This week Pozible made an exciting move in the Brisbane market and launched The Brisbane Edit – a dedicated page housing all the latest and greatest in Brisbane entrepreneurialism, innovation and creativity. With dedicated Programs (such as the Brisbane Residency in partnership with River City Labs) and curated Events (I’ve already registered my interest for the Bootstrapping a Food Business workshop) that promote and facilitate local projects and business ideas it is a fantastic opportunity for Brisbane start-ups to showcase their work and generate interest and support from the community.
Pozible itself only launched in 2010 (originally as Fundbreak) and was born from the idea of bringing a crowdsourcing/funding platform to Australia and the Asia Pacific region. Co-founders and directors Rick Chen and Alan Crabbe basically wanted to bring creative people together within an easy to navigate platform where projects and ideas could be pitched on a global scale. A ‘gateway for discovering and supporting inspirational projects and thinkers directly’ Pozible helps people raise the fund they need to get their ideas off the ground and rewards supporters based on their level of contribution. It’s truly an incredible concept and is a fantastic example of both entrepreneurialism and philanthropy.
The Brisbane Edit comes at a perfect time considering the dramatic rise in young creative minded people launching their own businesses and ventures. Just look at the girls behind Cocobliss or Kiss the Berry, local designer Molten Store and the young gun team killing it over at the FS Group. There is something in the water here that is driving people to take their dream and actually see it through to realisation with a strong will and determination to succeed.
As part of the launch this week I was fortunate enough to touch base with local Foodie, Chef and Nutrition Nut Sheldon Hikaiti for an interview. At an astonishing young age of 22 she has achieved what many take a lifetime to build and is the Director of her own catering and delivery business YummBox. Delivering healthy, organic meals to the Brisbane CBD and surrounding areas it was idea born out of “being stuck in the city without good food”. As a qualified chef and nutrition student with Think Education, Sheldon is now on Pozible (and of course featured on The Brisbane Edit page) to spread the organic, healthy lunch love to the whole of Brisbane. Hoping to raise enough funds to grow distribution, staff numbers and invest in marketing and equipment, a contribution will help this incredible project get another step closer to achieving its goal (and will of course guarantee a failsafe delicious lunch option made with locally sourced ingredients when you don’t have time to prepare your own).
Firstly, congratulations on launching a business at such a young age! Can you tell me more about your background? What made you decide a career in food was for you?
Thank you very much! I grew up around food, around fresh produce and massive feasts shared with family. I love being around food, from my first job at a local fruit store, then becoming a qualified chef, then starting with nutrition, YummBox just seemed like a natural progression for me.
Where does your passion come from?
My passion probably came from being around food for so long. I would probably relate it to the theory of “when creative people are around creative spaces/people, their creativity flows” – that’s me with food!
Are you Brisbane born and bred? What is it that you love about this city?
I was born in Stanthorpe, a small town South of Brisbane, that has gained most of its popularity from its fresh produce, livestock, wine, and its freezing temperatures. I may as well be “born and bred” – I love Brisbane! Having travelled around the world, experiencing different cities and cultures, there is something here that I just love. I think it is because we are a little behind in the food/fashion/trend scene, so you know that there is so much more growth to come.
Why do you think there was such a gap in the market when we have so much wonderful local produce?
I am not sure about the gap…I asked myself that every day when all I wanted was a healthy lunch. I think a contributing factor may be the gap between the suppliers and consumers. The market was so dominated by large chain shopping outlets, I think people forget that we can have produce that is from an actual farm! I think it is another one of those “the more you are around it, the more you want it” things. Thank goodness for all the farmers markets that are popping up at the moment!
When was the precise moment you decided to launch YummBox? What made you take that leap and turn your dream into a reality?
In all seriousness I was just lying in bed one night after thinking about starting my business, turned on my laptop and registered my company. I felt like if I did that, I would have to follow through and stop dreaming about it! I was sick of working in a job I really didn’t like, I noticed the gap in the market and went for it.
Where do you find your recipe inspiration? Do you regularly rotate your menu offerings based on seasonality of ingredients?
I get a lot of my inspiration from the produce that I can get my hands on. It is so seasonal, and weather dependant so it is constantly changing. I am constantly thinking about different meals that I can put together. I also keep an eye on social media, and what people are liking on there as well. Other sources are magazines, movies, books, colours, etc.
Are your kitchens based in the CBD? Do you have a team to assist you with the cooking and preparation process?
We work out of a special food business incubator called Wandering Cooks. At the moment I am doing all the cooking myself, because I am still in that stage where I am not ready to let anyone else do it yet! [laughs] I have a team of 2 other people working for me but when we have a busy day I get help to deliver.
What does an ‘average day’ look like for you?
An average day for me is waking up much earlier than humanly natural, cooking the meals, packaging them, running around and delivering and then heading home to start all my admin work (recipe research, emails, social media, website etc.), and finally crawling into bed ready to do it all over again the next day. It sounds full on and it was really hard to manage in the beginning especially with my weekend job, but I quickly learnt how to better time manage. I now even schedule in “me time”.
Apart from YummBox meals of course where is your favourite place in Brisbane for:
My favourite place for breakfast/brunch is a cafe near where I live called the Workshop Co. It isn’t organic, but has amazing food!
My favourite spot for coffee is a toss up between Two Trees Espresso in South Brisbane and a special Cold Pressed coffee from Blackmarket Mittens, which is a small business working out of the same kitchens as I do.
A delicious healthy meal?
I can’t go past Fundies! I don’t have much time to venture out during the week and source out new gems, so I tend to stick to the familiar.
What has been the biggest lesson you have learnt or obstacle you overcame throughout the whole process of launching your own business?
The biggest lesson I have learnt is in resilience. I have had so many highs and lows and there were so many times where I asked myself “what am I doing? Am I crazy!?”. But it is those moments that helped me take a step back, gather myself and think about all the other ways I can grow YummBox further.
You clearly have big plans for YummBox and congratulations on already achieving a great response on Pozible to help achieve these goals! Can you tell us what your future vision for YummBox is?
My future vision is to take YummBox Brisbane-wide – to be able to deliver to everyone, to make my way into cafes and most of all just to make healthy food easily accessible. I am hoping to use the resources I gain from the Pozible campaign to further grow my Pay It Forward program as well. Once I start making money, I will be able to allocate profit to the program.
What new and exciting things can we expect in the next year?
New exciting things coming include an omnivore friendly meat addition, cafe presence and a new Brisbane expansion!
Interview by Mimi Hyll