Huski Chocolate was born in the mountains of Arctic Sweden where their Hot Chocolate became a legendary drink of choice amongst elite skiers and adventurers. The unique Huski taste is created using all-natural ingredients combined with secret spices and rich cocoa butter. Combined with a new ready to drink iced chocolate, Huski Chocolate is now growing around the world, taking chocolate lovers to the mountains of Arctic Sweden in every sip. As part of that strategy the brand have been invested heavily in sports sponsorship with partners such as big name Formula 1 teams Alfa Romeo and McLaren as well as signing a landmark principle sponsorship deal with Championship side Millwall. The brand even owns it own Offshore Powerboat Racing team. Overseeing that growth is the brands CEO James Hagen, who is leading discussions with launch partners and retailers for Huski Chocolate UK. Hagen has over fifteen years’ experience setting up, scaling and running companies within the food, tech and retail spaces and feels he’s the man to make Huski the next big global drinks brand.
We sat down with him to see his ‘Room With A View’ and take a look at exactly how the Huski CEO spends his working days at the office, and spoiler alert, it includes a lot of walking.
Wake Up and Prepare
“Wake up, keep things quiet. I find that the first half an hour and last half an hour of a day is the most important, and is the time when you are at your most mindful. This is when you build your focus for the day with a clear mind without any distractions.”
Fuel The Day Ahead
“Breakfast has become an increasingly important part of the day for me; it fuels the morning. Being an ex-chef and foodie, I try to mix it up and make something to look forward to every day that’s healthy. This morning was Beyond Meat patties with fried eggs, avocado, tomatoes and sourdough, washed down with a fresh juice.”
Active Body, Active Mind
“Come rain or shine, I take a 4-kilometer walk to Huski Hangar II which takes me through parks and across bridges. I walk around 100 kilometres a week and when I’m not walking, I’m cycling. As well as waking the body up and being good exercise, it’s also the best time to think and absorb the day’s news. I tend to slip between LBC, BBC News 24, and Radio 4’s Today Program for my news, before market updates come in from CNBC. Then I check the Huski social channels for any cool content uploaded overnight by partners.”
Plan The Day
First meeting of the day with my COO Gavin and our Special Adventure Operations (SAO) team to set the days agenda in motion. I set up the SAO team as a Halo group to be able to work across all departments and execute the most time-sensitive projects and events. They support everyone in the business and provide the extra tempo to really fly. A Huski Hot Chocolate straight from our original mountain machines usually fuels this meeting and gets the ideas flowing.
Check In With Your Team, No Matter The Location
“We run a Huski Europe zoom. We’re one large family and effective communication is key. In these difficult COVID times it’s also a great time to check in with everyone on a personal level and ensure that everyone is in a good place. We have people joining the call from the mountains, on Ski-Doo’s from the Arctic, on boats and at times the call can resemble the Eurovision song contest as we go around the various countries. The COVID crisis has inevitably played havoc with people’s mental health so we’ve made a real effort to make sure that everyone feels part of our team, not just professionally but personally.”
Power Lunch, Meet & Eat
“I try to take as many lunch meetings as possible and usually grab something quick and healthy to eat with our partners. Last week was a catch up with Millwall FC, this week we had the McLaren F1 team over, and tomorrow is a zoom lunch with our own offshore powerboat team in Key West, Florida. Ideas flow more freely when you are out of the office or grabbing a bite and can think outside the box. We are very fortunate as our local area, Wandsworth Town, has some great places to grab a coffee, lunch or Nordic cinnamon bun!”
Create Out Of This World Content
“We collaborate with some epic people at Huski, and today the team recorded and edited a space video message for our friend, Chris Cassidy, who is celebrating his 365th day onboard the International Space Centre as NASA’s chief astronaut. Chris encompasses and reflects the values of us at Huski Chocolate and is a big inspiration to us and many across the world. He is a fantastic guy and gives a new meaning to the term ‘friends in high places’… 408 kilometres into space to be exact!”
Crank The Music & Lock In
“Back in our office, this is usually when our creative director Ryan fires up the music (usually Swedish House Mafia, Led Zepplin or Avicii), and everyone really pushes through the afternoon. Music makes a big difference to the energy of the office and everyone’s productivity.”
“USA calls – we work with some fantastic people out of Texas that advise our board of directors and my senior team on strategy. Their backgrounds are within US military special operations before moving into the corporate world. I have learned so much from them, and they always have a strong eye for detail. It highlights the importance of not letting distance get in the way of knowledge and development from colleagues or mentors.”
Check In With Your Founders
“Call with Huski Chocolate founders Robin and Linus. They are usually somewhere around the world, up a mountain or on a frozen lake conversing with polar bears. I work closely with them both as having founded brands myself I appreciate the huge responsibility the team and I have in shaping a vision for this special organisation into the future.”
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
“Everyone’s pretty active at Huski Chocolate, so this is when team members start to head out for fitness classes with MF London and F45. Some of the creative and project teams can work well into the night, I try to be the last to leave the office before heading to the gym or for a rugby game, with our new chilled Huski Protein Chocolate in hand of course.”