Meet Michele Cipollone
Founder of Mama Nature Life and our August 2020 Pre-Accelerator attendee.
Thinking of connecting with Michele? “If you know of anyone who would like to improve their diet – or simply not want to have to worry about shopping, cooking and cleaning – please encourage them to write to me. I am also looking to expand the team, particularly with people in logistics, marketing or finance.”
“I’ve been freelancing as a Service Designer for the last 3 years.
I mainly helped startups/businesses better define their value proposition and in doing that, improved their product/service. I not only facilitated the development of their strategies, but also created websites, apps, user interfaces, user experiences, usability tests and so on. After some time in this role, I wanted to build something that would have a big impact and was closer to my heart.”
Q1: Could you introduce YOUR STARTUP, MAMA NATURE LIFE, to us?
Michele: Mama Nature Life is a life-science/food-tech startup that saves time, improves long-term health and boosts the energy levels of very busy professionals (founders, investors, freelancers…) by improving their diet.
However, our services go beyond the simple creation of a diet. We aim to transform the lifestyle of our users by providing them with the support of a dietician specialised on the specific needs and objectives. We provide ready-to-eat gourmet meals for all their week while informing them on why the food is good for them.
How it began:
In January 2020, I started Mama Nature Life after making lifestyle changes from a year of burnout. I had spent my previous year working like a mad person, prioritising work over my health. This was when my physical and mental health hit rock-bottom –– and I recognised it was time for a change.
Extensive research helped me find that “simple” changes in my diet and daily routines could greatly improve my mental and physical wellbeing.
The transformational effects were evident after a few months and my family and friends started coming to me for advice. I was glad to help but along the way realised that not everyone can afford to spend a lot of time planning, sourcing food and preparing meals.
I saw the problem amongst my flatmates who are very busy professionals (a founder and a lead design manager). As a test, I offered to plan and prep their meals, on the condition that they would eat plant-based. They probably agreed only because I am not a terrible chef.
Towards the end of the test, they were so happy that they wanted to pay me. That was when I realised that many people out there need the same kind of support and their willingness to pay for it. That day I started working on the Mama Nature Life and never looked back.
Q2: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR EXPERIENCES WHILST BUILDING YOUR STARTUP?
Michele: Building a business is a crazy rollercoaster. You never quite know if you are going towards the right direction. You always need plenty of energy and willpower to keep going and learn as much as you can at every test that you win or fail.
I guess the secret of being able to start a business is finding a problem you deeply care about –– and you think is worth years of your life to resolve. I seriously doubt anyone could build a product/service capable of changing the lives of people for better, if they solely care about money or themselves.
On a personal level, working on my startup had the perks of being the first to test everything we do, hence I had the chance to see myself into becoming more fit, health-conscious, happy and confident. And of course, I ate a lot of delicious food. 🙂
Q3: WHAT PARTS OF our Pre-Accelerator DID YOU FIND HELPFUL FOR the development of E-DRAMA?
Michele: The programme has been very helpful in re-assessing the work I’ve done previously, receiving feedback on the current work and in connecting with people to learn more about aspects for which I have limited competence in.
As a Service Designer, I was very familiar with the [UX/UI] tools you covered, but I got new exposure to the ones used for marketing and business. Those were very insightful and inspiring.