Global Grub | Walnut Creek, CA.
Global Grub is a simpler way to experience global cooking created by Carley Sheehy. Its global cooking kits allow anyone to make delicious global meals at home.
When did your start your business?
2012 (time flies!)
Who inspired you to start Global Grub?
Along my cooking journey, I was trying to recreate the cuisines I enjoyed during my travels abroad and in the wonderfully diverse Bay Area, but I found there were a lot of barriers. It was a scavenger hunt to get all the ingredients to recreate these recipes – I had to buy big quantities of uncommon ingredients that would go to waste if the recipe did not turn out correctly. But I loved getting a taste of another culture through cooking, learning and creating something from scratch that I was proud to share with my family. That’s when I knew there had to be a better way to remove the upfront hassles, so home cooks could focus on the fun experiential part. So I jumped ship from the corporate world to pursue my lifelong dream of starting my own business, and Global Grub was born.
“I’m incredibly grateful to be in a category that is thriving, between people craving new things to do at home and increased online sales in general.
— Carley Sheehy
What were some early challenges or roadblocks your business faced and how did you overcome them?
Production! In the very beginning, I was making each DIY kit myself at a commercial kitchen that I rented during off-hours, but when I got my first big wholesale order, I knew that I needed help in the form of a co-packer. It took me a while to find a good fit (as in 4 co-packers later!) I’ve realized the key to a good co-packer “marriage” is finding a partner that not only has the capabilities to produce your product, but is also the right size (not too big, not too small) for your current business and your projected growth.
How was your business doing before the pandemic?
Global Grub was going well, having just wrapped our most successful busy holiday season. I was in the middle of planning and innovation for 2020.
What effect did COVID have on your business in the beginning?
Unfortunately, my primary co-packer had to halt production of our products due to a skeleton crew that needed to focus on more “essential” business. Luckily, I occasionally use a secondary co-packer that has truly stepped up for us! The transition caused some delays, but business is back to “normal” now, *sigh of relief.*
How have you pivoted?
I’m incredibly grateful to be in a category that is thriving, between people craving new things to do at home and increased online sales in general. I’ve significantly increased production and inventory, and also shifted more efforts online to meet today’s customers.
What’s on the horizon for your business?
Currently, Global Grub is sold mostly wholesale, but there’s a huge opportunity to focus more on the direct-to-consumer side of the business. In the next 1-2 years, I’d like to continue to grow wholesale accounts, but significantly grow the website/online side of the business as well. I also have a lot of innovation ideas (my favorite thing to do!) that I’d like to pursue. All of this growth will require a team, and I look forward to being able to hire some good people to take this small business (me) to the next level. In 5 years, still figuring that out…
How has ICA helped you on your small business journey?
ICA has been an incredible partner that sincerely cares about the well-being and growth of my small business. With their impressive network, they have shared many connections and resources including experts to advise on specific topics and workshops to grow and learn.
What’s one piece of advice that you’ve really cherished?
I think we always have to be open to doing things differently and pivoting as needed, and more so than ever right now! I believe things work out the way they are supposed to; looking back, there have been many instances with my business when things didn’t go as planned and in the long run it worked out for the better. Also, I’ve learned time and time again, make sure you have multiple options! Right now, I’m extremely glad that I had another co-packer and alternative suppliers.
What do you need to succeed?
As a solo-preneur, I can only talk to myself so much, ha! Any advice, mentorship, and recommendations are always much appreciated. This is a hard business to be in and I know how important it is to constantly grow and evolve.
Buy online at globalgrub.com.
This article is one from a series of profiles featuring entrepreneurs from Cohort Five of the ICA Accelerator.
Read the other Cohort 5 stories: