5 March 2021|Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder
Before setting up Piccolo, Cat worked in the charitable sector of the food world. She began her career with the United Nations food agencies in Rome, where she created campaigns and programmes promoting sustainable livelihoods for farmers, as well as promoting female parity and equal opportunities. She then became the CEO of Slow Food UK, the global campaigning organisation for good, clean and fair food. During her career, Cat has launched programs across the UK to help families consider the provenance and nutritional make-up of what they put on their plates. It is this commitment to social and ethical house practice that drives Piccolo to give 10% of its profits to food education programmes to help encourage parents to give their children the best start towards a positive relationship with food.
What would you love to share with other women to encourage them to start their own business?
After working in the charity sector for years, the world of business was unchartered territory for me and I questioned whether I should go for it and start Piccolo or not. It was actually Prue Leith that gave me the push I needed, and I’ve never looked back. Don’t doubt yourself or question your abilities – if you have an idea, run with it!
What are your top 5 tips for entrepreneurial success?
Be flexible: Because of my background, I didn’t have the same degree of knowledge of the UK grocery scene compared to the more established brands, but my fresh perspective and experience working with charities brought something new to the table. This flexibility and creativity has been vital in Piccolo’s transformation from one mum’s idea to the UK’s largest premium baby food company.
Get a mentor: Getting a mentor is also always at the top of my list when giving advice, whether it be to leaders or to someone starting out in their career. They can guide you through situations that they’re experienced in and I’ve always felt seeing something first hand is the best way to learn. Not only that but having someone who truly believes in you is so important – when I was transitioning from charity to business, my mentor, Prue Leith was there for me every step of the way.
Be passionate and stick to your values: What sets us apart from other brands in our category is our purpose. Sustainability & giving back are two core pillars of our business, which I think consumers really resonate with. I truly believe that Piccolo’s success is due to the fact that we all have a passion to help families provide their children with the best start in life. This passion drives both our commercial efforts and our giving back efforts.
Work-life balance: It’s so important to not stretch yourself too thin by trying to juggle everything at once – something I’m definitely guilty of from time to time! The silver lining of lockdowns is that it’s much easier to get into a routine with my 11-month-old, Scarlett, and 7-year-old, Juliet. Juliet loves being part of the Piccolo experience and she knows that she’s the little pointing logo on all of our packagings.
Listen to your customers: We are lucky to have a great relationship with our customers. They’re really engaged with us on our social channels; every day we dedicate time to go through our Instagram messages and respond to each individual personally. Our consumers really loved the idea of Piccolo being a community for like-minded parents, which is why we launched our free-to-join Family Club with a panel of family health and wellbeing experts set to help parents with everything from boosting their mood post-birth to weaning and meal inspiration – alongside a whole line-up of offers on baby essentials and activities.
Who are the top 5 women who inspire you the most?
Helen Keller – Disability Rights Advocate
Emmeline Pankhurst – Feminist
Dr. Sunitha Krishnan – Social Activist
Fannie Lou Hamer – Civil Rights Warrior
Prue Leith – Chef, Business Woman, Food Campaigner & Cat’s mentor
What is your favourite saying/Inspirational quote?
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement; nothing can be done without hope.”
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