London Met graduate Kristina Komlosiova and her business partner Stephanie Johnson are making London a healthier place! Launched in 2015: Pollen + Grace is a health-conscience lunch delivery service – a business that is soaring. Since September 2015, Stephanie and Kristina have successfully run the startup alongside Kerry Hopkins, a London Met student, their Head of Marketing. We asked them about their journey…
What was the idea behind Pollen + Grace?
There were no other options available for a lunch delivery service that made healthy food accessible to the busy people of London. We realised there was a gap in the market so we chose to seize the day!
What skills helped you the most with the business?
Kristina: My organisational skills came from my International Events Management courses. I also learned about logistics and how to keep the business structured. London Met prepared me well for this journey, and I especially learned how to work with other people.
What have you learned the most from running Pollen + Grace?
Everyday is a learning curve. I know better about how to manage finances but every day I am still learning something new. Just because you have a great product does not mean it will turn into a profitable business. We did not realise the power of social media and the use of Instagram – it is the only marketing channel we have used. We recommend using social media very highly!
What were some challenges you have encountered with running your own business?
The biggest challenge we have had was financial management and cash flow. With a young business, it is sometimes financially difficult to make everything happen and to facilitate growth. It is all a part of the learning experience of owning your own business.
What do you wish you knew before you started your own business?
We wish we had known a better understanding of the financials, including what kind of mark ups and margins you need as a food business.
How prepared were you to head into retail with a pop-up shop?
Our pop-up at Old Street Station was possible through the company called Appear Here and went better than we expected it to. We learned that we have a great product and should go for it! It was all about rough guesses and wishful thinking. We did not have previous experience but we learned more each day. Much of it was common sense and speaking to the customers to see what they would want. We adapted and created new products and pricing based on what people were asking for.
What advice would you give to other young entrepreneurs?
You should understand what you’re getting yourself into before starting the business. It is a lot of hard work, yet rewarding. You have to be passionate and dedicated to what you are doing. We have a passion here at Pollen + Grace to help give people a happy and healthy lifestyle. Also, we suggest not relying on investment money. Go out there and test your concept!
What do you love most about this journey?
We have put our hearts into this business. It is a lot of fun, and if you have a great product then it doesn’t feel like work, we look forward to coming into work every day. It is a huge luxury to be able to work with an amazing group of people while having a satisfaction in your work. It is a rewarding experience when you see people respond so positively to your products.
Where do you see Pollen + Grace in the near future?
We want our products in every corner and in multiple locations around London. We want to open a retail location soon and find out where the market is. Our vision is a premium, healthy version of Pret A Manger.
We wish you the best of luck, Pollen + Grace! Check out their awesome website to learn even more – www.pollenandgrace.com