Inspirational Woman: Valentina Fois | Founder, LELE’S

Valentina FoisValentina Fois is the Italian-born founder of popular Vegan café, LELE’S in stylish Hackney.

Valentina and her team at LELE’S offer an on-line shop selling all sorts of crazy popular treats including red velvet donutsafternoon teaBakewell tartsbrowniesbanana bread, hamper’s and award-winning vegan mixes. With all products hand-made by Valentina and her team in East London, LELE’S is committed to being cruelty-free and environmentally sustainable with recyclable packaging. 

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I am a vegan chef, I run a food company called LELE’S, we specialise in vegan baked goods. 

I used to be a contemporary art curator and a fashion designer, yep I am like a cat with 7 lives! 

You’re the founder of LELE’s – can you tell us a bit more about this and how it came about?

I started LELE’S after being inspired by the young food sellers I came across whilst working as Marketing Director for Pop Brixton. A loss in the family gave me a fresh perspective and the kick needed to make the move and LELE’S was born.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

I think we’ve faced more challenges than anything else, but the nice thing about a difficult situation is that sometimes the struggle can turn into a positive experience and lesson.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I think opening LELE’S with zero money and food knowledge and surviving the pandemic. 

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?  

My resilience – it runs in the family. 

Do you have any advice for our readers looking to start their own business? 

Be yourself and fight for your ideas but also be humble and ready to accept criticism. There is always something to learn.

If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry, what would it be and why?

I would like to see more inclusive spaces, a less toxic environment in the kitchen and better pay.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Wear those shorts! 

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

My goal is to show people that cooking vegan food is easy, inexpensive and delicious, they don’t have to miss out on anything by being vegan! 

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