Shaper: Saasha Celestial-One

Show aired on 19th January 2019

Transcript

Elliot Moss
Welcome to the Jazz Shapers podcast from Mishcon de Reya. What you are about to hear was originally broadcast on Jazz FM however music has been cut or shortened due to rights issues.

Welcome to Jazz Shapers, where the Shapers of Business join the Shapers of Jazz, Soul and Blues. Our guest today is Saasha Celestial-One, the Co-Founder of OLIO the food sharing mobile app aiming to tackle the huge problem of food waste. Saasha joined us previously as a Future Shaper in 2017 so it’s great to welcome her back. The daughter of Iowa hippy entrepreneurs hence the origin of Saasha’s brilliant made up surname – Celestial-One – Saasha formed OLIO in 2015 with her business partner and friend, Tessa Clarke. The simple and clearly effective idea of OLIO is to connect neighbours with each other and volunteers with local businesses so that surplus food can be shared rather than thrown away. This could be food nearing its sell-by date in local stores, spare home grown vegetables, bread from your baker or the groceries in your fridge when you go away. There is also the opportunity to share non-food household items as well. The app currently has 800,000 plus users who have successfully shared 1.2 million plus portions of food with each other. It is all about small actions and big change. We are going to find out much more about it in a few minutes. Here is Marlena Shaw with Feel Like Making Love.

This is Jazz Shapers. I am really pleased you joined me, Saasha Celestial-One is my Business Shaper today; Co-Founder and COO of OLIO and you were hearing about what OLIO was but that was me saying it, I want to hear the Co-Founder talking about it. Hello.

Saasha Celestial-One
Hello.

Elliot Moss
It is very nice of you to come here and join me on Jazz Shapers, thank you.

Saasha Celestial-One
My pleasure.

Elliot Moss
Tell me, in your own words, OLIO. You’ve got twenty seconds to give me the pitch, what is it? Why should I care?

Saasha Celestial-One
OLIO connects neighbours to stop good food from going to waste, it’s a free mobile app. Anyone who has food they are not going to eat just takes a picture, uploads it, it alerts neighbours nearby who can and those neighbours request and then pop round and collect whatever they fancy. It is very simple.

Elliot Moss
And it has been going?

Saasha Celestial-One
Just over three years.

Elliot Moss
Three years, you’ve got lots of funding?

Saasha Celestial-One
We have, we have. We’ve… we have just raised our series A, a few months ago so we’ve been able to invest in the team, we are now a team of eighteen and it’s a really exciting time.

Elliot Moss
Now Saasha you are an interesting person and along with many other people that I get to meet, very luckily. People may have been able to tell from your accent that you are from America, welcome. All the way, although you’ve probably been here for many, many years now.

Saasha Celestial-One
I’ve been here thirteen years and I am a dual citizen now but I haven’t lost my American accent that’s true.

Elliot Moss
You certainly haven’t, this is true. This is a statement of fact.

Saasha Celestial-One
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
Now your upbringing was kind of unusual. I am sure that people ask you about that. Tell me how being brought up by, I think you call them hippy entrepreneurs? Tell me how that may of affected the way you think about the world?

Saasha Celestial-One
So I did have quite a non-traditional childhood. My parents sort of liked to break all the rules, you know, I was born at home, I was never vaccinated, they made up my surname, that kind of sort of stereotypical hippy what you might think of but the first half of my childhood actually my parents had started a business, a cooperative selling wholesale erbs and spices, herbs I think you say here?

Elliot Moss
You can say erbs, I prefer erbs, it’s quite funny.

Saasha Celestial-One
Erbs and spices but it took a long time before that business took off and for the first sort of twelve years of my life I grew up relatively poor and to make ends meet my mum was very, very resourceful. I have a lot of vivid memories of following her around town and collecting things that other people had thrown away. So there would be houses that were being torn down and we would take toilets and wooden beams and really anything and I can also remember going behind the local plant nursery and diving or going in the dumpster and pulling out the broken plants and we would take them home and repot them and nurse them back to health and sort of sell them on and so in this way I hate to see anything of value go to waste and sort of rescuing things and giving them a second chance is just really ingrained in me.

