Chris and I grew up together as best friends in Fremont, California. His parents were great cooks – at any given gathering of friends, they would prepare delicious spreads of home-cooked food for us, and we would stuff ourselves silly. We’ve always had easy access to amazing food.
After high school, we both went our separate ways Chris, in search of warmer weather and authentic tacos, got a degree in Biology from UC San Diego. And, taking the obvious and logical next step, he moved back to San Francisco to pursue a career in design. He’s worked for Salesforce as a user experience designer ever since, and currently manages a talented team of designers there.
I, on the other hand, masochistically chose to go to school in the rural, freezing Northeast. After graduating from Middlebury College with a degree in mathematics, I followed my dad’s advice and started a career in business consulting for nearly three years. I learned the hard way that corporate culture just isn’t for me. I wanted to accomplish something more meaningful and interesting, so I spent some time working in apparel companies, startups, and apparel startups.
We have both harbored a strong desire to contribute to issues of social justice and equality, but we hadn’t taken the leap to steer our professional efforts in that direction. Recently, though, we got serious and began researching systemic poverty issues in our city, hoping to tackle them with the optimism, ingenuity, and vigor we see so regularly around us in San Francisco. With memories of Chris’ parents and their home-cooked hospitality in our minds, we decided that we wanted to dig into issues of food access – and Loaves was born.
The mission of Loaves is to improve food access and build healthier food habits in low-income communities. To achieve this, we’re developing a low-cost meal kit subscription service designed specifically for low-income families and individuals. The meals are extremely easy to cook at home – we prep and portion the ingredients and pair them with very simple recipes to demystify the whole cooking experience. The meals take less than 30 minutes from unpacking the ingredients to serving the food and utilize simple cooking methods and equipment.
We’re hoping the impact of our product extends beyond bellies and kitchens. Because food is such a big part of people’s social, economic, and family lives, we hope that by simplifying the weekly grocery buying process and removing the need to think about meal planning, we can have a positive and sizeable impact on people’s focus on work, parenting, and play.
We’ve recently completed a successful test run with eleven customers in San Francisco, and are planning to build sustainable local operations to more fully serve the community. Specifically, we’re working on getting more permanent kitchen space and equipment, building the technological and operational backbone for our company, and developing deeper relationships with our community. If we succeed locally, we’d love to expand, first to other parts of the Bay Area, and hopefully later beyond to other major metropolitan areas.
We plan on using the full loan on some of our necessary start-up costs, which include administrative/legal costs ($1k), kitchen equipment ($4k), kitchen space ($1.5k), marketing/technology ($3.5k), and raw ingredients ($4+k). We’re hoping these costs will fund our first 3 months of operations, during which we’re projecting $16,000 in revenue, which will provide some cash flow to fund our future operations. This loan will quite literally enable us to continue pursuing our vision of impact.