In The Spotlight: Mr Lee’s Noodles
We’ve got a great treat for the spotlight this week: Mr Lee’s Noodles Company – healthy, oriental cup noodles! Recommendable caught up with Damien Lee, the Founder and CEO – a globally successful serial entrepreneur and cancer survivor who is now the founder of Mr Lee’s Noodles, the healthy alternative to ready meals. Damien Lee has an incredible story which is worth a read, and his insights into business are useful for anyone looking to build a company. Remember if you want to be in the spotlight you can apply here!
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Damien Lee, the founder and CEO of Mr Lee’s Noodles Company. By always being an entrepreneur, I have built numerous businesses that have spanned the globe, from Australia, Sweden to Singapore and the UK – you name it. The companies I’ve started include an innovative digital marketing agency, a financial recruitment ‘headhunter’ company in London and an international security company, which became the world’s second largest maritime communications company. Running my own businesses is my passion, but I didn’t realise at the time that I was living fast and care-free, and after moving to Bournemouth to change my lifestyle, I was unexpectedly diagnosed with late stage 4 cancer.
They gave me a choice between starting treatment or not, as it was on my terms whether I wanted to ride it out and have a better quality of life to the end without the chemo. Determined to live for my two young boys James and Josh, I underwent 16 rounds of chemo and chemo-related treatments and fought the battle head first. To help my recovery I started to take out all the nasties from my diet, and this included cup noodles, a junk food product I couldn’t get enough off. I knew they were loaded with salt, sugar, fats, msg’s, but I didn’t care because, well… they tasted great! I had to make these changes fast!
Despite my business at the time ‘Designed Gadgets’ being put to one side, I eventually made it to remission, and with cup noodles in mind, I decided that I wanted to bring the world a genuinely healthy noodle that would be guilt-free and good for you. Mr Lee’s Noodles Company was born, and to date we are doing everything we can, to push our products as the perfect, healthy alternative ready meal for many different audiences.
What is your company all about?
Mr Lee’s Noodles Company are an award winning brand of 100% tasty, 0% nasty, gourmet, gluten-free noodles in a cup. With a diverse range six authentic, oriental flavours, our noodles are one of the lowest in salt, sugar, fats (saturated), calories, with no msg’s, artificial chemicals, preservatives, additives or preservatives. With over 100 billion instant noodles produced each year and growing, our mission is simple. We want to help food consumers eat and live better, with our cup noodles being the flagship of our healthy eating campaign.
We are different for many reasons. Most importantly, our noodles are developed using freeze-dried ingredients, which unlike dehydrated (as used by our competitors) lock in all the goodness and nutrition. Once combined with naturally gluten-free rice noodles, our products come to life, using orange blossom honey and lime peel to recreate a more natural sugar and salt flavour, and real pieces of meat and vegetables. We are a premium noodle product, and we’re proud of it!
Not only are our products unique, but our noodles are delivered in a surprising, innovative way; introducing the Mr Lee’s ‘Noodle Kiosk’ digital vending machines. These Kiosks, the first of which is trialling at Bournemouth University, combines new technologies to create a more engaging, exciting method of food delivery. With an array of cool features, most notably our 32” touch-screen that allows for greater interaction, infomercials and entertaining content, providing healthy food delivery 24/7 is more possible than ever before. With leading vending experts and contractors on board, we hope to push these machines to universities, hospitals, places of business, airports, defence force bases and more.
How important is what you do?
We believe that the sheer amount of food producers pushing unhealthy, junk products is a disservice to modern food consumers, and this is most noticeable in the food-to-go sector. Misleading food audiences into a sense of security through the use of chemicals, artificial additives, too much salt and sugar is creating problems; with obesity, diabetes and allergens on the rise. Now more than ever we want to use our cup noodles and more products down the pipeline, to show that there are other healthy, and just as convenient food products available on the market that people can make use of.
I believe that as our noodles gain more influence in the market and critical acclaim. Our importance to the diets of young people, mum’s, busy professionals and more will increase, especially considering that our Noodle Kiosks can be pushed directly into a wide variety of locations the supermarkets simply can’t fulfil. We want to remain responsible to our audience and continue providing products that stick to our ethical foundations.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Never be afraid of trying something new and to fail to try. The strength is to get back up each time and trying again until you succeed. Your true power is your mind and how you apply it. So go out, live it and use it!
Why is word of mouth important to you as a business?
As an entrepreneur with little to no retail experience, it was imperative that my business could build a strong, passionate community, that would be invested in our products and want to see us expand and succeed. By sharing our products with bloggers, media publications, important clients and more, our noodles are gaining traction in the industry, and people are purchasing under their great words of enthusiasm and recommendations. Word of Mouth, both online and offline, is how we plan on getting our product “out there” as quick as possible. Brand associations have been critical in our growth process, and they will continue to be looking ahead.
To find out more about Mr Lee’s, follow us on social media, visit https://www.mrleesnoodles.com/ and subscribe to our newsletter!