Thinking business with Tom Keogh

Tom Keogh, founder of Keogh’s crisps talks to ThinkBusiness about spuds, social media and storytelling.

How did you start your business?

We literally re-invented the potato. We had to. In-depth market research led to a number of consumer insights that resulted in fundamental changes to our business. We recreated our brand. We moved from spuds to crisps. At the start we were living the brand we just needed to tell our story. 

How long have you been in business?

Our family has been growing Irish potatoes in this area for over 200 years. My dad, Peter, and Uncle Tony own PKS Farms, a potato-growing business. I worked for them from a young age.

Did you raise funds to start?

We were lucky in that we had founder savings, family BES, and support from the Local Enterprise Board when launching Keogh’s Crisps back in 2011. 

How did the company get its big break?

Between 2002 and 2011 the consumption of potatoes had almost halved in Ireland, so we knew we had to innovate. We decided to launched Keogh’s Crisps, the only hand-cooked crisps in Ireland. Now five years on we have eight flavours on the market and no signs of stopping. 

What sets your brand and products apart in an incredibly competitive market?

It’s our religious attention to quality combined with the rich fertile soils of Fingal which result in great tasting quality products that our consumers can trust and enjoy. 

What are you proud of?

I’m proud of everything this business has achieved from selling our first box of crisps to now seeing our product on the shelves of stores in China, Dubai, Germany … the list goes on. We started with one employee and we now have 33 working for Keogh’s Crisps. 

Do you do use social media to promote your products? What works best?

Social media is a great way for us to tell our story. We are very active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It’s a fun way of getting involved with our customers. 

What was your first job? What was the biggest lesson you learnt in that job?

I’ve always worked in the family business. What’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned? Work somewhere else first. 

What is your ‘death row’ meal?

Steak and spuds of course. 

A MUST READ: Inside the mind of Pat McDonagh, the founder of Supermac’s.