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Green Olive Vegan

Green Olive Vegan

An inspiring ambassador for young people starts new vegan café in Anglesey.

Olive Irvine opened her own vegan café, Green Olive Vegan, in Anglesey, offering fresh, delicious vegan meals whilst spreading the message of healthier, more sustainable lifestyles. Olive was supported by the Welsh Government’s Business Wales service and was able to successfully launch the business in September 2019.

  • successful launch
  • start-up loan secured
  • 2 jobs created

Introduction to business

Anglesey-based Green Olive Vegan Café was launched by Olive Irvine, an inspiring young woman who decided to turn her passion into her first business venture.

The café opened in September 2019 and offers delicious vegan meals, using local and seasonal produce wherever possible, and caters for breakfast, lunch and brunch, including sweet treats, light bites, gluten-free options and meat alternatives, as well as an excellent selection of drinks.

Why did you decide to start your own business?

I decided to start my own business as it is something I have always wanted to do. I wanted to be my own boss and create a business around what I am passionate about. I graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with a 1st Class Hons degree in Design Engineering and turned down two jobs in that field as I did not want to be behind a computer 9-5. I didn’t want to be in an industry where the mission was mass production in an already massively saturated market of disposable items in a world already drowning in waste and rubbish.

Being vegan myself and aware of the bigger picture, I decided that I would open a vegan café and help educate people on a vegan diet in a positive way by providing amazing, local, fresh homemade food. The café itself has been furnished with second-hand items and over £200 was spent in charity shops sourcing materials. Being vegan is great for three reasons: it’s great for your health, it’s the single biggest thing an individual can do to reduce their own carbon footprint and also doesn’t cause any suffering to innocent animals. My business allows me to positively spread that message in a relaxing environment with amazing food and fantastic service.

What challenges did you face?

The challenges I faced, apart from financial, were knowledge related. I have never done anything like this before so drew upon my experience as a waitress and my design engineering skills to renovate the entire premises and redesign it in a way that would work best as a café layout. I applied for a loan with the help of Business Wales and benefitted from their help with writing my business plan. The loan got approved – I wouldn’t have been able to make any of this possible without that funding.

Business Wales support

Business Wales’ adviser, Gwawr Cordiner, provided Olive with advice on all aspects of starting a business, including business planning and cashflow forecasting. Olive also attended a start-up workshop and received further advisory help with identifying costs and suppliers, pricing, marketing, training, compliance, HMRC regulations and insurance.

Olive has also received HR support from a Business Wales HR specialist, Lowri Dundee, with matters such as recruitment, contracts of employment and policies.

Outcomes

  • successful launch
  • start-up loan secured
  • 2 jobs created

I have benefitted from Business Wales and my advisers, Gwawr and Lowri, greatly – they’ve helped me write my business plan, contracts of employment and realistic financial forecasts. Without them, I simply would not have had the knowledge and courage I have today. 

Future plans and ambitions

I am planning to have the café open in the evening, too, expand and have multiple restaurants. I would also like to run a vegan Airbnb above the current café and eventually run a hotel (or some sort of a vegan retreat with a dining experience), and a fully vegan hotel/guesthouse. 

If you want to read more success stories of how Business Wales has helped other people like you to start or grow their businesses, visit https://businesswales.gov.wales/case-studies or follow @_businesswales / @_busnescymru on Twitter.

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