Jon's the pieminister
Alumnus Jon Simon (BA (Hons) Furniture and Product Design, 1996) is co-founder and joint managing director of pieminister, established in 2003 with friend and brother-in-law Tristan Hogg.
Jon met his wife, Romany, at Freshers Week when he first moved to Nottingham to study. Jon said: "I was very lucky when I first moved as I already knew a few of the students at NTU. Everyone was very friendly and supportive all the way through the course. It did help meeting my future wife in the first week and Forest Fields, where I lived, was teaming with students and it was great fun!"
As part of his studies, Jon travelled to Australia which sparked an interest in pies, noting that the pies there were much better than those back at home. Following university, Jon worked as a furniture designer for Habitat while writing his first 'official' business plan.
After raising money by appearing on a national game show, Jon opened a pub in Stockwell, London, aged just 24. The once rundown pub became a popular South London drinking and eating destination. This was partly due to its great menu which was created with the help of brother-in-law Tristan, the resident Chef.
Jon grew the business into a second site and eventually sold the company in 2002. In 2003 Jon teamed up with Tristan again to form pieminister based in Bristol. The pieminister brand was created with the help of NTU alumni Ryan Thomas (BA (Hons) Fine Art, 1994), the website was developed by Jon Shaw (BA (Hons) Graphic Design, 1997) and the press and PR has always been looked after by Romany (BA (Hons) Fashion Design, 1995).
Since then the company has grown from humble beginnings to become an internationally recognised brand operating across multiple areas within the food industry. These include their own restaurants and market stalls, listings in the major supermarkets and a reputation as one of the best festival traders in the business.
Pieminister is now the leading brand of gourmet pies in the UK. Recently, they have brought out a new lighter range of pies with less than 400 calories each and they are the only nationwide pie company to use 100% free range meat and eggs.
Jon is a keen ambassador for young entrepreneurs and has helped and advised many start-up companies in and around Bristol as well as acting as a business mentor for the Princes Trust and volunteered as a Judge on the panel of the PITCH to become "Britain's Best Business". He's an enthusiastic entrepreneur and is constantly on the lookout for interesting opportunities and business ideas to develop.
Jon remembers his time as a student in Nottingham fondly, he said: "I loved being at NTU and studying in the Waverley building. It was a great atmosphere with a great group of people. I met some lifelong friends there and lots of them have helped me along the way."
Jon is hoping to open a pieminister store in Nottingham early in 2015, he said: "I think it’s a fantastic city and has so much to offer. I'm looking forward to spending some more time there over the next few months looking for sites."
Jon's the pieminister
- Category: School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment