Deliciously Ella is a resource to help you live better and make vegetables cool. Starting from a personal blog, we’ve evolved into an app, deli, collection of recipe books, series of podcasts, a range of plant-based food products and a growing social media community that sits at the heart of what we do.
I started Deliciously Ella back in 2012 whilst I was still at university. In 2011, I had been diagnosed with a condition called Postural Tachycardia Syndrome, as well as Ehlers-Danlos and Mast Cell Activation Disorder, following four months in and out of hospital. The condition affected the workings of my autonomic nervous system; I couldn’t control my heart rate and blood pressure properly, while also struggling with digestive issues, chronic fatigue, a series of infections and a whole host of other symptoms. I was prescribed a cocktail of medication, but unfortunately they had limited success in managing the condition and after about a year I hit rock bottom, both physically and mentally.
At this point, I started looking into other ways of managing the condition and began researching diet and lifestyle.
Encouraged by stories I read, I decided to turn to a whole foods, plant-based diet and overhauled my lifestyle. I had three major obstacles at this point though: 1) I couldn’t cook, 2) I had no idea how to make plant-based recipes and 3) I had lost all of my sense of drive and passion. I decided the way to combat all three issues was to start a diary of my culinary experiments, pushing myself to try new things in the kitchen each day and rediscover a sense of creativity. I did this online through my blog: deliciouslyella.com.
Deliciously Ella was originally intended to be a personal project, a way to encourage myself to fall in love with plant-based eating and make healthy eating delicious.
From day one I knew that I never wanted to compromise on taste – flavour, abundance and excitement had to sit at the heart of every meal. Over the next year I learnt to cook, photograph and document what I was creating and quickly found a deep passion for plant-based living. Initially I’d only intended to write for myself, but after some persuasion I shared Deliciously Ella with friends and family and we grew from there, somehow accumulating over 130 million hits within the next few years.
A year after I started writing Deliciously Ella, I launched our social media platforms so that I could share more inspiration with our community, before moving into hosting supper clubs and teaching cooking classes, which funded the development of my first commercial venture: the Deliciously Ella app. The app, to my huge surprise, went straight to #1 in Food & Drink on the UK app store, solely thanks to the support of our online community and that set the foundations for where we are today.
Following the launch of the app, I was approached to write a cookbook. The book was published in January 2015 and became the best-selling debut cookbook ever in the UK. This was the turning point for our company, taking Deliciously Ella from a small online community into something beyond my wildest expectations.
I met my now husband, and our CEO, Matt, shortly after the book was published and we started talking about taking Deliciously Ella further. We wanted to share, on scale, the benefits we had experienced from plant-based living. Matt had worked in finance and business development, and we decided to join forces, using both of our skill sets – me on the creative side and Matt on the operational side – to start a family business.
Our first venture was opening a deli in London, so that we could bring our food to life and create a space for our community to enjoy. We knew we wanted to bring what we were doing to a wider audience though, as we wanted make delicious plant-based food even more accessible. So shortly after opening the deli, we set about starting the larger, and most effective way of reaching the most people possible, which was to launch our food products business.
Our first product was our energy balls, which are now in around 6,000 stores across the UK and Ireland, from Waitrose to Starbucks, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Holland and Barrett, Whole Foods and lots more. We have since launched a line of breakfast cereals, oat bars, frozen meals and nut butter balls, with lots more to come.
We’re only getting started on our journey, but our core purpose has remained the same from when I wrote my first recipe, which is to share the joys and benefits of plant based living. It gave me my life and health back, and between us we can help millions of others too.