Veronica Dementeeva and Luke Rudd opened their first branch of Organica Pizza in 2009 on Gillespie Road in the Highbury area of Islington, and in 2014 they opened their second branch in Camden on Royal College Street. The concept behind their business is simple: takeaway and delivery pizza made with the highest quality organic ingredients. In fact, they’re the only pizza delivery operation in the UK that offers solely organic pizza.
Veronica, born in Russia but brought up in Switzerland until she moved to London in 2004, previously worked in the catering industry. Luke is a builder by trade, which was a real bonus when they were fitting out their restaurants as he was able to do most of the work himself, making a welcome saving on start-up costs. Fitting out the restaurants was another way for the couple to assert their green credentials as they were able to use a substantial amount of recycled material in the construction.
Veronica takes up the story, “When I was working for others in the catering business, I never found my ideal job and I always thought I could run things better than the people who employed me. This was one factor that motivated me to start my own business. Food has always been very important to me, and I’ve always been keen on organics, so starting a business with premium organic ingredients at its heart made perfect sense. Once we’d had the pizza idea, we spent a year researching it, which included a visit to Naples, the home of pizza.
“Luke had previously come across the Portobello Business Centre when he’d been planning an earlier enterprise so it was natural for us to turn to them for advice and support. We started by going on the Centre’s Business Start-up Course which covered all sorts of essential basics such as legal structure, marketing and finance. That really gave us much of the fundamental knowledge we needed to get going.
“After that, we were assigned to our business advisor, Colin Rutt, and he has been a tremendous source of good advice and support. We were able to throw all kinds of ideas at him and he was really good at helping us to sort out the best ones and to discard the less good ones.
“Colin was also excellent at helping us with all kinds of practical issues such as negotiating the forest of paperwork we had to get right in opening a new business in new premises. He is very knowledgeable and if he didn’t know the answer to a question, he either knew where to find it or who the best person to speak to was.
“Now that we’ve got the two branches up and running, we’re planning our next moves. One new enterprise we have in the pipeline is our own organic mozzarella operation. We’ll be working with an organic farmer and cheesemaker in Somerset and we plan to produce enough mozzarella not only to meet our own needs but to have a surplus we can sell as well.
“I’d say to anyone who’s thinking of starting a business, get to the Portobello Business Centre as early on as possible. They’ve been great for us, and whatever business plans we have in the future, we know that the Business centre and Colin Rutt are just a phone call away.”
Featured picture is of Head Chef Filippo Cau.
Organica Pizza Website:- http://www.organicapizzacompany.co.uk/
4b Gillespie Road London N5 1LN
020 7226 6007
195 Royal College Street London NW1 0SG
020 7284 3659