We’ve been fans of your products for a long time now!
Please would you be able to introduce yourself and what you do for our readers?
I am the founder of Livia’s Kitchen, a company specialising in creating sweet treats with nutritional twists. The company allows people so satisfy and indulge their sweet cravings in a better way. We sell a range of products through our website, and in many different retailers including Sainsburys, Boots, WHSmith and many more! We also have a blog and a cookbook.
How did your business idea come around?
After being diagnosed with severe food intolerances in 2014, I had to rethink the way I ate. I was no longer able to eat all the sweet treats and desserts I was used to which were full of gluten and dairy and I found this a real struggle. I saw that there was a huge gap in the market for something that actually tasted really good and indulgent but that was made without these ingredients and I very quickly became excited about the filling this gap! I had been a huge foodie for a while, but was certainly not a baker. I had to teach myself very quickly!
Your product ranges first launched in Selfridges, that’s a very prestigious starting point, for all the budding entrepreneurs out there, please would you be able to share your tips on how to start out in the industry?
You need to have thick skin and be totally relentless. You have to believe in your product through and through. It is hugely important though to recognise that you don’t know it all. You need to soak up as much information from people in your industry as possible and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Make lots of meeting and absorb as much information as you can from other people, you can never know enough!
How do you start developing new products and how did you manage to take them from home kitchen to multi retailer?
Well, I started making our first product in my parents kitchen and I produced it there for just under a year and a half, which goes to show it is not a quick and easy process to set up in a factory and start selling to multi retailers. It was incredibly difficult to find an appropriate factory which had the right accreditations to supply into the major supermarkets. I was able to sell to many of the independents from my home kitchen, but you need a more professional set up when supplying the supermarkets.
I had to spend the majority of my time researching and meeting with various manufacturers until I found the one that was the perfect match! Even then, scaling up from 0 to where we are now has not been without challenges, but they are incredibly experienced and bring great knowledge to the process.
It is not just the manufacturing part you need to pin down, you also need to work on your branding, packaging, financials and your team structure. It is a long, hard process but it is so worth it when you see your hard work on the shelves! It is definitely one of the most rewarding parts of my job.
What’s your favourite product from your range and why?
This is such a tricky question because I truly love every product that I have developed and that sits on the shelves! I could never ever chose a favourite! It is like choosing between your children! I eat them all on a daily basis.
We love to highlight those doing amazing things in London, we believe you are changing the industry with your products, what keeps you going through the many challenges that you must face?
I think the most important thing is to love what you do.
Things can get very, very hard sometimes and things can all feel that they are going wrong at once, so if you are not passionate about the cause then it would be so difficult to come out of these tricky times.
You have to be head strong, and always focus on the end goal and what you re trying to achieve. There is absolutely no denying that I have faced many challenges- I am very open about them on my social channels, and for me sharing these challenges with my followers has really helped me.
I get so much support and advice from my followers whenever I share from them and I am so grateful to have such a loyal following who always want to help. I am excited by what I do everyday. My team around me are fantastic and are my best friends. I am so fortunate to be able to have made a passion into a career and I make sure to remember that every time things get tough.
The most important thing to remember is that challenges make you stronger and help you to learn and grow. Mistakes are the best way to learn so you almost have to embrace them.
What have been the best highlights for you?
Such a hard question! I feel like there is a highlight every day. Seeing my products on supermarket shelves and being tagged in comments from people loving them will never get old. Launching on the first day in Selfridges with the crumbles was a feeling I will never ever forget, but I get just as excited and satisfied by every new retailer launch and with every new product. I also think watching my team grow and develop has been the most fantastic part. I have recruited people who all share my passion and because of that they learn and grow stronger every day. Walking into the office every day that belongs to us is an incredible feeling.
How do you stay focussed in this busy, information overload world we live in today and what top tips do you have for our readers?
My company is my world. I stay true to our ethos and know very clearly what that is. There will always be a new fad and a new way of thinking, but at the end of the day, people will always like good tasting food and that is our main focus. To make delicious food from natural and wholesome ingredients.
What’s next for Livia’s Kitchen?
We have BIG plans for the next few years and I can’t wait! We will be launching new products and then hopefully world domination!
Olivia, thank you so much for the amazing insight into your life, you have a true entrepreneurial spirit that is both energising and addictive, just like your products ;) ! Check in with Olivia's Instagram page right here!
THANK YOU SO MUCH OLIVIA & ALL YOUR WONDERFUL TEAM