Growing up as a competitive figure skater meant diet and nutrition were always of vital importance to Heather Wilgar. She had been turned on to The Zone diet but found it quite difficult to manage all the weighing and measuring of the ingredients.
When she heard about a New York delivery service that delivered a day’s worth of meals to your door each morning, she knew she had to start something similar in Toronto. She had long envisioned starting a business with her brother, Mike and so roped him into this new venture.
She was 26 and Mike 22 and they found that there were so many things they didn’t know but quickly had to learn. Fortunately they realized that without the aid of professionals, they could have been headed for trouble.
“At the end of our third day of operation, Mike and I were in tears with an uncomfortable heavy feeling, we felt completely overwhelmed with the enormity of what we had undertaken.” shares Heather.
For almost the first year of operation, they did the overnight deliveries They would be out until 5am and back in the office at 9am each day.
After the first two months of operation their original chef decided that this form of cooking was not for him. But they reconnected with an old friend with a catering business who took over food preparation.
This freed up their time. But it was not until they hired a courier service to handle the overnight deliveries that Heather and Mike were able to live a slightly more normal life.
“We never stopped to look at what we had created, we always thought of it as not far enough along, not enough clients, not enough money in the bank, not enough…… “ observed Heather.
Today she runs the company on her own with the assistance of a virtual assistant that handles all of the administration and sign up of new clients. She’s let the courier service go and retained private drivers, with one lead driver who co-ordinates everyone.
The company has been featured on many health television shows in all the main newspaper publications in Toronto as well as magazine articles. This unpaid advertising is extremely helpful for business.
Heather also sends out a monthly newsletter each month to previous clients to keep them informed of the new things that are happening. This tactic has been quite successful, because as she observes, it is much easier to win back a previous client than constantly having to attract brand new clients. She also has exclusive contracts with sports clubs organizations and corporate concierge services that all promote her service.
“I cannot even begin to explain how dramatically this experience has impacted my life, and I cannot paint an overly glamorous picture either of what an entrepreneur actually does – which is everything.”
“We’re on the right track now, but it took a lot of work and a lot of help from others to get to the company to where it is now. I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything, and I love being an entrepreneur and running my own operation. The long hours are so much more gratifying when you are the boss!!”