SUZZIE HELFER Transforming mama mboga business

The quality of vegetables being consumed in urban towns and especially Nairobi city is wanting. Due to lack of options many city dwellers have at one time or another, contended

  • PublishedJune 29, 2017

The quality of vegetables being consumed in urban towns and especially Nairobi city is wanting. Due to lack of options many city dwellers have at one time or another, contended with buying vegetables that are not fresh.

In addition, most houses especially within urban centres lack enough space for a kitchen garden.

But Suzzie Helfer is saving many Nairobians from all this trouble by conveniently delivering fresh farm produce to their doorstep. She has also ventured in delivering home-cooked food to offices.

What inspired the start of Mboga Concierge?
I lived in a ranch in Nyeri where I always had fresh vegetables in my garden. Whatever farm produce i didn’t have i could access it from other farms and farmers’ market.

Visits to my home by my sisters from Nairobi were therefore opportunities to raid my farm and carry as much vegetables as possible back to the city.

When I relocated to Nairobi in 2011, I was forced to buy farm produce from different places, which always ended up being a frustrating exercise as I was spending a lot of money on little produce.

Furthermore, their quality was wanting. For instance, it was difficult to find big, leafy, fresh kales or spinach, big potatoes and crunchy carrots.

With time, I set up my garden and would supply my sisters with the fresh farm produce, which they loved and often commented how difficult it was to find similar produce in the market. This led to the start of Mboga Concierge.

I grow some of the farm produce in my garden but when the demand is big, I source directly from farmers. I ensure that what I get from other farmers is top quality.

How does the business work?
My business is very dependent on referrals, and so I ensure my clients are happy. In addition, I advertise on social media where I get word out about the business. My social media handle is Mboga Concierge.

I always put out a list of the farm produce available along with the prices as a general guideline of how much clients are likely to spend. Then I take orders from clients. Deliveries are done twice a week: Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Mine is a personalised service and so clients send me their shopping list and we agree on the drop-off point.

They pay a flat rate delivery fee of Ksh400 for all areas within my delivery radius, which are Waiyaki Way, Parklands, Westlands, Central Business District (CBD), Kilimani, Kileleshwa, Ngong Road, Mbagathi Way and Karen.

How does the office lunch deliveries work?
I love cooking and admit that I am a self-taught chef. I believe the vegetables and lunch deliveries go hand in hand as this is a food business and eating home-cooked food is always healthier than eating in restaurants.

I send out the week’s menu every Sunday. The menu is varied to give my clients a different experience and people can make their orders for the week.

On the days when I have to deliver food, I wake up early to prepare everything, as office lunches are three course meals made up of soup, the main dish and a vegetable or fruit salad.

I also love to bake and although I haven’t fully delved into the pastry business, I bake for my household and on request, for friends and clients.

What is most satisfying about your business?
I derive so much joy in seeing my customers happy with the vegetables and food I deliver. Even as the business expands, I intend to sustain the one-on-one kind of relationship I have with my clients.

For enquiries and to place an order call Suzie on 0712 013783

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