How Olly’s Bounced Back From COVID-19 And Came Back Stronger

Olly’s is the snack start-up that everyone’s talking about: it’s a family business of snack-fanatics, with 1 simple mission: to create delicious healthy snacks.

Impressively, since launching, the London-based start-up has managed to build an international presence and global appeal. After witnessing incredible growth in the UK (which saw the brand secure listings in some of the UK’s leading high street retailers, including Waitrose, Boots, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Ocado, Morrison’s, Holland & Barrett, and WHSmith, – to name just a few), Olly’s has managed to get their products onto international shelves in China, the US, and more.

But it wasn’t always that way. Like many great food businesses, Olly’s started out at a market stall in Richmond in 2016, with Olly’s Founder, Olly Hiscocks, – bringing a new lease of colour, character, and flavour to olives. But as the world went into lock-down at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year (in March 2020), the brand discovered that a number of their revenue channels had “fallen off” overnight (in particular, their hospitality and travel accounts).

Consequently, Olly’s was forced to react and evolve quickly. They did this by launching three new ranges of healthy snack products (5x Pretzel Thins, 4x Seasoned Nut Mixes, and 3x Chocolate Pretzels Thins) to cater for the exponential boom in e-commerce sales. Olly’s Olives then rebranded to Olly’s, and the whole family chipped in to help (parents, siblings, and granny, of course). Now, Olly’s brother Sam and his sister Ella, – are full-time members of the team.

And they made it. It worked:

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  • Olly’s is forecast to hit a £2million revenue this year (2021),
  • Olly’s has seen a 100% YoY growth (2020/21),
  • Olly’s is now listed in 20 countries around the world (with 20,000 global stocking points),
  • And Olly’s has witnessed a 300% e-commerce growth (2020/21).

Interestingly enough though, Olly had NO intention of becoming a food entrepreneur. He had his heart set on becoming a doctor: “I studied Neuroscience at Manchester University, and I went along the path of becoming a doctor, before the allure of the start-up world pulled me in. Having completed my degree in Neuroscience at Manchester University, I began working at GP surgeries, and I was intent on becoming a doctor,” said Olly.

But, it was the ‘surge of craft brands in the food and drink world’ (and Olly’s passion for olives) that made him reconsider: I took it upon myself to rejuvenate the olive category, and to make sure that as many people as possible had access to the highest quality and most delicious olives, – especially being the superfood that they are,” added Olly.

And last but not least, Olly’s gives back, and is “doing good,” too: their simple mission to feed the planet (through incomparably delicious and healthy snacks) goes far beyond just product sales: they’ve partnered with the charity, One Feeds Two. With each order placed online, Olly’s donates a school meal to a child in an underprivileged part of the world.

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