This week’s Vegan Business of the Week is Crateful & Co who provide the perfect gift hampers for your loved ones, and of course they’re all 100% cruelty free. The also cater to those with other dietary concerns with gluten and nut free hampers available.
Find out more about Crateful & Co here.
Tell us about Crateful, how long have you been vegan?
Crateful is a 100% vegan gift hamper company. Our signature hampers are presented in wooden crates, hence the name Crateful meaning ‘crates full’ of goodies!
I have been vegan for 6 years.
When did you get started and what inspired you?
Our story started back in early 2015 when my cat ran away. Our neighbour found her and I wanted to buy her a lovely vegan gift hamper to thank her. I got onto google and I couldn’t find anything like that, so I ended up making one myself. That was the first seed planted and Crateful kind of just sprouted from there. Initially, I thought it would be a really small scale venture, just little Perth deliveries, but then orders started piling in. I realised other people were looking for vegan gift hampers too. Suddenly, I was shipping to the eastern states, which was crazy and unexpected. My first Christmas, I was bumbling along, having no idea what I was doing. Now this will be our 5th Christmas in business, it’s more like a well-oiled machine these days though.
What challenges did you face when starting your business and now that it’s up and running?
I think one of the biggest challenges is that we are all the way over in Perth. The majority of our sales come from the eastern states. This is challenging because we have to get our products over there in one piece. We are also dealing with very delicate items, such as chocolate or wine so we want to avoid breakages or meltages. It’s tough because you are relying on third parties to make sure that things go to plan. Fortunately, we rarely have any mishaps!
Another challenge is the misconception that vegan food is weird or ‘fake’ or will taste funny, puts non-vegans off trying it. One of my friends sends a hamper to her family every year and they refuse to try any of the items just because they are vegan, even though most of what we send is jams and biscuits, which you would never even know are vegan.
It is wonderful to see such an explosion of vegan items available, but it can be challenging as a small business owner to compete with larger companies bringing out vegan gift hampers.
You guys are 100% vegan and also cater to gluten free and nut allergies, are most of your client’s vegan?
To be honest, most of our clients aren’t vegan! Most are non-vegan mums, dads, colleagues, family members, etc. It was a bit of a surprise to us initially, but it does make sense. To most non-vegans, looking for vegan stuff is a huge challenge. We take the guess work out of the shopping experience for the giver, and they can rest assured that they are sending something that can be 100% enjoyed. We initially started out just vegan but soon realised that there are other people not being looked after, so we branched in gluten free and nut free too.
Do you ever get people who don’t get it?
Yes, absolutely. I have had people say that committing to 100% vegan is going to limit us and it will never be successful. I have also lost a large corporate client because they wanted us to make the hampers vegetarian instead of vegan. We had to make the tough decision to stick our morals and turn down some lucrative business over the years.
Although now that veganism is becoming more mainstream most of the noise has faded out. I think I am very lucky, most of the feedback we get is overwhelmingly positive. The odd rude person on socials is about the worst we get!
What’s the best thing about running your business?
My favourite thing about running my business is that I get to see some of the best sides of humanity. My heart warms every time I read a little note from a daughter to a mother, or a husband to his wife and for a brief moment I get to share in someone’s special story.
I get to experience those few moments of pure joy when someone receives a gift they weren’t expecting. I have experienced happy tears, when someone’s going through a tough time and they get a little gift that lets them know that someone is thinking about them. I also get to pat so many dogs! You have to love your job when patting multiple dogs per day comes with the territory.
What would say is the ‘secret sauce’ that makes your business so special?
I think our secret sauce is that we really care about our customers. Everyone says that, I know, but it’s part of who we are. We are fortunate enough to have heaps of long-standing customers who purchase from us year after year. Some of them don’t even go on our website anymore to place an order, they just send us an email or give us a phone call and trust that we are going to make the perfect gift for the recipient.
Looking forward what does the future hold for Crateful?
For a few years now, I have wanted to expand and have a location in Melbourne. We have tossed up ideas over the years but at this stage nothing has panned out, logistically. It is something that is on the horizon when the time and opportunity is right. We have a few more immediate plans going into place next year so watch this space! 2020 is going to be a big one for us!
Anything else you would like to add?
Thank you, Australian Vegan Business Directory for taking the time to interview me. I would like to offer all your followers and members a special discount to our store to help them with their Christmas shopping! Enter AVB10 at the checkout to receive 10% off your next purchase at www.becrateful.com.au