The friends who turned memories of a childhood snack into a successful business

The friends who turned memories of a childhood snack into a successful business
Daniela Orrego
Daniela OrregoLoro Crisps

Posted: Thu 20th May 2021

Daniela Orrego is the co-founder of Loro Crisps, a plantain chips company inspired by memories of her favourite childhood snacks.

She shares the story of the brand and explains how an Amazon Small Business Accelerator Bootcamp helped her start selling products on Amazon's online store.

The free Amazon Small Business Accelerator e-learning programme is advice from more than 30 business experts in over 200 bitesize videos.

If you're already an Enterprise Nation member, log in to your member dashboard to access the e-learning. If you're not an Enterprise Nation member, you can join the Amazon Small Business Accelerator for free here.

How did you come up with the idea for your business?

"Loro Crisps started because we wanted to connect the two countries that we love - the UK and Colombia. What better way to do it than through our love for food! My co-founder Natalia and I decided to start selling our favourite childhood snacks, plantain crisps.

"After coming up with the idea and the vision for the company, we looked for a manufacturer. We knew we wanted to work with Colombian producers as the whole aim of the company is to bring the two countries together. We went back to our roots and asked friends and family for ideas. It took us almost six months to find the correct supplier in Colombia. We needed to make sure they had the correct certifications so we could sell to supermarkets internationally and the ability to scale with us.

"Next came the best part of working in the food industry; making sure the product is perfect, which meant lots of sampling! We tested many flavours with our potential customers. One of the best things we did was participate in a festival in Leeds. We had a stand with bowls of different flavours of plantain crisps. We monitored which were the most popular flavours which helped us decide on the flavours to use.

"We went for salt, sweet chilli and lime. We called lime the 'risky flavour'. It's an unusual flavour for the British public but it's now one of the most popular!"

What other start-up challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

"Our main challenges were a lack of funding and lack of knowledge about the food industry.

"For funding, we applied for many grants. With the support of Santander as well as winning some awards and competitions, we got the funding we needed.

"For the second challenge, entrepreneurs in the food industry are very supportive. We joined many groups, such as the Food Hub on Facebook, which helped answer our questions. We also reached out to friends who have been in the same position for support."

What is your marketing strategy for engaging with customers?

"We believe that the best marketing strategy is to show your customers the real story, not just the wins but also the downsides and the challenges. We have connected to our audience by sharing insights from behind the scenes which has helped us create a loyal customer base. We have been very grateful to have a brand that is very colourful and we have had great support from Latino communities. We believe that by sharing your values and ethos first, the sales will come naturally.

"We created 'Pepe the Parrot' as our brand ambassador who we feature on our Zipaquira Salt Plantain Chips packaging. 'Loro' means parrot in Spanish which is why our brand name is Loro Crisps.

"We also feature a different parrot for other products. This has been great in terms of marketing as we run competitions on Instagram and Facebook for people to name the parrots. The best ideas win a free box of plantain crisps.

"We have made the most of organic marketing on social media. As a first-time founder, it was challenging to put my face out there but we believe people connect with us in a stronger way if we are honest about the realities of being a business owner."

Loro Crisps

Why did you decide to join the Amazon Small Business Accelerator Bootcamp?

"I have been part of the Enterprise Nation community for a long time and when I spotted the Amazon Small Business Accelerator Bootcamp, it was the perfect opportunity to get started with selling on Amazon to grow our online sales.

"The pandemic made us think about the massive importance of e-commerce. Our initial idea was to target the 'impulse buy' and 'grab and go' market, but due to COVID-19, most people were working from home and not going to their offices so that market was greatly reduced. With the product already produced we had to find new and innovative ways to reach new customers."

What were the key benefits of Bootcamp for your business?

"The Bootcamp was a great way to understand the steps for getting set up on Amazon. It helped us understand how to get listed in the grocery category and I found it very beneficial that we had an account manager we could speak to directly. We had some issues verifying our account but the fact that we had someone to talk to was great for making the process easier."

What actions did you take after taking part in the Bootcamp?

"After the Bootcamp, we set up our Seller Central Account and started listing our products. Since then, we have been making organic sales without having to spend any money on marketing.

"We signed up to Fulfilment by Amazon and recently sent our first shipment. We want to see how that goes before we start investing in advertising. So far, it has been great to see the organic growth of our brand on Amazon."

What are your top tips for business success?

"I believe that the best business advice I can give to anyone is just start. It's natural to want to make sure your product is perfect, but taking a lean approach is the best way to start a business. When we started, we didn't have packaging ready, we barely had the suppliers, but we had the idea so we met with buyers. We showed them the product and presented our ethics and mission. After a few meetings, we received the first couple of orders. We were then ready to start producing the first batch of plantain crisps in Colombia.

"The second piece of advice is to always have a learning mentality. There is so much you need to know as a business founder. The information is out there but don't expect to know everything straight away. Learning something every day is the key to success.

"I learnt lots from the Amazon Small Business Accelerator e-learning programme. One of the most useful modules for me was understanding how to secure and use barcodes.

"I also found the videos about advertising on Amazon useful plus the case studies of successful start-up founders who have achieved success on Amazon."

Which other entrepreneurs inspire you and why?

"I love how Caleño Drinks and Plant Pops have used Amazon to grow their sales. I have been very fortunate to learn from the owners directly on how they have improved their listings and made Amazon work for them.

"They both started by organically growing their business on Amazon, which is something I have done myself. They told me that getting reviews is important. They recommended sharing news about our products on Amazon with our social media followers."

The free Amazon Small Business Accelerator e-learning programme is advice from more than 30 business experts in over 200 bitesize videos.   
If you're already an Enterprise Nation member, log in to your member dashboard to access the e-learning. If you're not an Enterprise Nation member, you can join the Amazon Small Business Accelerator for free here.

Daniela Orrego
Daniela OrregoLoro Crisps
Hi!  I am the Co-Founder of Loro Crisps, we have 100% gluten free & vegan crisps from my home-country Colombia In my spare time, I love learning about video editing and digital marketing

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