Paradise Slice

Business Name:  Paradise Slice

Support received:  Start Up Loan, Lewisham Business Support Initiative

Location:  London

Website:  http://www.paradiseslice.co.uk/


Dan and Noura of Paradise Slice had the vision and the energy to bring the authentic taste and experience of 20 inch New York pizzas to Brick Lane.  They are both Lewisham residents and are supported by London Small Business Centre’s Lewisham Business Support Initiative, funded by London Borough of Lewisham.

Here they talk about their journey from idea to start-up and share advice about the process of starting a business.

Why did you start the business?

Noura lived in New York for 12 years and moved back to London to find an empty space in her life – an empty space that was in the shape of a pizza slice.

And so, together we decided if we can’t get the product we want, we should make it and share the experience with others.

What motivated you?

Noura – After working as a food stylist for a magazine, followed by a stint in fashion production I worked on Food Trucks. I really enjoyed the sense of community and support between small businesses with the food trucks and wanted to recreate this with our own business and others nearby.

Dan – After years working in many positions in hospitality, it became clear that the ethics of a business were vital –treating staff and customers well and forging long lasting links with local suppliers and putting these above making a quick profit.

Unlike other pizza restaurants we wanted the truly authentic New York taste and so we start to make our dough at least 70 hours before it reaches the oven. This guarantees that it is packed full of fantastic flavour and definitely worth the effort.

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“Build a strong network.  Whether it be made up of friends, suppliers, fellow businesses. One of our network introduced us to both the London Small Business Centre and the designer who created our logo – we definitely owe her some pizza!”

How important was the business advice you received?

Very!  Our Business Advisor, Jeff Gilbert was extremely supportive from the outset. He steered us in the right direction, as well as putting us through our paces in a down to earth way.  He is irritatingly usually right about a lot of aspects of business including how long it takes to set up, and it was great to have him as a sounding board to give us both a reality check and confidence boost as we planned the business.

What challenges have you encountered?

We learnt that we needed to quickly adapt and learn many different skills from project management, to negotiation, to cooking.  And fatigue when working 12-15 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What is your advice to someone at the ‘just got an idea’ stage?

Keep going.  You will have problems and difficulties (it took us 7 months to find the right premises).Be resilient.  Pick yourself up and keep going. Don’t be too hard on yourself with how long things take as it will all take longer than you think.

Build a strong network.  Whether it be made up of friends, suppliers, fellow businesses. One of our network introduced us to both the London Small Business Centre and the designer who created our logo – we definitely owe her some pizza!

What are your plans for the future?

We have 2 employees now and want to grow this to 4 or 5 over the next year. Our premises has additional space we can expand into when needed. We want to run an ethical business and want to set up a ‘Pay it Forward’ program whereby people can buy a slice of pizza for a homeless person.

Images: Copyright Paradise Slice

 

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