Joe Formisano and Olivia Robinson of DELIVITA
Entrepreneurial uncle and niece duo Joe Formisano and Olivia Robinson tell BQ why they launched woodfired oven start-up DELIVITA and why they decided to manufacture them right here in the UK...
What were you both doing prior to launching the business?
Joe: I’ve spent 25 years in sales launching brands and products globally. The companies I’ve worked for more recently include the likes of Mamas & Papas and Shark Ninja.
Olivia: I teamed up with my uncle Joe to create the DELIVITA brand after turning freelance. Before that I was creative brand director at Mamas & Papas.
What does your business do?
Founded in 2016 by uncle and niece team, DELIVITA’s flagship product - a beautiful handcrafted wood-fired oven - was developed to inspire passion for wood-fired outdoor cooking and bring families and friends together to share fun, relaxed meals.
Made of fibreglass with insulating heatproof handles and weighing less than 30kg, DELIVITA’s wood-fired ovens are entirely portable.
The shape of the wood-fired oven originates from the size of a traditional pizza peel and once heated can cook a pizza in 90 seconds. It is also perfect for fish, meat & vegetables.
Having been inspired by Italy, DELIVITA is completely designed and hand-crafted in Yorkshire.
What inspired you to start up?
Our heritage is Italian, so food and family are at the heart of every occasion. We cracked our perfect pizza dough recipe a long time ago, but we struggled to find the perfect oven.
Conventional ovens and range cookers don’t reach the right temperature while existing wood-fired ovens are generally too big, expensive and slow getting to temperature.
We realised the world was missing a good quality artisan home crafted pizza oven at an attainable price.
Where do you get advice, support or help?
Olivia: Everywhere & everyone, but I generally speak to close friends & family. I’m really lucky to have a strong network of friends & family.
When we first setup DELIVITA my husband bought me a book called ‘Business for Punks’ from BrewDog – I really enjoyed it, it was an encouraging and positive read.
Finance is one of the most common barriers to starting up. How did you access the finance you needed?
Joe: Saving up and asking for lots of favours - We now pay with ovens!
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Olivia: I think the fact that we found a manufacturer in Yorkshire for all our products, it was our mission and we spent around six months trying to find the perfect fit.
We have met fantastic people along the way who are willing to help start-ups and are dedicated to making it a success.
How do you differentiate your business from others?
Joe: We are selling a lifestyle not just a product, we’re hand made in Yorkshire and aesthetically we think our oven rocks!
What’s it like to be your own boss?
Olivia: I love it, it’s been my dream for the last decade, everyone thinks you get more time and it’s easier- quite the contrary! Every day is different, I’ve jumped off a merry-go-round and got on a rollercoaster
Joe: I love everything from the freedom and challenge to being in charge of my own destiny.
Where do you see your business in five years time?
Olivia: I would hope in five years time our business has become a go to brand, a loved brand with followers and fans who are as passionate about authentically cooked food as we are.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Joe: Just do it, you’re capable of anything and if you’re honest and passionate the world is your oyster.