A Word from Craig Allen – Founder of GSN
I have worn every hat, and gone through every emotion… it’s been one hell of a ride. But I couldn’t be prouder of what we have achieved up to this point.
Let’s journey the last decade together! I want to tell you about me, the Craig who dropped out of university to chase a new dream and what a typical day looked like. In 2012 I explored an idea that Steam Cooked Chicken would be great for students and gym-goers to make healthy eating, easier. I for one, could never cook chicken without overcooking it, the monotonous chore of eating dried chicken far outweighed the thought of salmonella at that point😂. I figured If we could bulk supply chicken to people there would be an appetite for it. So off I went to challenge all of my dads contacts to find a healthy steam-cooked chicken that was delicious and affordable. I bought some gold bags and printed some vinyl stickers. Something I will always remember and proudly look back on, the birth of GSN.
At 20 years old; and still navigating my own way around a rack of dumbbells let alone the fitness industry, I would walk into spit and sawdust gyms with nothing but our now flagship gold bag full of chicken in hand and try to convince the owners that my idea was a worthy one. Each gym I spoke to; often with an empty gold bag of chicken by that point, realised the potential OF dream which quickly turned into reality, as we began onboarding some hardcore gyms.
Next I convinced my Dad, Steve, to help me buy some freezers. We bought 50 freezers from the 2012 London olympics and stocked up the garage at home from floor to ceiling. With a little help from the internet and some self-taught vinyl wrapping, I now had both the product and the market. The last thing I needed was a way of transporting my dream nationwide and delivering the freezers to our customers doorstep, from Paisley to Plymouth. My Dad and I scoured eBay landing upon an old Tesco truck. Decommissioned and still restricted to just 56mph. That will do just the job we said…
That was it. All the pieces I needed were in place to start the business.
I started each day by loading up 3 freezers into the van and a box full of stickered up gold bags that I mastered that art of producing by using a ruler and a bit of good old fairy liquid. I would drive across the M62 to Manchester every day and pick up 225 bags of chicken (all that I could fit in the freezer compartment of the van) and then drive to deliver the bags to a stockist that had ordered them. All whilst scouting out 4/5 new stockists that I would pop into en route, trying to build my milk round.
Some days I would be out 18 hours a day just driving the country at 56mph but I knew it would be worth it once we built the foundations.
This personal touch is something I wanted to try and keep and something which is always in my mind when employing new people and taking on new partnerships. It’s not all about your CV, it’s also about DO WE MATCH, will you care as much as I care and I think that plays testament to how good the team is we have built and a reflection on our 5* Trustpilot score.
Fast forward 10 years and we now work with DPD the UK’s biggest courier and Europes biggest coldstore to deliver the best frozen food direct to you doorstep in perfect condition.
We pride ourselves on being innovators and market leaders in healthy frozen foods.
Most people won’t know this but in 2016 we nearly closed the doors here at GSN. I was forced to make all my staff and friends redundant, I was told that the dream was over and to start looking at other things to do. But I couldn’t give up on the dream, so we stripped back to bare bones where Iain, Me and Steve (My Dad) took on GSN V2.0, the rebirth, and from that moment on we have never looked back. Do it first, do it best and back yourself to the sky! Having something good nearly taken away makes you appreciate more of what you have, so this is something that will live with me forever and always be a motivator for GSN. It helped us roll our sleeves up even further and always do things to the highest standard we can. I am proud to say that we have re-employed some of the staff that we made redundant and we value loyalty above all else.
I hope this gives you a good insight into my GSN Journey and I look forward to sharing many more years with you, our amazing GSN customers. Without you GSN wouldn’t exist and its only through your word of mouth and recommendations that GSN has been able to grow to this milestone today. Thank you.
Craig Allen, Father of 2, Husband to be and very proud business owner of the worlds best healthy frozen food company, GSN.