Experience Pasta in the Post with Pasta Evangelists
“I observed there was far more to pasta making than meets the eye; it represented real craftsmanship, made entirely by hand. It reminded me of growing up in the Italian Riviera, where my nonna would make fresh gnocchi by hand.”
Our interview with Alessandro
A few years ago, the idea of pasta through the post might have seemed bizarre, until Alessandro Savelli decided to break the mould with authentic pasta delivery kits.
Noticing a gap in the market for a fresh, artisan pasta delivery service, Alessandro set out to create just that. The fuss-free recipe kits promise convenience and freshness, 5* quality in 5 minutes.
Alessandro tells us about his journey to success and how the idea behind The Original Fresh Pasta Recipe Box was born.
Twill: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Alessandro: I have always dreamt of being an entrepreneur because of my father, who was an entrepreneur himself. I started my career in investment banking before doing an MBA at Columbia Business School in 2006 and launching my first business in 2008: a luxury smartphone brand, named Savelli, where handsets were bejewelled and sold for hundreds of thousands of pounds. The brand launched in Harrods, as well as internationally (Singapore, China, the Middle East).
Unfortunately, after a decade, this business did not work out. I started Pasta Evangelists, quite literally, weeks after the closure of my smartphone business. I was very keen this time around to make sure my business would be a product that felt personal and part of my culture.
Trial and error is more often than not the case when it comes to starting a business. The way to figure what works and what doesn’t is by doing. In Alessandro’s case, it was the start-up of his first company which led to the making of Pasta Evangelist.
Twill: And what was it that inspired the business idea for pasta delivery kits?
Alessandro: A few weeks after my previous business closed down, myself and my wife attended a pasta making class in London. I observed that there was far more to pasta making than meets the eye; that it represented real craftsmanship, with many of the pastas made entirely by hand, which reminded me of growing up in Liguria, in the Italian Riviera, where my nonna, Maddalena, would make fresh gnocchi by hand as a treat at the weekend.
I guess you could say the idea was born, somewhat selfishly, from a feeling of nostalgia. But I also spotted a real business opportunity: premiumisation was happening everywhere in F&B, from burgers and ice cream to pizzas and coffee. But there was no fresh, artisan pasta of quality comparable to that which I had grown up eating in Italy, so the idea for Pasta Evangelists crystallised in my mind.
In order to come up with an exciting business idea, finding something that drives you and that you’re passionate about is key. In Alessandro’s case, his relationship with food growing up in Italy inspired the opportunity to recreate his personal experience for countless others.
Twill: What does your daily business routine look like?
Alessandro: I know it’s a cliché, but no day is the same. No hour is the same even. It could be anything from a team tasting to improve our recipe ratings, to leading a board meeting, helping the team find a solution when one of our chefs hasn’t shown up, or interviewing new candidates. I check our Trustpilot daily and spend a lot of time on the ground with our chefs just figuring out the feedback and how we can be better.
Running your own business often involves being everywhere at once. That’s why being prepared to balance many duties simultaneously is important to ensure your business operates smoothly.
Twill: What makes Pasta Evangelists unique?
Alessandro: The freshness and quality of our pasta. Our raison d'etrê from day one has been to evangelise, or uplift, pasta as a product. We saw pasta as a dusty category - something stale that had seen little innovation for decades. We have stuck to our guns and focussed hard to have a better product than competitors; something vastly superior in quality and recognised by customers as such.
The idea of watering down our proposition, say to have lower prices and a larger addressable market, is not something we would consider. We think our customers appreciate that we have been evangelical about good pasta in this way.
The proof is in the pudding, or pasta, we should say. To be evangelical means to have a born-again experience, which is what Alessandro proposed in the making of Pasta Evangelists. Reinventing pasta to be fresh and high-grade in the hope that people reexperience pasta in this new way was the incentive.
Twill: What have you learnt becoming an entrepreneur?
Alessandro: Being an entrepreneur is a long journey, but the failure of one business does not mean you are a failure as an entrepreneur. Success comes from being proactive in this way and through perseverance.
Pasta Evangelists currently uses logistics services to distribute their products around the UK, but plan to expand into new markets in the future. Could we see the delivery kits use ocean shipping to export pasta internationally? Entrepreneurs explore numerous avenues when finding ways to ensure their product reaches the biggest market possible.
Twill: What challenges did you face in the making of Pasta Evangelists?
Alessandro: The journey has been a rollercoaster with remarkable ups, downs, highs and lows. I would say there have been many challenges but one that stands out has been creating a team culture, especially with large swathes of new people joining the business during a global pandemic. The lack of face-to-face interaction has made creating culture really tricky, but we’re getting there!