Q&A with Amanda Cook, Founder of I Love Snacks

We interviewed I Love Snacks Founder and MD, Amanda Cook, to find out what inspired her to set up the company and what's next for the business. 

Could you tell us about I Love Snacks?

Our ethos at I Love Snacks is simple; less is more! It's about providing a range of naturally healthy snacks that meet the needs of a busy lifestyle, without compromising on taste or nutrition.

We concentrate on nutritious snacks, that are completely natural. Snacks that have been enjoyed for centuries and will be for centuries to come - olives, fruit, nuts and dark chocolate. We help things along occasionally by flavouring some of our snacks with natural, amazing ingredients. Snacks that you can trust give you real food and real taste, whenever and wherever you are and whatever you're doing!

What were you doing before you founded I Love Snacks and what inspired you to start up?

Prior to setting up I Love Snacks, I dipped my toe in the water when I set up a coconut water business, which gave me tremendous insight into the food and beverage world. At the time I set up Vybe (my previous company) the market was beginning to get saturated with numerous businesses entering the category and one main business taking the lion's share of the market. I decided it was not to be and sadly let the business go.  

However, the good news is that it led me to create I Love Snacks as I met my current business partner, Claudio while working on Vybe so if I hadn't created Vybe, I wouldn't have created I Love Snacks! At the time Claudio was selling delicious Italian Olives to some of the most prestigious hotels in the UK, and they tasted awesome. It made me think about creating an on-the-go olive snack that you could enjoy any time of the day, whatever you were doing. I then started to think about building up the range around the same principles – naturally healthy, nutritious, great taste and portable. 

Why did you select Crowdcube as your crowdfunding partner?

We decided to use Crowdcube as we'd used them to secure our first round of funding and had such a good experience during the raise.  As well as securing the investment we needed, we gained a number of extremely supportive investors who really champion the brand, and many of whom have since come to be friends as well. 

What's the most important thing you've learned about being a business owner? 

Starting and running a business is not for the faint of heart and brings all sorts of challenges requiring resilience, optimism and a strong belief in your goals. I would say there are three main things I have learnt over the years. Firstly, you can't do it alone; a great team is indispensable! We're a small company; however, we are extremely lucky to have amazing people with an enormous amount of talent and expertise, and any company is only as good as its people.

Secondly, running a business has to be fun - I'm a great believer in the idea that it has to be enjoyable, otherwise, why do it?

Finally, having the support of family and friends is also key, knowing that they are there to provide support and encouragement gives you the energy and resilience to carry on. 

What does the future hold for the business?

As the saying goes “the future is bright”! We're still a relatively young business; however, we've managed to secure some amazing customers such as Waitrose, Starbucks, Ryanair, Etihad, Qatar as well as many more and it's a joy to work with them all. We have ambitious plans though and really see the business as a global business. We have already secured sales in the USA with TJX and are discussions with a major broker organisation in the USA. We recently launched with Starbucks in several European countries, so we see this as a good sign of things to come. 

We will also be focusing on building brand awareness and getting out and about with our customers. We have a number of events, sampling sessions, roadshows and targeted marketing campaigns on the calendar, which is really exciting for us.

Find out more about I Love Snacks and invest on their pitch page.

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Amanda Cook

Guest author: Amanda Cook Founder & MD at I Love Snacks

Amanda has a passion for business and for food, so it made perfect sense to combine them. Amanda has a wealth of experience in managing import/export businesses, and as an entrepreneur moving into the food and drink arena Amanda saw the potential of I Love Snacks as a global brand.