Elliot Moss
You ended up at the University of Chicago.

Saasha Celestial-One
I did.

Elliot Moss
So somewhere along the line the unconventional became relatively conventional if you don’t mind me saying.

Saasha Celestial-One
Yes.

Elliot Moss
That’s a thing that young, smart people like you might want to do. How did it morph from that and what you just described as very visual, very vivid for me. How did that morph into a well I’m actually going to get good grades and I am going to do my SATs and all that other stuff?

Saasha Celestial-One
My parents were, specifically my father was always very, very… paid a lot of attention to my education and worked with me closely after school. I can remember every Friday night he would give me some type of task that I had to do, often involving writing letters to CEOs of Crisp Manufacturers to complain that the crisps weren’t crispy enough or something ridiculous but my sort of form of rebellion was to… because my childhood was so chaotic and financially insecure, I was really seeking to build a very secure and stable career so the idea of studying economics and later I went on to work in banking and consulting, these are very conservative career choices.

Elliot Moss
And an MBA at Stanford?

Saasha Celestial-One
And an MBA at Stanford.

Elliot Moss
I’ve heard of both MBAs and Stanford, I mean that is a serious august institution.

Saasha Celestial-One
Well my idea was…

Elliot Moss
You really did rebel. I think my children need to be listening to this because I want them to rebel exactly the same way.

Saasha Celestial-One
I wanted to be employable always and it took me a long time to build that sort of what I might consider a relatively bullet proof CV but without skipping too far ahead, you know I always had an idea in the back of my mind that I would want to do my own business. As a kid I personally started at least a dozen micro businesses. I had the hustle from a very young age and I never really lost it. Once I was on maternity leave, five, no six years ago, I had the opportunity to op for redundancy which was such a blessing because I had been at American Express for six years at that point and it’s a great company, great culture and they you know, they gave me a generous redundancy package and I realised that if I really sort of cut my expenses back then I had bought myself a couple of years of breathing space and I could explore something else. I mean it was at that point I haven’t returned to the sort of traditional workforce since, I have been doing my own thing since 2012.

Elliot Moss
These twelve micro businesses you talked about, at what age did that begin?

Saasha Celestial-One
Oh gosh, probably eight, nine. I used to, along with my brothers, collect all the tin cans, aluminium cans have a five cent rebate in America so in the summer when everyone drinks pop and beer all summer long, I would go around the local lakes, the parks, collect hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of cans every single day, take them to the grocery store and turn them in. I used to, I learned how to do fancy braiding in hair and I would charge twenty five cents a braid for cornrows basically. I used to grow grapes in our back yard and we’d make juice and make grape lemonade and sell those on to the neighbours.

Elliot Moss
Basically anything.

Saasha Celestial-One
Anything, anything.

Elliot Moss
Anything.

Saasha Celestial-One
Yes.

Elliot Moss
So you then, you mentioned you worked for American Express, I think you were VP for business development. You worked there until 2013, is that right?

Saasha Celestial-One
Yes.

Elliot Moss
So that moment when you get this package and then you realise there is this opportunity to do your own thing. You’d already been friends with your now Co-Founder, for quite a while, I think since 2002 or so…

Saasha Celestial-One
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
…I think you guys have known each other over ten years even by that stage, at that stage. You and her discuss this idea?

Saasha Celestial-One
Yes, well actually Tess and I started OLIO in 2015 and I had, I did a different business before.

Elliot Moss
Okay what did you do before?

Saasha Celestial-One
I launched a business called My Crèche in Crouch End which is a pay-as-you-go childcare provider for people who need flexible child care so as an ex-pat, on maternity leave I really suffered from not having family and not having access to sort of ad hoc child care and I realised, I was going to the Virgin Gym every for the maximum two hours…

Elliot Moss
On the main high street, I know it well yes.

