Welcome back to our Enterprise of the Week blog series! This week we spoke to Chris from The Perfectly Delicious Company. Perfectly Delicious hand-craft and deliver biscuits and cookies for business clients and corporate events across the East End of London, and Chris was happy to share some of his trading secrets with us…
What made you choose to operate a business from within Poplar (or the East End more generally)?
It was important to be local to where I lived, and to the businesses we see as our potential customer base – London and Canary Wharf have a high density of businesses, so a large potential market over quite a conveniently-sized area.
Also, I believe there is value in being local – the business can employ local people, and importantly, our customers know they are supporting a small local business and not a large corporate who is often based many miles away. It’s about everyone feeling connected and the business relationship being more personal.
Where did the idea to focus on handmade biscuits for events come from?
The idea evolved over many months and many conversations. I wanted to start a business around food, and I noticed that no one supplied genuine hand-made biscuits and shortbread into the corporate sector – everything is bland, tastes the same, and the textures are (in my opinion) often awful. I wanted to bring to the sophisticated business world the very biscuits I grew up with as a kid – simple ingredients, but full of flavour.
I remember watching my mother baking biscuits in her kitchen and then eating them warm from the oven – it is no surprise that our most in-demand flavours are unchanged from these very recipes, they simply conjure up the homely, authentic feel. As customers say to me, they can actually taste what they are eating. I’ve heard of one bank where their clients would empty any leftover biscuits straight into their suit pockets – that doesn’t happen with conventional, mass-produced biscuits! Even a slightly dearer biscuit is still a cheap way to do something different for your clients, giving them something that they can’t buy themselves.
What advice would you give to somebody wanting to set up a delivery business within the East End?
For me, my advice is to keep your customer-base as local as possible, making delivery cheaper and easier. Take charge of your own deliveries, couriers are very expensive and will threaten your profitability. You also need to invest in more expensive packaging if you are using a third-party to deliver your product, as they will not treat it with the same care that you will.
I deliver all my biscuits – I see it as me representing my business, and me being personally responsible for the product being delivered on-time and without damage. When I deliver, I wake at 3.30am – it is far easier to deliver early morning than throughout the day, so it’s worth the early start. Importantly, don’t over-commit – be honest about what you can do and what you can’t! As we do everything by hand, we have clear limitations on the quantities we can produce, so we will always be niche – but we are always up-front with potential customers about this, and we find that working together there is usually some sort of solution.
What’s your favourite type of biscuit?
Actually I eat very few biscuits, I guess I can’t afford to become addicted to them, not when I am around a few thousand freshly baked biscuits at any time! But if I had to choose, it’s our double-chocolate flavour, a dark biscuit and not sweet. Following that, we’ve recently created a vanilla biscuit with cherries and flaxseed through it, and that’s very popular.
We’ll be looking for new businesses to interview in the coming months so if you’re interested contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set something up. Make sure you’ve uploaded a free business listing with us though!