We’ve eaten her decadent guilt-free crumbles, poured over her website full of delicious and nutritious natural recipes, and now Olivia Wollenberg (aka. Livia’s Kitchen) has a new book and product line launching soon. We asked for her top tips for building a business.
Can you introduce us to your business?
I founded Livia’s Kitchen (originally ‘Livia’s Crumbles’) in June 2014. It provides the option for people to indulge and satisfy their sweet cravings in a nutritious and nourishing way. Livia’s Kitchen creates classic sweet treats and desserts with nutritional twists that never compromise on taste!
What was your motivation for setting up Livia’s Kitchen and where did the final ‘kick’ come from that turned it from an idea into reality?
I was diagnosed with a number of food intolerances in the spring of 2014 and realised that my new way of eating meant the number of desserts/sweet treats I could eat were extremely limited. I had an undying sweet tooth and the thought of not being able to eat desserts/sweet treats really upset me. It seemed crazy to me that if you cut out gluten and dairy, you also had to cut out all the things many of us love; so I decided to launch a brand specifically dedicated to the purpose of making healthier treats available, and making sure that they tasted as delicious as the classic versions!
Since launching your own company, what have you found to be the greatest challenges, and how have you overcome these hurdles?
The thing I have found most difficult since launching Livia’s Kitchen is the inability to ever really be able to switch off. At one point I was working so many hours a day that I started to feel totally overwhelmed. I soon realised how important it is to delegate and to start depending on others more, so I have taken on two full-time employees and they are two of the most reliable and committed girls, who have been able to take a lot of the workload from me. This has enabled me to have more time for seeing friends and relaxing, which is so important.
A key piece of advice I would give to someone who is looking to start a business is that you have to be brave, you have to take risks, and you have to be able to take criticism and pick yourself up quickly.
What have been the biggest surprises along the way?
I think I would have to say the biggest surprise so far has been when I was offered a book deal with one of my favourite publishers, Ebury (part of Penguin Random House). I never thought the recipes I was making in my home kitchen could be something that would be made into a beautiful recipe book and I am so excited for you all to see it! It’s coming out 5th May 2016 and will feature over 100 desserts and sweet treats, all gluten-, dairy- and refined-sugar-free. It is available to pre-order now on Amazon.
What would be your advice for aspiring business owners and entrepreneurs?
Quite simply, to love what you do. When it is your own business you dedicate so much time to it and it would be such a shame to not love it. Learning to delegate and make time for yourself is also so important. A key piece of advice I would give to someone who is looking to start a business is that you have to be brave, you have to take risks, and you have to be able to take criticism and pick yourself up quickly. Obstacles will occur every day, but it is how you deal with them that will determine if you succeed. When it is your own company, it is so difficult to not let the obstacles get you down, but it is so important to always focus on the solution and remain positive. Remember to stay optimistic and that making mistakes is okay; it is all part of the learning process.