This week we met up with our founders to find out a little more on why they created our platform and marketplace.
So tell us why you started the Grocery List?
Amelia: We had just gone into lockdown and we were so gobsmacked about the panic buying that had happened and the slim pickings left in the supermarkets. My other half, Daniel, had been furloughed from his restaurant and he was chatting with other restaurateurs and suppliers in similar positions about the farcical situation. Suddenly people were batting around suggestions of alternatives; producers who usually supply directly to restaurants or smaller local shops that had amazing produce. I remember being really excited about it, and also really impressed that these businesses were thinking on their feet and adapting so fast to completely recreate themselves.
I was on the phone to Jess and said ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if you could help these little guys get out there?’ in a really flippant and somewhat wistful way. And Jess, who is never deterred or scared by an idea, just ran with it! She was full of clever concepts and strategies and ways that we could start helping immediately. She turned a little idea into a full-blown business over the course of a single conversation.
Jess: I jumped on it, she was airing this idea and saying that I should do it, and it was a bit of a lightning bolt moment. We could absolutely make this work and a conversation that had just started with Amelia saying I think you would be really good at something like this ended with a name and an Instagram handle and hasn’t stopped from there.
How did you find your suppliers?
Amelia: I was really lucky, with Daniel’s industry connections we were ordering from amazing fishmongers like The Upper Scale, or getting fruit and veg boxes, meat boxes and a LOT of wine delivered so I got to know some really great producers. But it’s really Jess who has done the legwork; she opened her address book and picked up the phone, determined to get everyone on board (and if you have come up against her when she is in a determined mood, good luck, she is a force of nature!).
Jess: I have been living in my neighbourhood for a long time and I know the local shops and suppliers so I already had a list at my fingertips, like Dean at Abingdon flowers. Also, as a butcher’s daughter I have always been really specific about the meat and produce that I use so I had some brilliant butchers and farms a little further afield who I was already familiar with.
Since then we have done a lot of research into like-minded brands and suppliers, we want to grow with people who have a similar mentality, and a similar obsession for exceptional produce. We are really lucky that our suppliers are all really lovely and open to new ideas and placing their trust in us.
Why food and produce?
Jess: Growing up, the family business began as a chain of butchers which evolved into supermarkets. I loved going into the stores; knowing the teams and their families and sneaking behind the counter to help serve customers was a highlight of my childhood. I also owned a small boutique hotel in Cape Town, and naturally chose to source and work with smaller suppliers and producers to bring the best of the region to my guests. I enjoy all things health & wellness (especially if it’s also delicious) so the idea of working with small suppliers to create The Grocery List really just clicked for me, I have worked in many avenues and loved many different roles but this one just has a little extra sparkle for me.
Amelia: My grandparents were farmers, my father a gardener and my mother a most spectacular and resourceful cook. I grew up eating fresh homegrown produce, getting milk from the dairy and making cakes and jams and juices so I have always been around it. One of the things I struggle with in a city is the constraints on getting your hands on authentic earthy produce so when I realised Jess was going to make The Grocery List a reality I was thrilled, it just felt really genuine and exciting!!!
Where do you want The Grocery List to go from here?
Jess: We are really ambitious; we want to be the ‘Net a Porter’ of Groceries. Our online shop is well on its way and we are working towards a comprehensive offering of absolutely beautiful quality produce across food and drink, household and health and wellness. We want our customers to turn to us for exceptional quality groceries day to day or subscribe to cleaning boxes or flower boxes monthly. We are also putting together clever combination boxes for special occasions. We want to really help the businesses we work with grow and flourish and we have our eyes on broader territory, and some actual events in person in the near future (Covid willing!).