Heaven sent: Angel Delivery's journey to the top

Angel Delivery owner and entrepreneur Rebecca Cass caught the attention of a US operator – via Twitter.

Angel Delivery owner and entrepreneur Rebecca Cass caught the attention of a US operator – via Twitter.

rebecca cass angel delivery idealogRebecca Cass launched Baby Angel, a food delivery gift service to new parents, back in 2008. At the time she was working as a nurse specialising in pediatrics, neonates and maternity care, so she saw firsthand how many parents went home unprepared for the reality of raising a newborn, and how much simple gifts such as homemade food can make a difference.

Driven by consumer demand, the service broadened to include other targets, such as thank you gifts, birthdays, sick people and the grieving.

Now Angel Delivery has the US market in its crosshairs.

How did your partnership with US company The Fresh Diet come about?

I was doing some very basic market research on other similar business in other markets, prompted by continual requests from customers if I knew of other services like Baby Angel in Australia, London, America and so on. I began to wonder what would stop us from licensing to an operator in the USA, just like we license to an operator in New Zealand. Coincidentally it was around that time that [The Fresh Diet CEO] Zalmi [Duchman] found me on Twitter – he looked at my website and sent me a tweet saying ‘let’s talk business’. I was on a plane a week later.

Have you had much other business success via social media?

Social media has given me a world of opportunities. Literally. Prior to meeting Zalmi, social media allowed me to grow a small niche business, that serviced a high-end discretionary market in an economy that was retracting. It allowed me to build a loyal group of brand ambassadors who ‘spread the love’ of Baby Angel to their friends and family. I have had a marketing budget of $0 and social media allowed my business to grow.

What has been involved so far in terms of the practicalities around setting up in the US?

There have been numerous trips to the USA, our production manager for Angel Delivery has been to NYC and trained up the chefs, implemented production schedules and so on. We’ve put the Angel Delivery Quality Standard [ADQS] into the New York kitchen – which includes a HACCP [Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points] system. Our ADQS details everything around our production, packaging protocols, customer service, and includes an auditing protocol so we can identify any problems quickly.

The kitchen has been set up with all the necessary food packaging equipment and supporting collateral for the boxes, all our recipes have been translated into a US format for nutritional labeling and we’ve invested heavily in staff training. We’ve done everything from stock management and setting up ordering systems to baking huge volumes of ginger crunch and chicken pot pie.

How much time do you spend in New York now versus Wellington, and how’s the transition between the two?

I would say it’s currently 60/40 – 40 being New York, but that’s about to change to 80/20 – 80 being in USA. I usually spend three-week blocks in NYC – with two kids I miss them too much if I’m away any longer.

Could you see yourself eventually moving over there?

Yes, the more time I spend here, the more obvious this step is becoming.

Your website is stylish and on-brand – who did you get to do it and what did you brief them?

Luke Pierson from HeyDay Digital [www.heyday.co.nz]. The team there are great to work with and Luke has been working with me since day one. The brief for the current site was over a glass of wine and a couple of emails. The current website is stage one, we have a complex site currently under brief (the proper kind) that will manage the full operation of Angel Delivery global in New Zealand, USA and other countries as they come on board.

How do you retain the ‘Kiwi’ element to your business?

Everything about Angel Delivery, from the creative to the business strategy, has been made here in New Zealand and exported to the USA. I think the most gratifying thing of all is how receptive Americans have been to our Kiwi way of doing business, our approach and our philosophy – it’s incredibly exciting.