Since starting instagram lives, I have done quite a few on the theme of business and always get so many interesting questions. I know that when I started LK, I would have found it so helpful to have advice from someone who had been in my shoes and even more so, someone who is still very much in the early days of growing a young company. I would love to know if you have any specific questions you would like answering as I am loving this series and it makes me so happy to think that I may be able to help other start-up owners.
It was definitely one of the hardest decisions in business I have had to make so far. The crumbles had so quickly become the product the company was known and loved for, and for a long time I was very scared that without them there would be nothing. I had to really believe that the company had enough traction to get through the big change, and it was this belief that gave me the courage to go through with the decision. I very much believed that what was coming for LK would be bigger and better than crumble and that soon people would focus on the new exciting things coming up.
Even before making the decision that we had to discontinue crumble, I had already been thinking up ideas for new products. I knew I wanted to create a whole range rather than just focus on one product. LK is all about creating indulgent and delicious treats, which are often twistS on classic desserts. A millionaire shortbread is a quintessentially British treat, just as crumble was. Making something nostalgic was important to me as I wanted the product to be recogniseable to the public even if it was made with different ingredients. We saw that a recipe we had posted on our blog for a snickers millionaire shortbread was performing better than any of our other recipes and we took this to be a strong sign that the product would be popular. We moved very quickly in developing and perfecting the recipe. We brought it to market 5 months after starting development.
I was introduced to a very successful literary agent who loved the idea of me doing an all natural and vegan dessert cookbook. Within one week of meeting her, I had written my book proposal and had sent it off to over 10 publishers. Every publisher who received the proposal arranged a meeting with us. My agent and I met with 12 publishers in 5 days. It was so intense but such an incredible experience to meet with the likes of Penguin and Ebury and hear that they were desperate to publish my book. A week later we signed a very exciting deal with Ebury Press (publishers of Mary Berry and Ottolenghi) and I was given 10 weeks to come up with over 100 sweet recipes. I was so honoured to have this opportunity, but of course was also naturally quite stressed at the thought of having to do all the recipe testing and book writing at the same time as running the product side of the business. Recipe testing actually turned out to be one of the most fun times of my life. It is when I really feel I got to know many of my wonderful elves so well and we just had so much fun together trying out different creations. My god, were some things we tried absolutely awful, but mainly we were constantly surrounded by the most delicious smells and the yummiest treats. It was so nice to do all the testing in my parent’s kitchen and I think they loved being the guinea pigs.
I could talk for hours about this. I really do not know where I and the company would be without social media. I recognised from day one of starting LK that social media was something I really needed to focus on due to how the times were changing, but I don’t think I had ever quite imagined just how important it would be. So far, everyone who works with me has come from Instagram. I put up posts advertising for new positions and that is where I have found everyone. It is such a good way to recruit as you know that the people applying are always fans of your brand and that they like what you are trying to achieve. As I focused more and more energy on social and my Instagram account started to really grow, I began to get contacted by buyers through the account! Since I knew nothing else, I thought this was quite normal, however, I have been assured that it couldn’t be further from being normal. Normally suppliers like me have to hassle buyers again and again for a response, but I was lucky enough to be approached by them because they had found my Instagram account! It was amazing! For me though, the most important aspect of social media is that I can talk to my followers and customers. I can understand what they really want and I can directly engage with them to get a better understanding of trends and demands. I love being able to have this direct dialogue.