Emma and Lucy Warby, sisters based in London, founded Swivlit in 2017 with the dream of shaking up the reusable lunchbox space.
They both come from corporate backgrounds and are loving finding their feet in the startup world as their business begins to go in exciting new directions.
They are also excited about supporting positive environmental change through their new product and its alignment to charities involved in the reusable revolution.
Revolutionising food on-the-go, a Swivlit is a no fuss multifunctional cooking and eating pod which keeps your food either hot or cold for up to 6 hours so that you can enjoy it when you are out and about.
Using simple yet innovative technology paired with a striking aesthetic, a Swivlit can be used to cook, reheat or chill your soups, curries, pasta, salads (or whatever takes your fancy!) and keep them hot or cold for several hours.
A Swivlit also acts as a non-electric slow-cooker on the go. You simply microwave the contents for 3-5 minutes and then put the lid on and wait whilst it cooks over the next few hours. What’s more, a Swivlit is microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe as well as being leak-proof making people’s busy lives more convenient.
What inspired you to start Swivlit?
It all started because we were fed up with various useless and ugly lunch boxes leaking all over our bags and being horrible to eat out of, not to mention long queues for the microwave at work.
To add insult to injury, some of them couldn’t even go in the dishwasher.
What we really needed was a versatile container which we could microwave our food in before going to work, pop in our bags whilst it kept the food hot until lunch and then eat straight from it, and which was dishwasher-proof. And which looked gorgeous. The Swivlit was born!
What skills did you come to the business with already and how have they helped you grow your business?
We both come from corporate backgrounds (Emma in law and Lucy in finance). We both understand business structures and the different functions required to start and run a company, which has been really helpful in getting us off the ground. Self-motivation, organisation and initiative have all been absolutely key in helping to grow our business. When you work for yourself you really have to hit the ground running and be ready to face any challenges that come your way.
How have bloggers / online influencers helped you grow your brand?
The blogger/influencer space is a great way to market a product like ours because of their broad reach and the ability to target our audience based on each influencer’s brand and ethos and in turn their following. Although we’re a relatively new business, we have already tapped into this resource and have found it extremely beneficial. We have also been pleasantly surprised at how receptive and friendly the industry is.
What’s the most challenging thing about setting up your own business?
Since neither of us comes from any sort of a marketing or PR background, we have had to learn along the way about how to promote our product and ways of bringing it to market. Some techniques that we thought would bring in lots of sales haven’t necessarily been as successful as we predicted. However, there have been others which have really taken off. We also have learnt, by trial and error, that we are perfectly capable of doing lots of our own PR and marketing, and even though it’s been tempting to spend money on agencies to do it for us, we’re glad that we haven’t at this stage.
What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you started?
To be honest, nothing! It’s all been about learning by doing, and that experience has been invaluable. When we first started wanting to turn our vision into a reality, there were so many things that we had to work out for ourselves. With so many resources now available, you can learn how to do so much yourself.
All at once, we have become website builders, recipe developers, photographers, salespeople, accountants, and the list goes on…
If you are passionate about your idea and you believe in yourself, the rest will follow!
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting their own sustainable business?
To trust your instincts and just go for it. Don’t be disheartened if you face a day or a week of setbacks as there are always going to be ups and downs when starting your own company. It’s all worth it when you start to see your dream become a reality.