At Plantabulous, our staff of food professionals has dedicated their lives to bringing healthy and delicious food to the table. We are professional chefs, food entrepreneurs, registered dieticians, and vegan lifestyle experts. Our mission is to create globally inspired epicurean dishes for all food lovers: plant-based, flexitarian, and anyone that loves flavorful and satiating foods!
What have been your top challenges in the last couple of months?
My primary business these days is developing vegan entrees to go. After spending years in retail, I’m now in manufacturing and wholesaling. When I worked on the retail side of the industry, our motivation was always to try to develop new and interesting concepts and keep our customers coming in, be the trendsetter, and have new things.
Now, supermarkets are having trouble just doing what they do– doing the basics. They’re having trouble getting their deliveries and loading their shelves. So, the primary decision-makers are no longer interested in what’s new and exciting. I know many of the buyers and executives from my time in the industry— they’ll get me the meeting, but I can’t get the people that do the actual ‘boots on the ground’ to pull the trigger and buy my food.
What specific strategies have you employed?
Direct-to-consumer has been an important part of my pandemic pivot. Outdoor markets are popping up all over NYC called ‘urban space.’ Getting my product in one of these booths and being able to sell direct-to-consumer will help me overcome the distribution hassle that I’m facing with retail chains. I’m partnering with a kitchen that will allow us to prepare fresh foods and distribute them to these outdoor spaces throughout the city. Along with picking up meals in person, consumers will have the option to order online. Selling B2C gives me more flexibility and control and allows me to do what I love—preparing and selling fresh foods!
What framework have you used to overcome these challenges?
I’m very driven still like I was when I was 22. For the first time, I can say: you have to relax a little bit and not go nuts because these are just things that are really out of your control in this environment.
For six months, my factory shut down. The workers didn’t have childcare, so they couldn’t come to work, and I couldn’t get my stuff. I had orders, and it was like, Okay, there’s really nothing you can do. So, rather than freak out, I’m going to make moves, formulate new things, and use this time to innovate.
How do you see the Markaaz proposition helping you and your business?
Due to the difficulty that I’ve had working with large partners, I could see Markaaz coming in and being very useful in helping me find smaller, more agile partners to help me with the distribution. The problem with smaller partners is that I never know who to trust because there is limited information/reviews about them online. A service to help me confidently find and vet these suppliers would be crucial for speeding up my distribution process.
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