Saasha Celestial-One
…and I saw that there were a lot of other parents checking their children in to the gym and then not necessarily working out but maybe grabbing a cup of coffee, catching up on email and I thought I couldn’t be the only one that needed you know, the occasional ad hoc flexible child care so I took the manager from the Virgin Gym, got my own high street location and opened it up. Within nine months it was self-managing and self-financing and was profitable and I got access to free child care which was absolutely critical for when I decided later to launch OLIO with Tessa and also it provided a nice sort of passive income stream. So very proud of that business. Originally the plan was to sort of launch a My Crèche on every high street in London where it might work but I sort of became just less baby crazy and also parents are very difficult, even though we were very much providing a valuable service to people who needed it because flexible child care doesn’t really exist in London, many parents find the process of choosing where to leave their children, and just leaving their children, a very stressful thing and they are very vocal and you know, I am very proud of the service we provided and… but it is just a difficult customer set, parents okay. Where are they going to leave their child for an hour is taken with you know, a decision taken with as much care and consideration as what car to buy.

Elliot Moss
Yeah, yeah, which you kind of understand, I mean you are a parent, I am a parent.

Saasha Celestial-One
I completely understand.

Elliot Moss
But you are right, you are like going ‘hold on a minute this may not be the future’.

Saasha Celestial-One
It is so funny, first time parents is absolutely you know, anxiety. Second time, you know parents the second kid they are like ‘take my credit card and go’ you know, just boom, so.

Elliot Moss
I sold my third and fourth child, it worked out very well for me and I don’t need to work anymore. Stay with me for much more from my guest, Saasha Celestial-One, she is going to be back in a couple of minutes but first, you heard it in 2018 first, we’ve got the News Sessions and it is a podcast which can be found on all the major podcast platforms, our host of that is the one and only Paddy O’Connell and with the help of Mishcon de Reya, he explores the world of the gig economy which is critical to our overall economy here in the UK and much more further afield.

There are absolutely loads of ways for you to enjoy all of our former Jazz Shapers, all the way back to 2012 and now we are in the heady heights of 2019 and you can indeed hear this very programme again. You could ask Alexa to play Jazz Shapers and there you can hear many of the recent programmes or if you pop Jazz Shapers into iTunes podcast platform or any other podcast platform, you can enjoy the full archive there. But right here, right now, is Saasha Celestial-One. I just love your name and it is a made up name obviously but it’s cool, it’s your name now. She is the Co-Founder…

Saasha Celestial-One
I didn’t make it up.

Elliot Moss
You didn’t make it up, no obviously. You would have been quite… you would have been a savant, some kind of genius at the age of zero to have that up anyway…

Saasha Celestial-One
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
She is the Co-Founder if you were listening earlier, I hope you were, of OLIO, the food sharing mobile app. So I started looking at this as I do for all my guests and looked into it and I was like ‘wow’ because I have for years berated my wife about wasting food and I hate, like you, I hate wasting anything. It seems too good to be true in a way and the stats are I believe, you’ve got over 800,000 subscribers; you have managed to successfully share 1.2 million plus portions of food, whatever that might be.

Saasha Celestial-One
Yep.

Elliot Moss
There’s a gap of eight million people that are going without food, properly without food here in the UK. Eight hundred million globally and it’s a valuable business it’s worth or rather the value of food that is wasted, 1.2 trillion dollars globally. An extraordinary, an amazing…

Saasha Celestial-One
Yes.

Elliot Moss
…problem.

Saasha Celestial-One
It’s a huge inefficiency.

Elliot Moss
That… okay so where do you start with all that Saasha? How did you decide to do the thing you did because most people look at a global problem like that, I mean a huge problem and go ‘yeah I think I’ll just talk about that at the next dinner party I go to, I’m not going to do anything’.

