Milla is a 25-year-old woman who, disenchanted with her PR job working for Louis Vuitton in London moved to Barcelona. She had two ideas. One, was to be a purveyor of Spanish fare, championing the small producer. (something like Épices Shira, or Diaspora Co I imagine) The other was this: a vegetarian lunch service, delivered around Barcelona: Milla’s Lunch Barcelona.
She went with option two. Although if you ask her, she will shrug and flick at her fringe and say it just sort of happened. She says that a lot. And says she’s lucky it’s gone so well. Not the disingenuous self-deprecating tendency that so much of Instagram and today’s psyche is filled with (#blessed #grateful). But a genuine belief that is all a bit of a coincidence. That it all snowballed in the right direction as if by magic.
But Milla is 25 and I am 43. I know one thing, a little bit of the good stuff in life is serendipity but the major part, let’s call it 90% is the hard graft you put in.
At some point, she tells me that her model is beginning to be copied by others. I tell her not to worry, they will fall away, when they realize that making upwards of 70 lunches a day, delivering 1/3 yourself and coordinating two other bicycle riders to deliver the rest is not all it’s cracked up to be.
Milla started making lunches a year ago. In her small flat, a 6 floor walk up. I found her on Instagram and marveled at her stacked of lunches in the smallest of kitchens.
“How did you do it?” I asked.
“It was hard, sometimes I had to take 3 trips to carry up all the butternut squash because it was too heavy to take in one go,” she confessed. Always the smile, always the shrug that anyone would have done it.
She moved her operation to the Massa kitchens in Poble Sec when it got too big. And hired two cyclists in January. Now she is up to 70 lunches a day. 5€ each, going up to 6€ when her website goes live. She has help in the kitchen, her friend Pan de Madre but on the day that I am there Alex is filling in. About a month ago, Studio Kim redesigned her logo, it comes in a range of colours, shifting for every day of the week to reflect her changing salads. She’s finally found biodegradable containers she’s happy with. And was telling me about the new food delivery bags that she’s ordered and how she sees the branding going on.
“So how does the ordering work?”
“People DM me on Instagram. Then I jot them down in my notebook throughout the day and then transfer it to the excel document I have with the addresses in the evening.”
She shows me her notebook, names, and nicknames with ticks next to them.
“Where are the addresses?” I ask
“Oh in the google document.”
“Yes, but how do you know which name goes with which address?”
“Oh, I remember that. The hard thing is when as I am dishing out the lunches, I start getting messages from people asking if I can leave their’s with the shop downstairs or if actually, they can have two. That’s hectic.”
I see what she means, she is using her cracked iPhone to stream Bossanova and 70’s disco and every few minutes it plings to announce a DM.
“Try to make sure that every component is visible.” she reminds Alex before wiping her hands and showing her what she means.
I’ve met Milla 3 times previously but this is the first time I see her in action. I feel like I am watching the segment in the movie where the seemingly hapless protagonist sets up the building blocks of their future success. But of course they don’t know it yet, but you the viewer do and you want to say “Hey, I’ve seen you in the future and it all works out brilliantly for you!” That’s how I feel about Milla.
Milla’s Lunch Barcelona