Meet the female founder of Harper Innovations challenging the status quo in a male-dominated industry.
As the Northern Powerhouse gathers increased global awareness, the world is starting to learn what business owners in the region have known for quite a while; business across Manchester and Greater Manchester is strong and growing stronger every day. One such strong business owner – in more ways than one – is Claire Harper, Managing Director of Harper Innovations.
You’ll find products from the Harper Innovations owned brand Muscle Moose, including Moose Juice and Mountain Chips, on shelves of stores in the Arndale in Manchester and across the whole of the UK, Europe, New Zealand, Canada and the Middle East. These healthier alternative energy drinks and snacks are the star products in a portfolio of a two-year-old brand that sits within a business entering into its eighth year of rapid growth.
Building and managing a multi-million-pound business isn’t always smooth running and being a female MD in a traditionally male-dominated industry of sports nutrition (there is only one other female co-founder of a sports nutrition brand in the UK) comes with a unique set of challenges. Claire is no stranger to challenging the norm in male-dominated arenas; a keen athlete, she has represented team GB in Tae-Kwon Do and won multiple titles in bodybuilding competitions; this is one lady who knows the true meaning of girl power.
“To me, it’s not about being a woman in business, or it shouldn’t be; it’s about being an entrepreneur and working hard to achieve your goals. Hard work doesn’t discriminate based on gender and success shouldn’t either. I know that isn’t always the case and until it is, I think female entrepreneurs have a responsibility to share the results of their hard work to show it can be done and it really can be as straightforward as if you work for it, regardless of if you are in a traditionally male-dominated industry or not, you can achieve success”.
If you haven’t seen Muscle Moose yet, it won’t be long before you do; new retailers are being added to the already 2,500+ strong stockist list every day. Products include Moose Juice, a ZERO-sugar energy drink with added protein and vitamins and Mountain Chips; popped chips with LESS fat, LESS carbs and MORE protein than the UK’s leading popped chip – Muscle Moose has you covered for healthier alternative choices to get that energy boost and satisfy those snack cravings.
Inspired by Hilary Devey, Claire co-founded Harper Innovations and originally focused on the distribution (another male-dominated industry) of Muscle Moose and SmartShake, the Swedish-born innovative shaker, made from BPA free, DEHP free plastic. The business purchased the Muscle Moose brand two years ago and introduced three innovative products in quick succession. The brand has a legion of loyal fans, including health and fitness customers, gamers, slimmers, students, busy parents, office workers and anyone looking for a healthier alternative energy drink or snack.
Claire feels that it is important to mentor girls from a young age, long before they get to university, empowering them with the knowledge and confidence that anyone can be an entrepreneur.
“Contributing to local economy is one of the most satisfying things you can do as a business owner. Mentorship programs for girls can help them to understand different elements of setting up your own business, take away any concerns and de-mystify entrepreneurship long before adulthood. The girls going into primary education now are the entrepreneurs of the future, through mentorship, they’ll have even more opportunities and support available to them than female entrepreneurs have today. I can’t wait to see what comes next!”