Saasha Celestial-One
I mean in addition to the sort of fact that so many people are going hungry whilst we are wasting so much just feels wrong and immoral. If food waste were a country it would also be the third largest contributor to climate change, after the USA and China. So it is absolutely horrific for the environment. One thing that surprises many people is for example here in the UK over half of our food waste takes place in our homes. The average UK family wastes nearly a quarter of their weekly grocery shop and 70% of it is edible at the time it is thrown away and it is hard to get your head around how a couple of bananas that you let go brown and you know, that two thirds of the loaf of sour dough bread you didn’t finish, how at scale it adds up to the bulk of the problem but we have twenty seven million households here. I mean we all start wasting just a little bit, it’s a lot. So we decided to specifically to tackle the household side of the problem (1) because you know, we are individuals ourselves, it is easier to get your head around that and (2) I really believe in empowering people and people power change. I mean it is overwhelming to think of nearly a billion people going you know, to bed hungry every week and in the climate crisis I find very depressing if you really understand it but it’s very encouraging to think if I take one action today and then I take another action tomorrow and then I can persuade other people to do that, that lots of small actions can lead to transformational change and most people would argue that that is the only thing that ever really has and so the idea of OLIO is that you know, in under a minute you can share any food that you are not going to eat with someone who would be happy to eat it maybe because they need it or maybe just because they are nearby but the fun doesn’t stop there, the fun actually starts when you meet that person on the doorstep. A lot of people don’t want to meet their neighbours and that’s fine and people come up with all kinds of ways to hide things outside and safe spots and sometimes I am busy and I do that too but as a human, like every single sort of instinct I have that I have evolved with as a human is going to be rewarded and feel rewarded when I hand something of nutritional value to someone who appreciates it, right, that’s good for the species, we work as a tribe, we solve problems together. It is a really magical feeling to give something that would have gone to waste to someone who is going to appreciate it. You feel like Santa Claus and it is very addictive so I share a lot and I don’t collect very often though sometimes I do and it is just phenomenal how quickly food is requested.

Elliot Moss
So basically if you… if I am a giver, I’ve logged on, I’ve created a profile, I can literally take photos of the food, I can say this is available to pick up and then anyone who is also a user has registered, they can simply see oh that’s available now, it went on at 8.07pm and its available until its available. Do you then make a note when it’s been picked up?

Saasha Celestial-One
Yep, yep so that person would tap the request this button and they would have seen what time you said it was available and maybe you said between 8.00 and 9.00pm tonight, they say great I can come around between 8.00 and 9.00pm if it’s still available let me know. You reply to say it’s available, you press a button that’s called pick-up arranged which unlists the listing from viewing and at that point you give your address, your address is not disclosed beforehand and then they pop round, they ring your bell, you go downstairs and you give them the food. Just like selling something on Ebay or Gumtree.

Elliot Moss
And this is available across the whole country or are you still…

Saasha Celestial-One
It’s available across the whole country, it’s even available globally. We’ve seen food sharing take place successfully in forty nine countries and that’s because we have a volunteer programme, it’s all volunteer driven so anyone who wants to see a food sharing network take place in their community, we make it really easy, we have a step-by-step play book marketing materials, here’s how you sign up your neighbours, here’s how you get local businesses to donate food, businesses also donate unsold food which is redistributed through the platform. We have nearly three thousand trained volunteers who collect from hundreds and hundreds of businesses each week, Pret, Co-Op, Sainsbury, Swiss Market – like lots of really high quality delicious food coming on the app that would have gotten thrown away, couldn’t be given to charity, charity can’t take everything and our view is you know, if it can’t be sold, it can’t be donated to charity, before it goes to landfill, it should be given to the local community and we arrange for volunteers to do that.

Elliot Moss
I want to talk about the volunteers for a moment. So I get this, I now have gone on the app, I’ve registered. Someone comes along and I say you can get it from here da, da, da… the volunteer bit, tell me there is a few. You’ve got advocates I think, you’ve got volun… what are their derivations and what do people do to make this thing work?

Saasha Celestial-One
Okay. Just one step back from there, there is two types of listings that come on to the app for food, half of it is food from a domestic kitchen, that’s me or you, like I’ve over catered for a party, I’ve baked a cake but I am not a glutton and I don’t want to eat it all – I mean there is a million reasons why you might want to share some food. The other half of the food is the food I was talking about earlier, that’s collected by volunteers. Those volunteers are trained how to safely collect food and redistribute it. They live near the shop, they bring it straight home, they add it to the app and then their neighbours come to their house and pick up the food. It is still a neighbour to neighbour household doorstep exchange.

