Saasha wearing ‘Lauren’
OLIO is a free app connecting neighbors with each other and local shops and cafes so surplus foods can be shared, not thrown away. Since launching across the UK in January, 2016 more than 135,000 items of food have been shared in local communities.
Q. HARDEST LESSON YOU LEARNED IN BUSINESS?
There is no “silver bullet” which will magically gain you millions of customers overnight who are all in love with your product. My co-founder and I are both eternal optimists and every time we get some good news, we think ‘this is it!’ But the truth is there are no short cuts, and building a business takes extreme dedication, resourcefulness and resilience-it never really gets easier, it’s just a different day and a different challenge to tackle. But while it’s hard, it’s also extraordinarily rewarding-a bit like doing a bootcamp class at the gym!
Q. THREE THINGS THAT DEFINE YOUR BRAND OR BUSINESS?
OLIOers (over 100,00 now!) are in a MISSION to tackle food waste; believe that SHARING within the local community is the best way to do this; and believe this because sharing food is utterly human, and moreover FUN.
Q. HOW DID OLIO COME ABOUT AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
OLIO came about when my co-founder was moving back from abroad last year and found herself with some delicious organic veg which she couldn’t bear to leave in her corporate flat to go to waste. She went out in the middle of winter on the streets of Switzerland with her two small children to find someone to give her spare food to but failed. In tears, she ended up smuggling the cabbage and sweet potatoes back to the UK rather than leave them to go to waste. When she told me this story and her idea for a food sharing app, I knew instantly I wanted to help bring it to life – clearly there was someone nearby who would have loved her food, they just didn’t know each other! In this day and age with high smart phone penetration, messaging, notifications and GPS, OLIO seemed like an obvious solution.
OLIO is important because well over a 1/3 of all food produced globally is never eaten. It is morally and economically wrong and an environmental tragedy. 50% of food waste in the UK takes place in the home, and most of it is still edible. One rescued cupcake at a time, through community food sharing on OLIO, we can collectively build a more sustainable food future.
Q. FAVOURITE LOCAL HANGOUT?
Yogacentric – a hot yoga studio in Crouch End. You’ll find me there almost every day, and sometimes twice!
Q. WHAT WOMAN INSPIRES YOU?
My mother. She instilled in me a very important lesson at a young age, which is “nothing of value should ever go to waste,” and this is the bedrock of the philosophy behind OLIO. My mother is also brave in the face of adversity, and true to herself, and her resilience and authenticity inspire me.
Q. A QUOTE YOU LIVE BY?
“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” – Ghandi