Lavinia, the Sweet Life in LondonAFTER YEARS IN FINANCE, BOCCONI ALUMNA LAVINIA DAVOLIO HAS OPENED A CONFECTIONERY COMPANY IN LONDON THAT LEVERAGES THE EXCELLENCE OF THE MADE IN ITALY BRAND
Products made by hand, made in Italy and with high quality and carefully sourced ingredients – these are the ingredients behind the sweet success of Lavinia Davolio, Bocconi alumna and ‘foodpreneur.’ She has launched the Lavolio Boutique Confectionery, based in London, which produces luxury sweets.
From the Emilia region, Lavinia graduated from Bocconi with a Bachelor in International Economics and Management. Her program was held entirely in English, with a track that included an exchange in Shanghai and an internship in London. The internship then turned into a job in the sector of investment banking, which she would have for the next 9 years and where she advanced from intern to director.
This track was interrupted in 2013 when Lavinia decided to turn over a new leaf. “Since Bocconi, my true interest was to be an entrepreneur, if possible combining it with my passion for food,” explains Lavinia. “My initial idea was to start working in food service, I even completed a course for chefs, but then my market research led me to change direction towards creating and producing a high quality and innovative product, especially in B2B sales. I decided to concentrate on a scalable and niche sector, where there would be room to grow, and so I chose candies.”
During an initial trial, Lavinia made marshmallows in her apartment, but the bad smell from the animal gelatin wasn’t convincing. “So I decided to focus on vegetarian candy, with more attention placed on ingredients – using slow food products and artisanal production methods.”
In 2013, with the help of an Italian confectioner, Lavinia started sourcing high quality ingredients and artisanal products in Italy. In late 2013, she was ready to launch a line of candies with 30 flavors, grouped into 5 different packages, and leveraging selected ingredients such as pistachios from Bronte, D.O.P. hazelnuts from Piedmont and almonds from Puglia. Packaged in elegant tins with a particular design, the candies include innovative pairings such as pistachio and chili pepper, orange peel and saffron and coffee and anise.
“We’re only at the beginning but the idea to offer high quality Italian products to an international clientele seems like a successful one,” says Lavinia. “Clients appreciate the quality of the ingredients, the careful balance of flavors and the uniqueness of each piece.”
With production in Italy and marketing and distribution from the office in London, Lavolio candies have in fact been met with approval. They can be found in over 40 points of sale all over the UK, all high quality ‘specialty food’ shops, including the famous Fortnum & Mason. In the meantime, Lavinia is exploring other markets such as Kuwait and Hong Kong.
by Tomaso Eridani