We caught up with Managing Director of pioneering new brand Canape Box.co.uk fresh from their sampling at the recent UMA’s exclusively for Brand Weekly Magazine. Canapé Box is headed up by experienced private chef, Christopher Messum. He is supported by a team of chefs at the top of their game – all who work tirelessly to produce deliciously fresh canapés that are bound to leave a lasting impression.
Canapé Box is located in leafy Cadmore End, a scenic village in Buckinghamshire.
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly): Welcome Chris from Canape Box to Brand Weekly! How are you today?
Christopher Messum: Very good thanks, Sam
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly): Ok First let’s start with the past: So, what made you come up with a transparent price system for Canape Box as visible on your website?
Christopher Messum: Well, the product very much is just canapés, so we were trying to find a good start point for people who can recognise what they’re going to get, who can see what the product is and an easy system for them to purchase us really. To go straight in and they can see the prices and its simplicity.
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly): Exactly, it’s really good to be able to see the prices up-front especially nowadays?
Christopher Messum: Yeah it’s helpful – people need to know
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly): So, do you regularly compare yourself to other brand and are you quite competitive aswell?
Christopher Messum: For what we give, what we serve, the quality of what we serve, I believe we are competitive and I’ve had quite a few people actually mention ‘our good value’. So I think my prices match up.
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly): Yeah definitely, I think so! And of course, the name Canapé box is quite different isn’t it? So what inspired you to come up with this fantastic concept?
Christopher Messum: Well, I wanted to deliver canapés, and deliver them in a box, and I punched it into the old ‘find your domain name’ and it was still available- canapé box.co.uk; so there we are! Basically, we got it straight in and… easy peasey!
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly): Simple and sometimes is better to keep it simple, straight and easy especially for consumers who have so much options and sometimes so little time. That’s fantastic. How long has your company been going for?
Christopher Messum: Well this company, canapé box, would have been trading a year in July. So what’s that…15 months. We are certainly getting there! There is along way to go and lots to do!
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly): I’m sure! In the early stages of building your company, did you have any difficulties?
Christopher Messum: Well, the same difficulties anyone has in starting anything really. You’ve got sort-of natural hurdles of finance and getting packaging sorted out and delivering your first orders. Some very natural growth problems… but if you predominately work at it you’ll achieve whatever you want really!
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly): Growing up. Was getting into the food industry a dream and passion for you?
Christopher Messum: Well, food is the ultimate experience really! Food and wine and people and entertainment – that’s what everyone lives for. You do your work to enjoy life and food is so much part in the greater scheme of life. It’s certainly where your senses are and I remember loving eating and enjoying good food and wine when I was younger so yeah, I think it’s certainly part of one’s education all the way through really! I did a chefing diploma at the Leiths School of Food & Wine, and that’s a years diploma
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly): Ok right well that’s the past done with, now in the present obviously you just sampled at our Urban Music Awards. How was the experience for you ?
Christopher Messum: It was a great experience! It was good fun, busy place, and we shared a few of our canapés, and I think the people were receptive really. We got a great range of different ideas, and I think we just came along with a few tasty nibbles and people loved them!
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly): I agree, they were really good. Do you think events like the UMA’s are a great way to market your product?
Christopher Messum: Yes and I think as a marketing angle you need to have several different sorts of pillars in marketing, so one of them can definitely be promotional freebies and all that kind of thing, so yeah it’s definitely part of a bigger scheme of marketing and it’s always good to do.
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly): Any plans of exapanding CanapeBox.co.uk globally in the future?
Christopher Messum: Of course! I think we’ll stick with the UK in the immediate future, it would be great to try and get it into different countries certainly, you know, I think New York would be really cool. Just looking at the UK: different parts. Obviously London is the best of all. People know about canapés, people are prepared to pay for canapés. Certainly parts of Cheshire, around there, that’s a great angle we want to go to. And Edinburgh a little bit. It is quite a competitive market arena but we’ve got an interest in new products and new angles on how to do it and deliver it so, yeah. But canapé Box New York, sounds good to me!
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly): Are you happy with your business plan for Canape Box so far?
