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You’re building your brand all WRONG!! 7 Uncommon Ways to Build Your Challenger Brand that’ll make you way happier

A violent thudding at the door.

Like demented and feral and furious red-eyed horses storming across cold black concrete.

The rags and tatters of my thoughts swirled around like a seething circus.

I tried to cling on to thoughts. They escaped.

“Who’s that?” “why now?”…”it’s too late?” “not today”… “please not now” “this can’t be happening”… not to me? …Why to me? This is fucked”

Worms and bats and beasts and slugs and vultures roved around.

Pandemonium of panic hissed and screeched like a crashing Transylvanian train.


The street lights flicked in a wild hysteria like a shivering white leaves.

Gloomy nefarious shadows danced in the door way.

Nervously, I approached the door.

Icy trepidation foiled my soul.

Icy tears of sweat crawled down my face.

I peeped through the key hole.

It’s eyes stared through me like deep black endless wells of frothing hell.


A happy slap of reality kissed me in the face.

The hot salty-waft of every little thangs gunna be aaaa rite.

It was Deliveroo delivery man.

In a state of squiffy catatonic bliss. I’d ORDERED-A-BLADDY CHINESE.

Opened a bottle of Red, slipped on Simply Red.

I’ve a rare condition where I can’t eat Chinese without drinking Red wine and listening to Simply Red.

For mains I chowed down chow mien. Insane. In the brain.

Doused in White Mausu.

Hot sex in a jar. Other worldly. Godly.

November 2022.

I was lucky to do some consultancy work with White Mausu.

I J’AAAAAAAAAAAADOREEEEEE White Mausu - they’re building a challenger brand like no one else.

They’re breaking all the rules. So should you. Here’s how.

Common challenger brand belief One: 

“Raise tonnes of money. Build it. Flip it. Hopefully in 5 years”

White Mausu belief: 

Don’t raise money. Bootstrap. Play the long game. Play the Infinite Game. Have Fun.

When you raise money. You’re no longer the boss. Investors are your boss.

White Mausu have COMPLETE CONTROL of their brand identity and destiny.

they’re playing the Infinite Game

Am I saying don’t raise?

Of course not.

But there is another path where you play for longer, maintain fun and complete control.

Common challenger belief Two:

“work 15 hours a day and wank over Gary Vaynerchuck #hustle hustle hustle”

White Mausu belief: work a 4 day week. Have fun. Avoid burnout.

LinkedIn is hustle porn hub. “work all day”

I used to be a hustle fiend. Always end up back at square one. Burnt out.

Lorcan, Jas and Katie work a 4 day week.

On Friday’s Lorcan goes rock climbing.

On Friday’s Katie and Lorcan hang with the kids or cook mackerel on the BBQ. And they live in a gorgeous part of west Ireland. They do what they want to do.

Am inspired, massively.

I now operate a strict Fuck-all-Friday’s policy.

I go very, very, very hard Monday to Thursday.

Friyay’s are a 4 - 5 hours tops. 12 o’clock. I’m done.

Common Challenger belief three

“let’s hire a huge sales team and marketing team.”

White Mausu belief: Your Packaging and Product are the BEST sales team on the planet.

William Chase, founder of Tyrells saidsales team are just order takers”.

White Mausu product is the sales and marketing team.

White Mausu packaging is the sales and marketing team.

White Mausu have never hired a full time sales person. Or full time marketing person.

Instead they’re first hire was a graphic designer. This would make most Mars CEO’s skin crawl.


They created sick packaging and sick product.

That’ll do the sales for you.


You could spend £50 k on an average sales person to shift an average product for an average brand.

Why not just invest 50k in a better product and better packaging?

White Mausu garnered a cult like following Michel Roux and Nigella Lawson and Marcus Wareing.

Common challenger belief Four

“Grow. Grow. Grow - don’t worry about profit.”

White Mausu belief: let’s make a seriously healthy profit from day one. Be frugal yet forceful.

The narrative for years was don’t worry about profit.




Gross margin is everything.

When you eventually sell Sergeant fucking Economies of Scale bowl in and turn a profit.

Yeh, this is mostly true. And definitely works for well backed brands like Lucky Saint.

But for most brands starting out. The narrative is changing. Profit is becoming more and more and more important.

Listen to the podcast with Giles Brooks for more on this.

White Mausu make a strong profit and pay themselves handsomely.

Common challenger brand belief 5:

“Let’s list with every single mult possible and give our souls to grocery”

White Mausu belief: we’re not interested in multiples or grocery.

I kept badgering Lorcan, “mate, let’s go for Ocado and Waitrose”.

“Nope, not interested pal”

They’ve a big, healthy, seriously profitable business selling into wholesalers and indies.

Grocery is great for many brands like Lucky Saint, Cawston Press.

But for many brands it’s a nightmare. Mauls your margin. Fucking headache to manage. Expensive. Easy to get delisted.

You can build a branding

Common challenger brand belief 6:

Let’s build a business. And not worry about anything else.

White mausu belief: “Business is Art”

Julian Metcalf, founder of Pret A Manger and ITSU said “Business is art. The highest form of art.” (podcast with Julian goes live next Monday btw).

Julian would give Pret customers free cups of coffee or croissants completely for free and randomly.

It made no sense on the P&L.

I loved this.

A brand is art. The highest form of art.

“But making money is art, and working is art - and good business is the best art” - Andy Warhol

White Mausu are artists.

Katie and Jasper are artists.

Every time they unlock a new Indie listing, their graphic designer draws up the a picture of indie stockist. And sends the indie stockist a kitchen towel with it embroided on.

Gorgeous brand building at it’s absolutely FINEST.

Thank you so, so much for reading this!!

Would be super grateful if you could pretty-please share this newsletter on to as many peeps as possible!!


Popey x

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