She still signs off as Olivia, but for her crumble-loving followers, she is fast becoming known and loved as Livia. Determined to build her crumble empire one delightfully packaged serving at a time, it was no surprise when Selfridges snapped Livia up and backed her bold claim that #crumbleisthenewcake.
Now, Livia is taking a bold step into unchartered waters, expanding her product range and rebranding herself. We caught up with the Crumble Queen to find out where it all began (some big surprises there), how she juggles life as an entrepreneur and where Livia’s empire is going next.
Livia, what motivates you to make healthier products for people?
I have always been someone with a sweet tooth, and I believe in treating yourself and being able to indulge from time to time. However, indulging is often associated with guilt and restriction, and I feel very strongly that it shouldn’t be. Sweet treats can in fact be made with ingredients which offer nutritional benefits, without any of the ingredients commonly included in desserts, which are essentially empty calories. I didn’t want to create a product that was a detox or diet product. I wanted it to be delicious and to show people that you do not have to compromise on taste when eating healthily.
From my own experience, I know that cutting out refined sugars, wheat and dairy can make a world of difference in making you feel better. This hugely motivates me to encourage people to eat healthier products, as I love when people recognise how good it makes them feel.
Was this what you’ve always wanted to do?
Not at all!!! Until October 2013 I had been studying Neuroscience at UCL, and had completed an MSc in Paediatric Neuropsychology. I was on route to pursue a career in academia, but realised throughout my last few months of studying that the PhD route may not have been as well suited for me as I had once thought it would be. The world of academia can be quite lonely at times, and since I love to interact with people, I worried that my personality would not suit this. These worries, combined with being diagnosed with severe food intolerances, and spotting that there was a gap in the market for a deliciously nutritious dessert range, made me think about starting my own business. Neuroscience will always be a passion of mine, but now I am doing something else that I love and am equally passionate about. I feel so lucky to be in this position.
How do you create balance for yourself, juggling a new company and making time for yourself?
I have to admit that I have not mastered the art of work/life balance quite yet. Since June, and deciding to launch my company, there have hardly been any days that I have been able to take off. When I can, I try to take at least a few hours off on a Saturday and Sunday to completely switch off- but as anyone else will know when they start a business- you may be socialising and not physically sitting by your computer, but you never fully switch off! My mind seems to be constantly buzzing with business ideas and so much more.
I made it one of my new years resolution to make more time for myself. My friends have always been so important to me, and I always want to make sure I prioritise them, even though sometimes it can be really hard. Whilst I can’t see my friends nearly as much as I would like, I make a conscious effort to make dinner plans at least once or twice a week with them, and to also just catch up on phone if there isn’t the time to meet.
I also made it a new years resolution to go to the gym more as this is a time when I truly manage to switch off. I love to go to a mix of different gym classes, it allows me to focus on something else entirely and to leave feeling refreshed and energised.
Who has been your biggest inspiration and why?
My parents. My dad is involved in the world of business, and although he has faced so many major challenges throughout his journey, his determination and commitment to what he does inspired me to achieve in the same way he has done, with humility and patience. My mum, for a totally different reason. Having been diagnosed a few years ago with high blood pressure, and with an undying sweet tooth just like me, she was a huge inspiration and push for me to do what I do. Her diet has completely changed now that I am involved in this area of work, and she feels so much better eating this way. That hugely motivates me to carry on doing what I am doing. I would definitely like to mention all the other people who are working in the healthy food and wellness world. It is a pleasure to be working with such amazing and inspiring like-minded people.
What are your favourite healthy hotspots in London right now?
Is crumble the way of the future, or can we expect a broadening scope of products?
Crumble will hopefully always be a big part of my company. New flavours based on seasonal fruits will constantly be developed. Although I am not able to give too much away, you can definitely be expecting a new product range in the not so distant future. Additionally, a new website ‘Livias Kitchen’ will incorporate a blog and lots of recipes so that people can start making some of my creations at home. So excited for all the new projects I have ahead, and to share them with you all soon!
Livia’s Crumble is available from Selfridges Food Hall and Daylesford Organic.
Or you can order online at www.liviascrumble.com