Christopher Messum : The business plan sees it as beyond a £million turnover, so that would be good to reach the business plan. But we’re trying to develop more ranges, and more ideas around the concept. Get people familiar and friendly with the idea of having canapés as well as bowl foods and platters and all that kind of thing delivered to them, so they can do it themselves, and they can break out of the straight forward ‘calling out a caterer’ mould, which would be great! But yeah, expansion into bigger arenas and also the trade side but that’s not quite the same as what you’re talking about.
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly): Ok well, what other sectors would you want to target?
Christopher Messum: Well we target quite a few sectors and people who help us with the business plan say we should just target one sector, but we do a lot of private stuff, we also do a lot of corporate stuff, law firms that kind of thing. But clubs & bars – big audience there. So yeah, stick to food for now and I think the actual canapé box thing is slightly adhered to the name and also what we do…but I think time will tell. As we get bigger we will have a lot more money to do things we can take on bigger projects and venture into different arenas.
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly): Yeah, because we were thinking about this earlier in the office and something like WineBox has a good ring to it! You know, something like VodkaBox!
Christopher Messum: PicnicBox! Yeah certainly, there’s things like little hampers or classy hampers for big fairs and parties, Henley & Ascott… and those are all good places to get into. We need to design the packaging and some really fancy canapés just for two, and that would be quite cool, so we can have a little signature box or something like that.
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly): That’s a brilliant idea and I could see that working.
Christopher Messum: Getting it planned…we’ve got a lot of energy going into new ideas in January/ February, once we’ve got Christmas out the way. So yeah, it’s a good thought!
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly) : We do a game on Brand Weekly, and it’s called Top 5. And basically it’s just for us to know the person behind the brand. SO! What is your Top 5 Brands of all time?
Christopher Messum: Well Virgin is probably the Ultimate brand, isn’t it? Those are pretty good. Crikey! I dunno! Holland & Holland? I’m just trying to think of things off the top of my head! Ferrari? It’s got to be a top luxury brand in a way. I’m never going to say anything like Coachella because they’re too corporate. I guess brands which are still small in a way…Ralph Lauren? I don’t know what else to say!
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly) : Top 5 TV Shows?
Christopher Messum: My wife catches me watching far too many of these reality TV shows.
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly): We’ve all been there!
Christopher Messum: It’s got to be ‘Have I Got News For You’. A little bit of the old critical satire.
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly): Gotta love it. Ok, try one closer to home…Top 5 food choices?
Christopher Messum: Top 5 Food choices! Oh, they’re all good beef – it’s got to be Hereford’s Great, aged well. Fish is a good thing, it’s very difficult to find really fresh. And scallops. What else have we got? Chorizo- delicious. Barbequeued…grilled in fact! Vegetables – Saffron! Scallops, I’ve said already.
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly) : And what about your Top 5 Food Chefs?
Christopher Messum: Well there’s a lot of chefs out there.. I would say Raymond Blanc is a classic, and going alongside him would be Michel Roux. Who else have we got here… Oh Ottelingi does some pretty cool stuff. Yeah! Those guys.
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly) : That’s great.
Christopher Messum: Heston Blumenthal is a bit sort of crazy. We do a lot of French stuff that’s well-skilled orientated, because I think you sort of move up from there really.
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly) : Yeah definitely
Christopher Messum: There’s a lot of good guys out there which we need to pay attention to: Reverchon, you know, people like Tom Keller.
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly): And finally, this is the last question . Your Top 5 Restaurants and it can be in the world.
Christopher Messum: Top 5 restaurants in the world: I would like to go to Noma, which is out in Scandinavia isn’t it, so that would be great, that’s top. The Waterside, I would love to go to. That would be amazing -3 star Michelin, down in Bray. Fat Duck I have actually managed to get into, once, which was great. I’m also going to probably say Le Gavroche, which is just…for the price, 2 star Michelin experience, I think it’s well worth seeing.
Samantha Jones (Brand Weekly): Well, thank you very much.
Christopher Messum: Lovely, thank you to all at Brand Weekly and IEG. Speak soon!