How Manon van Essen scaled up her homemade vegan pizza into the Magioni brand

In this episode, Manon van Essen - founder of Magioni - is revealing the ugly truth of what it takes to be an ambitious startup entrepreneur. Manon shares her fascinating path - from baking 10 vegan pizzas a day in her kitchen trying to find the ideal recipe to filling in the shelves with Magioni products at Albert Heijn, Jumbo, Superunie, etc.

Listen to the episode

The podcast episode is available on all major listening platforms: SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsPocket Casts.

What are some of the topics you can expect?

  • What was the biggest push for Manon to become an entrepreneur?
  • How did Manon find customer validation for Magioni pizzas?
  • How did she find her first investors for Magioni?
  • How did Manon expand to the UK?
  • What are her tips for young startup entrepreneurs?

Manon van Essen - Founder @Magioni

Manon van Essen is a successful Dutch entrepreneur, founder of Magioni - a pizza company with a difference. Manon started her career with the development of an app & website called 'Print Personal'. After selling 'Print Personal', she started a new journey with Magioni -  aimed at making guilt-free pizzas widely accessible.

Key Highlights:

01:23 - Manon - “I always wanted to accomplish a lot. So for me, my town was too small and I wanted to go over the whole world. But the first stop was Amsterdam because my parents were like - OK, this is far enough for now.”

11:20 - Manon - “ I just decided that I will be trying out 10 pizza recipes every day. So I did it in my kitchen every day. I still have a photo of the first pizza I made, because it looked hideous. But I thought, OK, I can sell this one day. I really believed in this concept.”

14:59 - Manon - “So I was working in a pizzeria every day and I told everybody that this is going to be a really big pizza brand one day. And of course, they joked about me all the time.” 

24:45 - Manon - “I just wanted to do whatever it takes to make it successful. So I would go through over time and wait for the [Albert Heijn] category manager and ask - ‘Can you give me one hour to convince you? They refused me so many times. But then, in the end, they said- ‘OK, this girl, she's not going to stop until she gets her way.’”

38:26 - Manon - “Now Dr. Oetker with another competitor wanted to buy Magioni all at the same time. And I thought - how many times in your life is that a possibility - several parties fighting for your company?

40:47 - Manon - “Eventually, I think, you need to step back in order to grow. That’s what I really learned from scaling Magioni.”

44:04 - Manon - “In the end, it only took one producer at Albert Heijn who said ‘I will produce 10 samples’. But what if they didn't do that? The story wouldn’t be like it is today”.

55:25 - Manon - “If you haven’t tried something 30 times before succeeding, you didn’t try enough”.


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