Esther Josiah is the founder of béllé-full and London’s leading Nigerian catering company Mrs J Foods. She answers 3 questions about béllé-full.
How did you come about the idea for béllé-full?
Prior to summer 2012 I was working full time as an IT Marketing Manager. I loved my job but as a mum I didn’t have enough time for everything. I found myself compromising on what my little family ate because I simply wasn’t able to create spare time in my very busy schedule to cook. As a big foodie and one that particularly loves West African food, this was very difficult for me. I started researching options online – possibly a website I could buy West African cooking ingredients thereby saving me some time over the weekend? Or maybe a reliable company I could easily buy ready prepared West African meals from online? I found nothing that was to the standard I was expecting, this was how the idea to start my own food business was born.
What next steps did you take?
I had no experience running a food business so I had to start from scratch. I had to understand how the business works, get myself trained up and acquire all the necessary qualifications required. Once I got all these sorted I started off by running an online shopping website I called My Afro Food Store. Customers could buy cooking ingredients on the site but I also offered a range of ready meals under the brand name Mrs J Foods… the ready meals proved to be hugely popular! Shortly after, we started getting inundated with catering requests from customers. Fast forward to early 2013, we had acquired our kitchen premises in Charlton and took on our first catering job. The event was very successful and the feedback was amazing!
We were still trading under the name of our ready meal products Mrs J Foods at the time and due to the amount of catering requests we were receiving we decided to focus the brand Mrs J Foods on catering, specialising in luxury West African and afro fusion food. Mrs J Foods continues to be a huge success catering at some of the finest venues in London including The Lanesborough, Knightsbridge and The Houses of Parliament to mention a few.
Despite the change in direction of the business we kept on receiving enquiries from clients looking to stock up their fridge / freezer for the week, and clients requiring food to entertain a few guests at home. This is why we decided to launch béllé-full, to easily cater to the needs of these clients. With Béllé-Full our customers can now easily place their order online – choose the dishes they’d like to order, pick their preferred delivery date, make payment online and sit back whilst we get their food ready to be delivered directly to their door across mainland UK.
What is your grand vision for béllé-full?
People are now more open to trying African food in the UK with London leading the way in this adoption. This interest is being fuelled by various amazing “foodpreneurs”, many of them previous city professionals who have decided to take the plunge and give it a go.
We are very excited to be a part of this African food revolution and our grand vision is to see béllé-full at the forefront of this change. We think every household needs to experience the goodness of jollof! 🙂