You studied psychology and neuroscience for 5 years at university then embarked on an entrepreneur course before launching Livia’s. What lead you to start your own range of sweet treats with a nutritional twist?
I was diagnosed with many food intolerances in 2014. I had been pretty unwell for a long time before this, but it was only through an elimination diet that I was able to understand why. My diet had to change drastically over night. I could no longer have all the sweet indulgences that I was hooked to and loved so much. I saw there was a big gap in the market for indulgent, delicious treats made without the ingredients that I (and so many other people) had to, or chose to stay away from. And it was then that the idea came to me! I saw this challenge as a hugely exciting and enticing one. I have shown people that there is a better way to treat yourself and to indulge in life a little, everyday.
Where do you get your inspiration from for new recipes and ideas?
I genuinely dream them up! Every product I have brought to market has come from a dream I have had. It is like I turn into Willy Wonka in my sleep!
Can you tell us about any career highlights or moments that have stood out for you?
I will never, ever forget my first product launching in Selfridges only 11 weeks after I had the idea to start the company. The fact that someone could buy something I had made in my own kitchen was mind blowing! It still blows my mind that people can scan our products at a checkout! Seeing my range in retailers like Boots, Tesco, Sainsbury, Wholefoods and many more will never cease to fill me with so much pride. Other career highlights definitely involve my team. Walking in to the large office we now have and seeing my fantastic team grow is a highlight for sure.
Were there any unexpected challenges that you had to overcome?
SO MANY!!! When you are founder and CEO of a business, you have to be an expert in so many things. You have to be on top of finances, supply chain, sales, marketing. I really had to do it all, especially at the beginning when it was just me without a team. I also had never imagined that I would have to become a manager and leader to so many people. That has definitely been difficult at times, as has recruiting and bringing in the right people to support our growth. But the challenges and the mistakes I have made are without a doubt what has made me stronger. Some hurdles have really tested me, but I make sure to always come our stronger and wiser.
Being a lover of all things sweet, do you have a personal favourite recipe that you could share with our readers?
I love something really oaty like a flapjack or a cookie. This peanut butter and raspberry flapjack recipe is one I still frequently make from our blog
In just 4 years, Livia’s has grown from a small business in your parent’s home to a super success with stockists including Waitrose and Selfridge’s and a best-seller cookbook in dessert and gluten-free categories. What would you say is the secret to your success?
Passion and hard work. It really comes down to these two things.
How do you like to look after your own health and wellbeing?
I am a serious gym class junkie! I love exploring all the new gym classes that London has to offer, and try to do 3-4 classes a week. Exercise is the best thing for my mind for sure. It helps me release all my stress and keeps me energised. Even walking helps if I don’t have the time for a class. I’ve also started loving home massages and facials. I try and do this once a month for some serious down time.
What is a typical day like running Livia’s?
Being the CEO of a start up means everyday is totally different. There is no routine. I generally wake up early so that I can workout before heading to the office for breakfast and catch up with my team. I then try and do emails and then my day can be filled with buyer meetings, interviews, factory visits and so much more. I love to end the day spending time with my family and boyfriend, cooking a delicious hearty dinner and having a relaxing bath.
What is the ethos behind Livia’s?
At Livia’s we say, better treat yourself. Indulge in life a little, every day. Do it all, try it all, taste it all. That’s what Livia’s is all about – saying yes to it all and indulging in life a little every day.
What is next for Livia’s?
We are always striving to do something that no one has ever done before. We are a true challenger brand disrupting the confectionery market. My passion lies with new product development, and I am always dreaming up new ideas. My ambitions keep on getting bigger, and together with my team I know that all my dreams will become realities. Livia’s will be the a household name that everyone knows and loves.
Now more than ever, you can find vegan, gluten and dairy-free snacks – what sets Livia’s apart from the rest?
So many things. We are truly celebrating product, and bring entirely innovative and unique products to market which never compromise on taste. Yes, we are a free-from brand, but more importantly we are delicious and satisfying, things which most other free-from brands are not.
We absolutely love all your products; can you give our readers some top tip healthy snacking habits?
Have a positive attitude to food. Food should be fun and enjoyable. Eat when you’re hungry, don’t when you’re not. And when you are having a stressful day at work, dunk some of our products in a cup of tea, and take a few minutes to unwind. You will instantly feel better.
When you’re not busy working, what do you like to do to unwind?
I love spending time with my family and friends and jump at the chance whenever I can! Going for long walks or spending hours over a long lunch with my family always makes me so happy.
Living in London, what are your favourite places to eat/shop/hangout?
Huge fan of sushi. Love trying out new Japanese restaurants across London. Lobhnve to shop in Notting Hill. They have the cutest shops and the best market. And generally if I am not at home, or in the office, I am in a gym class!
Do you have any exciting projects you are working on that you can share with our readers?
Global domination! I always have so many ideas for new products and I can’t wait to make them a reality. We have just launched our latest product, Dunx, which has been my focus for a while now, and they have already been the most massive hit! Watch this space, there is so much more to come!