Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kieran Alkerton, Founder of Crisper, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Crisper is Canada's sustainable meal kit, delivering fresh ingredients and delicious recipes in 100% reusable packaging that we retrieve from customers' doorsteps. Our mission is to fill up plates, not the planet, by providing deliciously nutritious meal kits and convenient service without the cost to the environment. Our approach to sustainability is also our niche. Each environmental issue (plastic waste, plant-based diet, carbon emissions, etc.) that we address has a growing community of people who use their consumer power to effect change by supporting companies whose products are in line with their values and avoiding those that don't.
Tell us about yourself
I launched Crisper in January 2021, but the journey began in the spring of 2020 when I was out of work during the first wave of the pandemic. I was looking for something meaningful to do with my time, so I started volunteering with a food bank, and it was there that I came up with the idea for a zero-waste meal kit. One day I was sorting through donations received from a major meal kit company. While I appreciated their charitable spirit, I was shocked at the amount of plastic waste generated by the single-use packaging in their products. I decided there had to be a better way, so I started developing the concept of a reusable packaging system. Six months later, Crisper was born. I'm motivated by a desire to build up the circular economy and demonstrate that we can have great products and convenient services without creating mountains of waste that will outlive us.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
The moment I felt the most accomplished was after realizing that between the customers, the amazing team, and the systems we built to make everything run smoothly, the business had acquired a life of its own. In the early days, it felt like Crisper would only continue to exist through my own round-the-clock labour, care, and sheer force of will. My biggest accomplishment is pushing through that phase.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
For me personally, the hardest part of being a business owner is setting boundaries. I want to say yes to every customer request, to every local business collaboration, to every idea for expanding or improving our product, and I'm not very good at knowing when to say no.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Work on something you care about or that interests you. For me, at least, a mission that went beyond just selling stuff was essential to my motivation.
- There's an app or software for everything, and many of them have free versions!
- Measure and predict your costs meticulously so that you can control them.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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