The Interview Series: 012 - Alexandra Littaye, France
Alexandra Littaye is the founder of Azure, the first distributor of a Mexican superfood made of blue corn called pinole. Azure is dedicated to sourcing corn from indigenous farmers, lifting them out of poverty and contributing the preservation of their cultural practices and Mexico’s rich agro-biodiversity. Azure launching their products on Amazon in the new year and gearing for the sales of the first energy bites made of pinole in Spring in Mexico and the UK. Alexandra was inspired to create her start-up after finishing her PhD at Oxford University. Since, she has worked at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment as a Development and Research Associate. In a previous life, she lectured in the Middle East on philosophy.
What does your Company do? /What is your Project about?
We sell a traditional Mexican food product made of blue corn called pinole. We also manufacture energy food out of it.
Why are you doing this, what is driving you?
Our aim is to plug in indigenous communities into the global economy whilst producing a healthy, tasty and exciting product for our customers. In doing so, we want to redefining Fair Trade, not as a redistributive system, but as a means for sharing the means of production.
What is your background? How did you end up doing this?
I started as an academic. My PhD was focused on understanding the networks between Mexican farmers and immigrant workers in the USA. This is where I saw an opportunity to create a project that would address the issue of rural poverty and illegal migration.
What does success look like?
Ending illegal migration in the village I work with, and having our brand recognised as a premium, quality and trustworthy company.
What is your biggest challenge that you have to overcome to make your company/project a success?
Working hand in hand with producers, earning their trust.
Do you have time to do anything else? What do you do outside work to keep sane?
I still have time to engage in personal artistic projects and being part of a peer-to-peer support group in Mexico.
What would be your biggest tip to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Failure is a learning opportunity. Fail fast and embrace it. Your ideas are only learning to become reality each and every time.
And finally… what keeps you awake at night?
Packaging issues... If only I could get rid of packaging all together!