Recently you would have seen our extremely exciting collaboration with HelloFresh. For those of you who don’t know… HelloFresh is one of the most convenient ways to have not only your groceries but your dinner options delivered to you every week so you don’t even have to think about it! And we all know how much hbird.co LOVES convenience.
These insights from Tom are truly credible and very similar to hbird.co. He started packing the boxes in his Sydney kitchen, still questions his sanity and discusses the importance of balance. We think he has nailed it, don’t you?
Please tell us what you do & when you began?
I’m the CEO and Founder of HelloFresh Australia and launched the company in Australia in 2012.
How did you start? What were the big milestones?
I’ve always been involved in the start-up and small business sector. In 2011, I was a contestant on MasterChef and went on to start new businesses in the food-related field which provided the opportunity to come on as the founder of HelloFresh Australia.
There have been many milestones along the way: new product launches, new delivery areas, and customer records. Probably the biggest, or at least the most visible, is the recent commissioning of our new 9,500 square metre warehouse in Western Sydney. It’s a far cry from my kitchen in Sydney where our first box was packed.
What was the toughest part of the journey?
The toughest part is maintaining the sense of belief in the face of all the little hurdles that present themselves along the way. Some days you’re convinced you’re going to change the world and, on other days, you question your sanity. It’s this rollercoaster that anyone who has worked in start-up space can relate to. It’s certainly a tremendous adventure made all the better by the smart, committed people I’ve met and worked with along the way.
What did you do before this?
Previously I’ve managed a variety of start-up and small businesses including the development of a boutique wine company. Following my MasterChef luck, I founded a food delivery service which was one of the first Meal Kit services in Australia which lead to the opportunity to launch HelloFresh in Australia.
What top 3 things contribute to the success of the business?
- You need to have a customer-centric product – and one that you constantly iterate on by listening to what your customers want
- Discipline and focus – in all areas. This applies to the real operational things like keeping a lid on your costs as well as strategic topics like making sure you prioritise opportunities and don’t chase the next idea until you’re nailing your last one.
- Operational excellence. No point having a great concept if you can’t deliver on it.
What inspires you the most to do what you do?
This business is great because it’s at the intersection of two very interesting and relevant topics. Food is a topic that everyone loves and talks about. And eCommerce is highly relevant because of its ongoing transformative impact on the world we know. Being involved in something that is disrupting the status quo but with a really great subject matter is where I get my inspiration. I also love that this is a business in which boxes get put on trucks every week. I’ve always liked business with a physical product because there’s such a visible measure of what you’re doing.
What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
Don’t take yourself so seriously. Believe it or not, you don’t know everything!
Have you had a mentor or someone who has inspired you?
Yes. There have been a number of people who have helped me in work and life in a number of ways. The key to getting the most out of bright people who are willing to help is being willing to ask for help.
What is your go-to breakfast?
I’m pretty sure I drink more coffee than I should. That’s the only predictable fare in the mornings. I like to be quite opportunistic with the HelloFresh Test Kitchen only 10 metres from my desk. There’s always something delicious to sample by late morning which is worth holding out for.
Do you have any nutritional advice you swear by?
I am a big believer in everything in moderation. Having a little bit of what you like as part of a balanced diet is much more sustainable than an abstemious approach.
If you could have breakfast with any 5 people who would they be – dead or alive?
- Willie Nelson
- Antoni Gaudi
- David Brent (or Ricky Gervais if he can’t come)
- Winston Churchill
- Captain Cook
Do you have any morning time-saving tips for juggling a busy schedule, eating well, and staying healthy?
Establish a routine that enables you to cut down on decision making and spend more time enjoying your mornings whether that’s through exercising, working, or spending more time with the family.
To someone who has not heard of HelloFresh, how would you describe it?
The HelloFresh mission is to make it easy for everyday people to cook simple and nutritious food at home. By arming Australians with a quick, delicious, and easy recipe, and a box full of fresh ingredients to make it, you can say goodbye to unhealthy fast food and repetitive meals and rediscover the joys of convenient cooking.
What is happening for HelloFresh in the future?
Our aim is to reach more people with our product to make sure we can offer as much convenience, health, and value to as many Aussies as possible. In time, that may well include product extensions but for now, we’re focussed on more variety, more choice, and more flexibility with our existing meal kits.