19th October 2016
Founder: Hannah McCollum
Young entrepreneur Hannah McCollum was inspired to set up her own business following her experience as a private chef. She spent five years cooking at private events across Europe, and was always struck by the amount of food that was thrown away at the end of the day. Her idea to convert the leftovers into dips turned into the foundation for her new business.
ChicP is a raw vegetable hummus company that produces delicious, alternative dips. It is founded on a passionate commitment to reducing food waste. The business started as a hobby for founder Hannah, who used to turn the leftover vegetables from events she worked on into dips for the next day. She soon became well known for this, and the people she cooked for soon started pressing her with the same question: “What’s today’s dip of the day?”
“What’s today’s dip of the day?”
The popularity of Hannah’s dips stemmed both from their high-quality taste, and from their healthy attributes: “They go down brilliantly with both parents and children, because they taste great but are also full of fantastic nutrients.”
Hannah was also driven by the sense of injustice she felt when witnessing the binning of perfectly good food: “The amount of food that gets chucked away at food events is phenomenal and it used to really get to me. It would get chucked and no one cared… at some events I worked at, we weren’t even allowed to take it home with us.”
Working at large scale events such as Wimbledon enabled her to envisage how she could turn her hobby into a large-scale business, and soon enough, Hannah began to create and sell her product, ChicP, from home.
ChicP is by no means Hannah’s first stab at business, having started her own business when she was at school. Hannah found a gap in the market for pretty skirts at an affordable price for teenagers, and with the help of my mother’s sewing talent, went on to make skirts for both girls and women.
“The business, Piglet Clothing, did quite well and won awards, but I soon lost interest in the world of fashion. I couldn’t see myself pursuing something in that field in the long term. I was much more interested in doing something good and something I was passionate about.”
Hannah currently runs ChicP on her own, from her flat in South London. Whilst many home business owners suffer from a lack of social interaction, Hannah keeps herself busy by getting out and about during the week. “I spend two or three days a week working in the city. I might be out doing a bike delivering or attending meetings.” She claims that this helps her to continue to enjoy working from home: “I always look forward to the next day at home because of the peace and bliss that it offers, in contrast to the hectic streets of London!”
There’s a great community of home business owners out there – you’ve just got to chat to those around you!”
London’s cafes also provide a good alternative to her home office, if she feels in need of a change of scene: “Sometimes I get claustrophobic and need to get out. I often go and work in local cafes, and often find myself surrounded by other self-employed people who are getting on with their work. There’s a great community of home business owners out there – you’ve just got to chat to those around you!”
While Hannah currently loves the freedom that working from home offers her, she aspires to move to a small office with a team of similarly motivated young people, and eventually set up her own hummus café nearby.
Her best piece of advice to people thinking about setting up a home business? Be determined. “If you are passionate, motivated and 100% believe in your business, then you can and will succeed. If you’re not, it probably won’t be an enjoyable process. But I love my job, and wouldn’t change a thing.”