READ OUR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH LIVIO BISTERZO, FOUNDER OF @HIPPEAS_SNACKS!
Photography: GREY & ELLE
WORDS: Livio Bisterzo, Nazz Ebrahimi
What motivated you to start a business and how did you choose the name of your company?
Having worked across personal care and beverage, I knew we could create something unique for consumers with plant proteins. The legume is hot right now and it just felt like the right time to bring chickpeas to the market in a modern way. I was in an innovation food lab and saw some really innovative snack possibilities made from chickpeas. From that moment on, I decided that was the path we should go down. We wanted to do something with chickpeas but chickpeas sound a little bit awkward. We were in a brainstorm and I saw “hip” on top of “peas” on the whiteboard, I thought, let’s merge them together. And that’s how HIPPEAS came to be.
Who are your ideal customers?
Modern hippies, of course. The men & women who live for the now, who want goodness for mind, body and soil and rally behind those who want the same.
How many retailers can HIPPEAS be found in?
You can now find HIPPEAS in over 20,000 stores in the US and UK with retailers including Starbucks, Whole Foods, Wegmans, Albertson's, Safeway, Boots, Waitrose, Amazon.com, ThriveMarket.com and more.
Any advice on how to get your product in front of retailers?
Pick up the phone. People these days don’t put enough value on conversation and face-to-face interaction. Network, call around and figure out how to get in front of people.
If you are not a "people person", but have great ideas, can you still run a business?
No. I truly believe building a brand is all about people. You build it for people and you build it with people. It’s the most important thing about your brand.
You are big on brands who are creating a story and connecting with consumers. How has your Chief Marketing Officer, Olly Horner, helped execute that?We shared a vision, and we built a culture. He helped bring our ideas to life and I owe him a lot for that.
What are the top most important characteristics you look for in employees?
Entrepreneurial, experienced, creative problem solver, and adaptable. Since we are a fast-paced start-up, no two days are the same!
Can you share with us a little about your exciting drink venture, Ugly Drinks?
Ugly is launching in the US later this year. It’s going to bring a craft beer attitude to a boring seltzer category. So get ready to…
Get Real. Get Ugly.
Do you feel there are flavor profiles that work for Europeans, but may not work with American consumers due to cultural differences?
No, I feel both markets are starting to adapt and become more similar. There are absolutely cultural differences, but when you have a good product, you can win globally.
How can entrepreneurs create a business that 'gives back'?
Find a cause you’re passionate about and find a way to contribute. It’s the most meaningful way to do it.
What's next for HIPPEAS?
Global domination! We think HIPPEAS will become a household brand in the states.