Caprera: Jeremy Hibbert – Garibaldi
Realising that the difference between homemade and store-bought was 'love and laziness' at a young age, this entrepreneur was drawn to good food
Tell us what your business does:
Caprera.com is an online marketplace where people can buy great food and drink, lovingly made by independent producers throughout the UK. All you have to do is select the items you want and it all arrives in a single delivery.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
The idea for Caprera is something that had been with me for some time.
As a child, I would watch my father loving make pesto from scratch following an age-old family recipe. He used to claim that the difference between his and the store bought version was that you could taste the love in one and the laziness in the other. I do think that there is something to this.
The standard quality of food we have come to accept is shocking, especially when there are so many great producers across the UK. The core brand value of Caprera was that good food should be more easily accessible and with that in mind I went about finding a way to make it possible.
How did you know there was a market for it?
It’s not so much that we needed to check there was a market for what we wanted to do, as much as we needed to work out the best way to actually make it work.
Everywhere you look there is an increased demand for better quality food and drink but supermarkets are restricting this certain ranges.
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We knew that there was always going to be an audience out there for producers who love what they do and what they make; so, it was about building a central place where we could bring together great producers and consumers in one place.
What were you doing before starting up?
I have a law background and worked for years as a forensic investigator, focusing mainly on white-collar crime and corruption in Africa. It also involved working for few years as a consultant for a big food retail company.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes, but of course!
How did you raise the money?
The early investment has come from ‘love funding’: family and relatives.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
The model is structured so we take a percentage of sales generated through the platform. We have a great relationship with the producers we work with and part of this is down to the fact that we take a considerably smaller percentage than supermarkets.
We also have a b2b offering and currently sell directly to a number of bars and restaurants that have wanted to offer something a like bit better to their customers.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
We have had our fair share of traditional start-up challenges: funding, tech, logistic etc. It’s about perseverance.
We were absolutely convinced that what we were doing was something that would work it was just about finding the right shape. Once we had that everything else was detailed that were easy enough to iron out.
What was your first big breakthrough?
The feedback that we have had from people has all been resoundingly positive but the first time that we saw orders starting to come through was when I knew that the market fit was there.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Don’t be afraid to try different things. We have refined what Caprera is a few times and each time it’s got better and more streamlined.
It’s unlikely that your very first attempt at anything is going to be perfect so don’t be afraid to adjust what you are doing.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
It would be great to have got Caprera to the scale where we are able to really help producers of quality foods business grow significantly.
As I said the ethos of the company is to make good food accessible and the best way for us to do that is to grow to a point where we are able to support producers who are truly passionate about what they are doing.