FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS: A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
Historically, entrepreneurship has been male-dominated, but this is changing thanks to women like Klaudia Wiexelbaumer – one of the brains behind dinner kit delivery service UCOOK.
The child of entrepreneur parents, Wiexelbaumer experienced first-hand the challenges and rewards that come with this particular path. Wanting a profession as absorbing and fulfilling as those of her mother and father, she tried to transmute her lifelong passion for food into a culinary career. However after working in various food establishments locally and abroad, she soon came to realise that being a chef either in a restaurant or privately was not for her.
Desiring a platform in which to channel her passion for and knowledge of food and recipe creation, she seized the opportunity to team up with fellow foodies Christopher Verster Cohen and David Torr to create UCOOK in 2014.
UCOOK clients visit the website, select their desired dishes from one of three menus curated by some of the top chefs in the country and pick portion size. The UCOOK team then sources organic ingredients, accurately measures these and delivers them, along with their corresponding recipe cards, directly to the customer’s address for them to cook in the comfort of their own home.
Over the past six month alone, UCOOK has grown its customer base by 200%. Furthermore, after helping Capetonians cook healthy, gourmet meals easily over the past two years, UCOOK has recently been made available in Johannesburg, with plans to expand beyond South African borders in the pipeline. Wiexelbaumer attributes this success to having a product that is awesome enough that you yourself would use it, dynamic enough that it has legs to succeed and is accessed through a web platform that is slick and easy for the customer to use.
Challenges she has encountered as a business owner include keeping the systems and back-end skeleton of the business operating smoothly on a shoestring during the start-up’s fast-pace growth. She also has the daunting task of trying to please everyone by making sure that each week the menu is exciting and varied enough that it appeals to the palettes and culinary skills of an array of consumers.
These niggles are all made worthwhile when customers give positive feedback about the recipes and service. The UCOOK crew has received memorable compliments such as “Each recipe is more tasty than the one before, how do you do it?”, “You have turned me into the best housewife with your delicious meals, thank you” and “UCOOK’s success is seriously important to me, I won’t be able to live without it”. Wiexelbaumer shares, “I do not think that the novelty of the praise will ever wear off!”
Over the past two years she has learnt a number of valuable career lessons. “One of the most important lessons I have learnt is getting the everyday details right as this sets you apart from your competitors. Another crucial lesson when working with others is to be open to their ideas and visions even if you don’t agree. Most importantly, it’s that positivity is an extremely powerful tool.”
She advises other women wanting to achieve similar success to learn how to take criticism and turn it into a positive. Wiexelbaumer says, “Don’t get disheartened by the surprises along the way. Remain determined – this is the key ingredient to success for any entrepreneur!”