One of the positives to come out of the pandemic are the number of individuals who have used that time to launch their own business, and one of those was Dorset based food delivery business Olive+Stone launched by Amy Stone who produce mouth-watering cheese and brownie boards.
Welcome, Amy to the blog… tell us a bit about you, where you live.
I moved to Wimborne last year with my partner James, who helps me run Olive+Stone when he’s not serving in the RAF. We’ve been renovating a lovely 1930’s home for the last 9 months which has been a labour of love, but we’ve grown very fond of Wimborne as it has such an amazing community.
Tell us what made you want to set up your own business – Olive+Stone?
Two reasons really, first and foremost cooking and entertaining have always brought me immense joy, so it made sense to start a business doing something you love. There’s something about bringing your nearest and dearest together and sharing food that you can’t beat, which I think we’ve all missed and come to appreciate over the last year.
Secondly, I wanted the freedom of being in control of my own income without relying on an external source for security, be that an employer or a partner. Setting up a business had always been a plan of mine but deciding on which business to start was something I gave serious consideration to, as I felt it was important to find an outlet for something which I genuinely loved doing and also brought some value or enjoyment to people’s lives.
I think there has been a huge trend for small businesses starting up since the pandemic, which has only been amplified while people are on furlough over the last year and having the time to assess what they really enjoy doing, which I think in time will be one positive which will come from a really difficult year.
Where did you get the inspiration from to go solo?
I dabbled in a joint venture with a friend to help small businesses with their marketing back in 2018, we won a couple of clients, but things never really took off as frankly, imposter syndrome really got in the way for me. Fast forward a few years later and although at times I can still feel like I’m fooling everyone, choosing to start a business in doing something which I’m really passionate about has really helped in the difficult times when I wonder if it’s all worth the added pressure!
Are you still working as well?
I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to combine my other love for marketing and design as well as running Olive+Stone, so there’s a nice balance between 3 days working part-time in marketing and 4 days with the business. Variety keeps life interesting, and I don’t believe you should pigeon-hole yourself into being about only one thing, plus the lessons learned on each side give you a richer understanding.
Since starting a business it’s given me much more empathy when building marketing campaigns because I can put myself in their shoes and ask ‘would I really want this as a business owner?’ Likewise, understanding marketing has undoubtedly accounted for a lot of the success with Olive+Stone.
What are your key values around Olive+Stone?
Primarily our key values are that our products should deliver a bit of joy, always using the highest quality local products and that everything we do is beautiful. I may be biased, but I do feel our cheeseboards are the most aesthetically pleasing and contain the highest quality cheese with handmade products, which I’m yet to find elsewhere! There is so much more which goes into our cheeseboards, it’s so much more than sourcing foods from a deli counter and making it look good, we really go into the details and ensure every part of the board is paired perfectly and compliments each other.
Tell us about Olive+Stone? The products, prices, delivery?
During the pandemic, we have been known for our cheeseboard delivery service, which champions cheeses from the local area. We have some amazing cheese suppliers which I’ve spent many hours searching to find very best around Dorset, Devon and Somerset (and even more arduous, having to sample the cheeses, which is a tough job but someone has to do it) Our small boards start at £30, ranging to £110 for our ready-made cheese for 6 boards which are perfect for celebrating. with everything, you can imagine in the perfect cheeseboard and more, including our handmade walnut pesto.
Now that we are able to gather and celebrate we are beginning to have more enquiries for our feasting tables which are perfect for 6-60 guests and creates a wonderful focal point.
We also supply a local coffee shop Little Perth in Southbourne with our very popular brownies, including vegan brownies which you aren’t able to buy anywhere else.
What are your plans for the future of Olive+Stone?
The next steps will be adapting the business as we return to some normality and we aren’t all confined to our homes and we’re expecting wedding season to be busy for both this year and next for our feasting tables. The ultimate goal is to open a coffee shop which is a beautifully designed space to be in and has a co-working area for creatives and freelancers to the hot seat, as I’m sure there will be many people who will be tired of working from home in the near future.
Tell us all the places we can find you on social media/website.
If you enjoyed that interview with Dorset based Olive+Stone, why not check out other Dorset based interviews here.