13 Questions with Livia’s

Today's guest post is from Olivia Wollenberg, the entrepreneur behind Livia's, a brand producing delicious free-from tasty treats available in supermarkets across the country. She's taking over our Instagram today and filling us in on what life is like behind the scenes at Livia's.

What was one of your first amazing recipes?

Our original peanut butter millionaire slab! It inspired our Million Squares product range which we now sell in 3 yummy flavours.

Has food always been a passion of yours?

I’ve always had a sweet tooth and been interested in trying new things but I never thought I would end up working in the food industry.

What is a real pinch me moment in your career?

Seeing my products in supermarkets and spotting them when I’m doing food shopping! The excitement never gets old!

Where do you find inspiration for your products?

I honestly dream them up in my head!

How did you start your business?

I started by developing recipes in my parent’s kitchen and then got my first listing in Selfridge’s. I now have a team of 12 and 3 product ranges sold in major UK retailers such as Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Boots and more.

Did you always want to set up your own business?

Not at all. Until 2013 I had been studying Neuroscience at UCL and had completed a masters in Paediatric Neuropsychology. I was on route to pursue a career in academia but realised in the last few months of studying that it wasn’t as well suited to me as I first thought. I was then diagnosed with severe food intolerances and spotting that there was a gap in the market for really yummy desserts and treats made me think about starting my own business. I was passionate about neuroscience but I’m also hugely passionate about what I’m doing now and I love it.

What is the best thing about owning your own business?

When I can see that what I am doing is having a positive impact on others. I get so much satisfaction from seeing my team develop and grow and from seeing all our customers loving our products. The pride I feel when I am tagged in posts is so immense.

What’s been the hardest part of your career so far?

Not being able to switch off and recruiting the right people who believe in the same mission.

How do you stay motivated when you’re the one in charge?

I remind myself of the vision and keep going.

What advice would you give to somebody wanting to start their own business?

Don’t pretend to be an expert in everything, hire people who can do things better than you can. Delegation is the key to a successful business.

Do you have any role models?

My mum! I would never be where I am now without her endless support.

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

Avocado pesto pasta. We have it every Friday in the office for team lunch.

What are you having for Christmas dinner?

Everything! Canapes, soup, nut roast, two different types of roast potatoes, tonnes of different roasted vegetables, gravy, and the most indulgent show stopper dessert.