Elliot Moss
But it’s come via a restaurant.

Saasha Celestial-One
But the food has come from often not a restaurant because they tend to have plate waste and we are not in the business of redistributing plate waste. It tends to be a lot of food-to-go like we’ve worked with Leon, salads and sandwiches and things that are good that day but aren’t going to be good… they are going to be made fresh tomorrow. The volunteers then, we have two types of volunteers. We have ambassadors – ambassadors are really, so everything at OLIO is free but it is effectively a marketplace which is not a great word but it is what it is and we have supply which is the food and we have demand which is the people who are requesting the food.

Elliot Moss
Yeah, so that’s the market even though it’s not a market in the traditional sense.

Saasha Celestial-One
It’s a market, it’s a market but everything is free. And you want to match supply and demand and so our ambassadors are the volunteers that are building demand and that means that they are encouraging people to download the app in their community. We have twenty seven thousand or twenty six, something like that, ambassadors all around the world and we give them a step-by-step sort of toolkit that they follow to build up the community of users in their neighbourhood and we make that available in lots of different languages etcetera, etcetera. The food waste heroes are the ones that we have about three thousand trained and they are helping with the supply side because they are collecting food that would have been thrown away at the local business platform and then they are bringing it home and sharing it on the app and what we have found is the new geographies like London is a very mature geography and anything you add in London, I mean, I guarantee you will be requested within minutes if not multiple times, there is such huge demand for food here in London. But in a newer city where we haven’t spent time let’s say or we haven’t, you know we don’t really have a user base, to get things kick started the first thing we will do is we will find local businesses to donate food because it is all chicken and egg situation. So you don’t want… you build up demand but they open the app and there is nothing there you are not going to stick around so first you get the businesses to donate the food and then you have that fly then you encourage people to download the app and they open it and they are like oh my gosh there’s…

Elliot Moss
Okay, so that’s the eco system there. The question that occurs to me, you said it’s a market but it is obviously all for free. How do you guys make money?

Saasha Celestial-One
That’s an excellent question and we get asked quite often. First we became revenue generating about a year ago and we charge a fee for the service that we provide to the businesses that donate the food.

Elliot Moss
Okay so that’s the source. So if Mishcon de Reya happens to do this, then Mishcon de Reya gets charged some money and that is where your revenue is coming from?

Saasha Celestial-One
Yes and it is per volunteer collection. That is the first way that we have become revenue generating. We will experiment with offering a premium version of the app sometime later next year whereby we bundle some features for the users that are getting the most value and if they want access to those features they will need to pay for it or give back. So what we do have is a lot of people who are withdrawing who are super users who are really, really benefitting but haven’t yet volunteered or invited friends or added anything to the app and we have a non-food section for household consumables and if you think about shampoo and cleaning products and nappies that your kid’s grown out of and you know, you are never going to use, you know, we have all kinds of stuff around our house that has value, isn’t appropriate to necessarily drop off a half bottle of shampoo at the charity shop, you are not going to sell it but you shouldn’t throw it away just because you are a red head instead of a blonde now, if you know what I mean. So everyone has things that they can share, everyone has ways that they can give back to the community.

Elliot Moss
And on the money front you don’t strike me as someone who is driven by money although you did say very early on, I wanted to be employable and you know, create this bullet proof CV and so on and so forth.

Saasha Celestial-One
Yes.

Elliot Moss
Obviously the money enables you, you need that money to then do all the great things so the money has a purpose, is that correct?

Saasha Celestial-One
Yes.

Elliot Moss
Versus it being for its own sake?

