“As a woman in a red dress in a room full of men in suits, people will remember you.”

“As a woman in a red dress in a room full of men in suits, people will remember you.”

Daniela Orrego is the co-founder of Loro Crisps, which sells Colombian plantain crisps to people and businesses around the world. 

Why did you start your business?

I met my co-founder at an enterprise event and we were discussing Colombian products that are underrated in the UK. We realised that every time a British friend visited Colombia, they came back talking about plantain crisps. So we decided to set up a business and bring them to the UK. 

We have always taken a lean approach — testing and seeing if there’s a market. So we did a lot of research first and tried to sell it. When we went to potential buyers with the idea, the reception was really good. 

How has your business grown since then? 

We now sell everywhere from the UAE to Japan. In the UK you can find our products in deli stores, and we also do extremely well on Amazon. 

We are growing a lot and we’re hoping to finalise deals with the major supermarkets soon. We will also be launching a new flavour in the next year. 

What are your three top tips to set up your own business? 

1. You don’t have to have everything in place to start 

When we met our first buyer, we didn’t actually have the crisps. All we had was the packaging, which we’d printed out and glued together ourselves. The buyer loved it and that's how we got started. So my advice is go for it — you don't need everything ready straight away. 

2. Ask the right people 

I always recommend a book called The Mom Test which teaches you how to ask the right questions, and who to ask. If you always ask your mum, she will say yes. We went to buyers and asked them what they thought. 

3. Google is your friend 

When you start a business you’re in charge of everything — product development, marketing, sales, accounting. You’re not going to know it all, so don't be afraid to educate yourself. When I started Loro Crisps I was fresh out of uni, so I still had that student mentality of, “If I don’t know it, I’ll research it.” 

What are the three biggest challenges you have faced?

1. Funding 

When you start a business, funding is always tricky.  

2. Working in a new country 

And as an immigrant, it was hard to navigate the business environment of a new country. Luckily I have a lot of friends in the food industry who helped me figure out how it all worked. 

3. Working on your own 

Starting a business can be a very lonely journey. Sometimes it’s just you and your laptop. You have to adapt to wearing every 'hat' in the company. 

Is there any piece of advice you wish you had received? 

Don't be scared of buyers. When I started out everyone treated buyers like gods, but they are just people who go home to watch the Bake Off like everyone else. 

Do you have any advice for other female entrepreneurs?

From my experience, being a woman in business can be an advantage. When you go into a room full of men in suits and you are the only woman in a red dress with a funny accent, people will remember who you are. 

Sadly though, there are still barriers for women in business. I’ve been on business trips where my co-founder and I were the only women — and the only women of colour. It can be hard to get your voice heard, but as women we can start to change assumptions.

How is Sheffield as a city to start a business in? 

Sheffield is an incredible place to start a business. It has the perfect atmosphere and the perfect support. I’ve had help from both universities, Business Sheffield, and local entrepreneurs. There are so many startups happening, it’s the perfect place to make your dreams come true. 

Business enterprise support available:

ScaleUp 360
Is an exciting programme providing tailored support to entrepreneurs, start-ups, and trading businesses with the ambition and potential to scale up their activity.

Sheffield Hallam Enterprise Team 
Supports students and graduates to develop the key enterprising and entrepreneurial skills when starting a business venture. 

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