Name and company : Gini & Eccie Newton, Karma Cans
Website : www.karmacans.co.uk
Where are you based? : Hackney, London.
ND: Tell me a little bit about your business, what was the impetus to startup?
KC : We started Karma Cans as a hobby as we both shared a love of food. Having noticed that the lunch market in London is saturated with unhealthy, unsatisfying and unexciting options. It’s incredibly rare that you get more than 20 minutes to take a lunch break; who wants to dedicate that time to a queue at Tesco? Karma Cans was our solution. Inspired by the Indian delivery system in Mumbai (dabbawalla delivery) we have created something that brings joy back into your lunch break while simultaneously being as sustainable as possible.
ND : What was the inspiration to write your delicious looking cookbook, Raw Is More?
KC: Raw Is More explores the use of different flavours and how to use them in their simplest form, which is the most amazing and inventive way to make food. The raw elements possess an explosion of flavours and we really have to contemplate the combinations because food is often more punchy when it is uncooked. Our target market are people who do not necessarily have much time to cook and also hosts who prefer to spend time with their guests rather than at the hob.
I have friends who who have fallen in love with your food, what do you think makes Karma Cans special?
KC : Karma Can’s is special to our customers because we run it from the kitchen upwards. When we started we had no technical equipment, we had a useless website, Eccie and I did all the prep and the cooking as well as covering delivery too.
Even though we have grown the homemade aspect is still part of our foundation. Eccie still cooks our food everyday and together we spend time developing our menus and listening to our clients feedback.
Sustainability plays a big part in the ethos of your company, could you tell me more about your ethos and brand culture?
KC : To cut down on emissions and reduce our carbon footprint we deliver every meal by bike. The produce we use is sourced as locally and sustainably as possible. Mr Mackenna’s on Theobalds Road is our butcher, Billingsgate is where we get our fish from, and we avoid overfished and endangered species on the menus. No Tuna here…
A core part of our culture is eating together as a team every day. We do promote this tradition to the office teams we deliver to. Sustainability wise, our dream is to turn our kitchen into an eco paradise. We’d love to build a composter, solar powered kettle, use rainwater collectors and make our entire power supply green.
WhAT IS IT ABOUT sustainability THAT important to you both?
KC : We all have a choice, why would you not be sustainable? This is one of the most important choices of our generation and if we can create changes through our company then we are doing our part. We use cellulose instead of plastic for example, we are not preaching to our customers but they are being more ecological without even knowing.
What can we expect to see next from Karma Cans?
KC : Hopefully we can continue to win over the lunch market! Canary Wharf is the next location to add to our delivery service. Watch this space…
What is the best piece of advice you have been given with regards to running your business?
KC : Your team is incredibly important, without a strong team a business will struggle to grow. A a founder you try to do every role yourself, we now know that it is beneficial to look for an employee better then yourself, with different skills to bring to the team as you can only learn from them.
What has been the toughest decision you have had to make recently?
KC : Probably whether or not to take the risk and build a bigger kitchen. It was a great decision!
What do you do to stay active on such a busy work life?
KC : Eccie runs, running for her is how she clears her mind as well as cycling. Not only is cycling good exercise, but she feels like a greater part of her community on a bike rather then using public transport… in rush hour … the worst! I love walking, personally if I can walk back from a meeting in central there is nothing I enjoy more.
Many people only contemplate setting up their own business, what advice would you give to spark the catalyst?
KC : Do it! Even if it doesn’t work you learn so much from the experience it can only motivate you.