The sky’s the limit – from the kitchen to British Airways

March 11, 2014 9:50 am The UK Domain

“Things have moved surprisingly quickly since the inception of Lovemoorish and sometimes I’m still astounded at how far we’ve come. I came up with the concept in March 2012; by May I was selling my products in local delis and before long I was in touch with Waitrose.”

Kick starting a new business

When I started this venture I began in my kitchen with the determination to create original, fresh and delicious humous. My background in marketing and working on BBC Radio 4’s ‘The Food Programme’ was a great foundation for developing a foodie business, but let me be honest – it was a huge step into the unknown.

Once I had developed my trademark smoked flavour it was quite literally a case of growing the business from scratch – from sourcing the right woodchips, chickpeas and smokehouse through to choosing the right packaging.

Getting my products into well-known, respected stores was a real turning point for me and I was ecstatic when the Waitrose buyers approved my range and I became an official supplier. I now supply Lovemoorish products to Fortnum & Mason, Ocado, Planet Organic, Booths & Wholefoods Market stores as well as lots of lovely delis around the UK.

Getting social – being part of a supportive network

In 2013 I decided to take part in a competition called ‘The Pitch’, where entrepreneurs present their businesses and ideas for the chance to win support.

Being part of The Pitch was a fantastic opportunity to share my experience with like-minded entrepreneurs. I was put in touch with Nairns, the oatcake company, and went to a fantastic presentation about pitching to buyers. The contacts I gained from this competition were invaluable and I look back at this experience as something that really crystalised in my mind that I was doing the right thing.

Around the same time I was on Twitter and trying to catch the eye of Theo Paphitis. My Sunday night social media vigilance paid off and I went on to become one of the winners of his Small Business Sunday Award. This was a huge accolade for me but more than anything it gave me access to an incredibly supportive network of small businesses. It’s so important when you’re starting out to be able to talk to others who are going through the same experiences and bounce ideas off one another.

Why our British identity is important

Although traditionally humous isn’t a UK product, it’s so popular that we see it as an adopted British food, similar to the way curry has become a firm national favourite. We’re really proud to be a British producer: our unique smoked humous is made right here in the UK, and our recipe also features the best quality rapeseed oil produced in Britain. When it came to creating a website, .co.uk was a natural choice for us because it is synonymous with British identity. The UK is not only a home for us but also the foundations of our individuality and we love that this distinctiveness shines through in our products.

Knowing when to take the first steps

In my opinion, to set up any business you need to have a few magic ingredients. Firstly, you need to have a unique product. Secondly, this needs to be something that consumers are going to love and thirdly, you need to have enough margin and volume to make it successful. In other words, it simply has to be profitable. When I started out I felt strongly that I had these three elements at my fingertips. From my research I could see that there wasn’t another smoked humous product on the market so I knew I was bringing something new to the table. Furthermore, I had the thumbs up from taste testers including my family and friends, and had even put my product to the test in local supermarkets and schools – if you can get fussy school children to lick the spoon clean then you’re halfway there.

I still get such a kick from going into Waitrose and seeing my products on the shelves, it makes me feel really proud of what I’ve achieved. Really exciting times lie ahead for lovemoorish.co.uk. At the moment we’re currently working to launch a new branded snack pack for British Airways. It’s amazing to think that our branded product will soon be in every BA Club World kitchen.”

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