Saasha Celestial-One
Tess and I did not start a free food sharing app to become billionaires. We did it because we care about the environment and it seemed such an obvious thing that the world needs to have and it’s a win, win, win every which way you look at it so we are driven by the problem that we are solving. That said, we are both the primary breadwinners in our family, we both have children, you know, we need to live but we’ve received private investment because the problem is so big that for those businesses or organisations that can even unlock a fraction of the value of the food that is going to waste, there is a meaningful business opportunity. We are not focussed on monetisation really right now, we are focussed on getting to scale.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me for my final chat with Saasha plus we will be playing a track from Bill Laurance, that’s in just a moment.

That as Bill Laurance with Swag Times and it was live at the Union Chapel, I love him and he featured on the Kelly Hoppen Love 2016 or ’17 Jazz Shapers we did, if you want to look back on that some brilliant tracks that he played that night as well. Right here, right now Saasha Celestial-One is my Business Shaper just for a few more minutes. We’ve been talking about this enormous idea which you have made granular and you have therefore got it off the ground and you’ve been funded and so on and so forth. Are you pleased that you did your MBA, that you did your Degree, that you did your Mckinsey, that you did your work at American Express and all these things so that you could pivot into this new world? Are you pleased that you did all those things? Did you need to do them all or could you have just gone and done this in the beginning?

Saasha Celestial-One
That’s an excellent question. I think for me in my personality and my own personal sort of risk profile that it was… I certainly have no regrets and actually it feels like everything has happened at the right time for the right reason. Being an entrepreneur especially when you are a mother you know, it is a scary thing to you know, thinking about worst case scenario if you know you don’t get more funding or something happens and you are sort of left in a precarious situation and so for me it gives me great comfort to know that I could you know, I could go and get another job as a consultant or work in strategy or business development. Areas that I know very well and that I have a bit of expertise in and at the same time having founded a child care business, you know, that, having free child care, child care is very expensive in this city and having access to free and flexible child care meant when I start OLIO you know, it just feels like it all sort of happened for a reason right, one thing led to another so I am very pleased yes. And I think also now at the ripe young age of forty two, you know I don’t think too much about sort of did I or did I not do the right thing like, it’s a great time in my life to just be focussed on the present.

Elliot Moss
Oh you are so American I love it. Like you couldn’t, if I said that, people would just look at me weirdly, with you they go, yeah, she’s so right, she’s so on the money. If it hadn’t have been this business though because this business is very special and it’s got a big thing, it’s got a big purpose right in the core of it.

Saasha Celestial-One
Yes.

Elliot Moss
Do you think you’d feel the same? I mean is it again happenstance that you are here? It feels, it feels like it is meant to be this thing right?

Saasha Celestial-One
No. Working on something where you just every single day know that you are making people’s lives better, that you have a team of a hundred percent mission obsessed employees who are completely devoted to the same mission that you are and my Co-Founder is fantastic, she is one of my best friends and knowing that if we can get to scale, the potential for OLIO is huge you know, we have a vision of a billion users using the app to redistribute our most precious resource – food – you know, within the next five, seven, ten years and we think this can happen, our volunteers think this can happen, our investors think this can happen. It just makes no sense that so much goes to waste when so many people are hungry and when we are destroying the planet in the process and not even managing to feed us all plus we have two and a half billion people joining earth by 2050, you know, that’s in our lifetime and if you do the math, it is an unsustainable situation and the beauty of OLIO is it starts with a single loaf of bread, a single carton of milk you know, a couple of cupcakes, whatever. All of that at scale redistributed and shared not only obviously can help an environmental tragedy and feed people but it brings us back together sort of functioning as a tribe and I don’t know how much you know about this but I think it is relatively common knowledge that we are not just facing an environmental crisis, we are facing a mental health crisis, people are more depressed, anxious and suicidal than ever, all over the planet and that is because we are lonely and we are not you know, working together in a way that you know is making us feel good. So OLIO strengthens communities as well so the vision is huge and you can see the potential so it is incredibly motivating but the stories every day that we get, dozens and dozens of times which say I left the house for the first time in a week today because I suffer from anxiety and I had a positive experience with someone else and I feel you know, OLIO has changed my life or I volunteered and now I have a sense of wellbeing and purpose or you know, I ate today and yesterday I didn’t because I was feeding my children and not myself and all of those stories are just incredibly motivating so I do feel really privileged and proud to be working at OLIO.

