How did you, Dhruv Sood and Husein Rahemtulla come up with the concept for Fresh Prep?
I can’t take credit, the idea of starting a meal kit with pre-prepped ingredients was Husein and Dhruv’s. When I came aboard in March 2015, we jumped right in to creating and selling our meal kits. Of course, our product evolved over time into what it is today. There was a lot of trial and error – we had to settle on different menu rotations, balance of meat vs. vegetarian dishes and gluten/dairy free options. We also had to figure out where our food was going to come from. We wanted to create a meal kit with the best ingredients that we ourselves wanted to have delivered to our homes. Finding balance between cost, quality, taste and health was at the forefront of every decision. Most of my friends, family and community use Fresh Prep, so I feel responsible to bring our very best work to their tables and the tables of our clients.
How has the company grown since you started?
We’ve grown from a small juice shop in Kitsilano where we were prepping meal kits out of the back to a large commercial facility. We started with just the three of us, and now we have over 100 employees. Our original delivery zone has expanded from Vancouver proper to as far north as Squamish, as far south as the U.S. border and as far east as Abbotsford. We’ve expanded our menu to include more new options weekly, and to include more plant-based and vegetarian dishes. I could go on forever. When I look back at all the amazing milestones that our team has managed to accomplish in only three years, it blows my mind!
In what ways has your role changed during that time?
I’m responsible for overseeing/creating the menu, and the purchasing and sourcing of ingredients. As we’ve grown the job has evolved quite a bit. When we started, I made one new menu item a week out of my kitchen at home and now I’m responsible for bringing a menu of eight dishes every week to thousands of people across the Lower Mainland.
What was your response when you found out about your Women of Distinction Award nomination in the category of entrepreneurship and innovation?
I was very honoured, especially when I got to see the list of nominees and how much they’ve accomplished. To be named among these amazing women makes me very proud and humbled. I can highly recommend that everyone go check out all of the other nominees at ywcavan.org.
What would you say to other women who are considering striking out on their own?
Stop saying someday and just figure it out and do it today. There really is no time like to present. It’s scary to leave a comfortable job or a steady paycheque. I couldn’t see myself 20 years down the road grinding away at a job that I didn’t enjoy, so I made a change for myself to improve my well-being. I’ve never regretted my decision for a second. This is a really challenging career, but I find myself more motivated, fulfilled and I have more energy for every aspect of my life.