19 August 2015

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The sweet taste of achievement

Lirije Ilazi
Lirije Ilazi

"A good idea and plenty of energy is a good start, but if you’re in business on your own, you have to do your homework. The best path to success – and the ability to maintain it – starts with thinking things through. Together with NLB, we mapped out a step-by-step plan for durable growth." Lirije Ilazi

"'Mummy, Mummy, please can I have some of those!' When I saw that the little girl was pointing to a packet of Rolleo sweets… Well, 'satisfaction' is too weak a word," Lirije Ilazi beams as she recounts her last visit to the supermarket.

That’s because Rolleo is Lirije’s own brand. Back in 2008, when it was only an idea, she knew that loving confectionery and having a talent wasn’t enough. She was going to have fun, but she was also going to be serious about it. First she took care of the 'demand' side and negotiated shelf space for her sweets with the local supermarket. She then got the 'supply' side sorted. That very night, the smell of delicious confectionery wafted out of her garage, and she made her first delivery two days later. Within the first year, Lirije’s sweets were selling like…hotcakes.

By early 2009, not only did the supermarket want more sweets, but more supermarkets wanted more, too. The garage was getting small. Her staff had grown to 32 and her product range to 13 different kinds of sweets. It was time to see a bank.

The first loan from NLB in 2009 provided the cash flow to make her payroll on time and financed the upgrades necessary for health and hygiene certification. With these priorities taken care of, she moved into a larger space of 210 sqm and got a van. "And here’s where the new cold room will be," Lirije smiles, pointing to the foundations of the new 2,000 sqm facility that is being built. 

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