Elliot Moss
I think its brilliant and I really hope it’s a billion and I hope it’s more than a billion because it’s, it’s proper stuff.

Saasha Celestial-One
I hope all of your listener’s download the app and have a cupboard clear out.

Elliot Moss
This is what I want to ask you, so if you want to get involved, I don’t normally do this but this is different to me, if you want to get involved as an individual, what do you need to… and you want to give… what do you need to do?

Saasha Celestial-One
You just simply download the app or go to our website, it is OLIO. If you search OLIO food sharing it will not be difficult.

Elliot Moss
Okay as a business, same thing?

Saasha Celestial-One
As a business absolutely. On our website it says right there ‘are you a business, would you like to have your food collected by volunteers?’ I mean everyone should have a zero waste office right. There is no reason for good food to go to waste at the end of the lunch shift.

Elliot Moss
We will make sure we put the details as well.

Saasha Celestial-One
Thank you so much.

Elliot Moss
We always post on Twitter.

Saasha Celestial-One
We don’t really have a marketing budget so I like to get all the…

Elliot Moss
That’s okay. You are here now.

Saasha Celestial-One
Yes.

Elliot Moss
People listening do the right thing.

Saasha Celestial-One
Thank you so much.

Elliot Moss
Just before I let you go Saasha, it’s been a real pleasure and an honour to meet you. What’s your song choice and why have you chosen it?

Saasha Celestial-One
Oh I believe my song choice is Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off. I have fond memories of my dad playing that song in the car. He had a track with four or five songs and that was one of them and he would play it on repeat and it is a sing along song.

Elliot Moss
That was Ella Fitzgerald with Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off, the song choice of my Business Shaper today, Saasha Celestial-One; Co-Founder and CEO of OLIO. I wanted to be employable, she said about the way that she took her life in her own hands and got a great education. I had the hustle, she said of her eight year old self as she started to build one of her twelve plus businesses and most importantly for this business right in front of us, this enormous problem of food and sharing food appropriately, she is all about the scale, can I get to a billion users, can I help a billion people actually be fed properly, all fantastic stuff. That’s it from Jazz Shapers, have a great weekend.

We hope you enjoyed that edition of Jazz Shapers. You will find hundreds more guests available for you to listen to in our archive. To find out more, just search Jazz Shapers and iTunes or your favourite podcast platform or head over to mishcon.com/jazzshapers.

Saasha is co-founder of OLIO: a free app harnessing the power of mobile technology and the sharing economy to provide a solution to the problem of food waste. OLIO connects neighbours with each other and volunteers with local businesses, so that surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. OLIO has 800,000+ users who have successfully shared 1.2+ million portions of food with each other. Prior to OLIO, Saasha spent 13 years at Morgan Stanley, McKinsey & American Express. Saasha has an MBA from Stanford, is mum to a six year old boy and the proud daughter of hippy entrepreneurs.

Follow Saasha on Twitter @saashaN8.

“It is very simple. Anyone who has leftover food uploads a picture and alerts nearby people, who can then request and later collect the food to eat.”

“I had a non-traditional childhood. I was born at home, I was never vaccinated & they made up my surname. Stereotypical hippies you might think, but my parents started a business selling wholesale herbs & spices.”

“I have vivid memories of following my Mum around town & collecting things that other people had thrown away.”

“My brothers and I would go around the local lakes &parks, collect hundreds of cans every day, take them to the grocery store and turn them in for cash.”

“I used to grow grapes in our back yard and make juice or grape lemonade and sell those to the neighbours.”

“My childhood was chaotic and financially insecure. I was seeking to build a very secure and stable career. I studied Economics and later went to work in banking and consulting.”

“I had the hustle from a very young age and I never really lost it.”

“It’s a fact that so many people are going hungry whilst we are wasting so much – it feels wrong and immoral.”

“If food waste were a country it would be the third largest contributor to climate change, after the USA & China.”