She is passionate that all children should enjoy the healthiest and most nutritious food from the very start of their weaning journey, and so founded Piccolo in 2016 with a commitment to giving 10% of profits to food education charities.
Now Piccolo has a range of over 30 100% organic pouches, all inspired by the Mediterranean approach to health and wellbeing, centred around fresh ingredients that have been sustainably sourced, lovingly prepared and shared with friends and family.
Piccolo is now stocked in Waitrose, Asda, Boots, Morrisons, Whole Foods and Planet Organic (as well as hundreds of independent stores up and down the country) and has recently given 10,000 pouches to the Red Cross to help refugee parents struggling to feed their babies. Cat commutes between Italy and Central London with her husband Massimo and her daughter Juliet.
Describe a typical day for you?
I wake up very early to start working armed with some strong Italian coffee. I then try to get to yoga (if I have not stayed up too late the night before finishing something for Piccolo). I am that mum who drops her toddler off the latest in the class while multitasking too much trying to catch up on emails while running into nursery.
Then I tend to spend my days running around external meetings or spending the day in the office. I’m in the office, I like to spend a full day there and condense meetings. We always break for an hour for lunch and sit round our kitchen table together as a team sharing big salads and lots of pasta. I’m really lucky because Casa Piccolo is just a few minutes from Juliet’s nursery and our house, which makes life much more feasible for a mad rushing around type of character as I am
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
I have two things I’m most proud of: first, my super active toddler Juliet.
She has totally adapted to the busy lifestyle of start-up life, and copes brilliantly with a regular commute between Italy and the UK. Although her first language is Italian, I love the very proper British accent she has picked up here.
Second, of course is Piccolo, the business I launched last year. I am so proud of what we have achieved in such a short time – from winning awards to growing the baby food category to the amazing feedback we get from mums on a daily basis. But the part of Piccolo I’m especially proud of is our commitment to giving back, with our sister charity, the Food Education Foundation, which provides weaning workshops for parents of babies and toddlers.
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
Like any mum, my bag is crammed full of things for my daughter: Homemade dried fruits from Juliet’s nonno, a Piccolo Apple and Apricot with Cinnamon pouch which is her favourite snack on the go with me, the obligatory wet wipes, a change of knickers for Juliet who tends to forget all about the bathroom when having fun, ‘Madeline’, a wonderful children’s classic book about a little girl in Paris which is Juliet’s favourite, and then if there’s any room left – my iPhone and an iPhone charger.
What are your ambitions in life?
To be grateful for all the things I have and be content with the good hand life has handed me, whilst always striving professionally to hit the high targets I set myself.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
That it’s OK to try something completely new and inhabit different worlds: I moved from the United Nations to the UK grocery scene, which could have been uncomfortable or daunting but I really believe that it’s healthy to push yourself and you’ll see how possible it is to transfer and adapt skills to new environments.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Helping other women climb the ladder and mentoring as well as continuing to be mentored myself so I can do better every day.
What advice would you give a budding food entrepreneur?
I made sure to really get to know what my core consumer (mums) wanted by taking my daughter Juliet to baby events and asking the mums there what they wanted, testing recipes and ideas on my mum friends and getting as much feedback as I could. By receiving a thorough understanding of what mums were looking for meant I could adapt and change my ideas as I went along to make sure I felt confident that I was able to offer them exactly what they wanted. It wasn’t until I had this security of mind that I was ready to launch.
What’s the best advice you’ve received on motherhood you’d like to share?
The importance of enjoying the little moments in everything as it goes by so quickly – my mother in law gave me that advice, and it is so true.
Finally, happiness is…
My family – one is my immediate actual family: my husband Massimo and our daughter Juliet, and the other is my work family of the brilliant people who help make Piccolo such a success.
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Mumboss: The Honest Mum's Guide to Surviving and Thriving at Work and at Home (UK 2nd Edition)