Genevieve Lee is the founder of handmade food company The Edible Co. The mum-to-be and ex-video producer crafts food without preservatives, additives and ingredients—as she calls it—that her mama wouldn’t put into their food.
Read about her story.
Good food for good people
The Edible Co, a unique handmade food business based in Singapore, serves an assortment of healthful granola and snacks. They believe in ‘providing good food for good people’. Before starting their online shop in 2014, Genevieve had experimented with a dozen granola recipes meant not only to taste good, but also avoid the excessive sugar common in store-bought food.
Today, The Edible Co operates out of its brick and mortar store and kitchen, in addition to its e-commerce portal. Its shelves are lined with granola ranging from exotic flavors such as Coconut Gula Melaka (a variation of palm sugar) and Wolfberry & Ginger to Cacao & Roselle and more. Their handmade products have also made their way into several local food joints and restaurants.
Founded out of love for family
The Edible Co’s roots can be traced back to 2004, when Genevieve was caring for her dad post-heart surgery. To avoid the unhealthy ingredients in store-bought foods, she started preparing foods and sauces from scratch at home. One thing her dad loves is eating breakfast cereal throughout the day. So she started hand-making granola without high sugar content to feed him.
For Christmas, Genevieve boxed up her granola as gifts to friends and loved ones. When she kept receiving refill requests, she knew she was onto something. She took the dive after persuasion from her parents, and gave up her previous life as a freelance video producer to take on her passion project full-time.
Educating clients, building efficiency
One of her biggest challenges is that Granola is hard to sell in a country where it isn’t a common breakfast staple. Many mistake it for oats. As she makes her rounds in markets and food joints, Genevieve has had to explain its differences to oats and its nutritional benefits, and the education process has been steady.
Running a food business in Singapore is costly due to the high costs of manpower and rental, along with regulations and licensing. To reduce the need for long opening hours, Genevieve encourages her customers to purchase items online, which are then delivered by courier. But having her own space and kitchen has been worth the cost, helping her business be more productive. She’d previously rented kitchen spaces by blocks of hours throughout the day, where she had to transport bags of heavy ingredients every time.
Family at the centre
Genevieve’s family has been a part of the business since early days, providing help on equal parts with business decisions and operations. Genevieve even remembers the days her parents spent portioning granola into bags and sticking labels.
In addition to being the inspiration, her dad and family were also the ones who encouraged Genevieve to take her handcrafted foods to the public.
Her family is also the centre of her focus. Throughout the week, Genevieve fluctuates her work day to carve out pockets of time with her husband, a chef who works different odd-hour shifts. And The Edible Co is closed on the weekends, when Genevieve takes time out for her family.
Along with the steady increase of orders, Genevieve is looking to expand her two-woman operation to include a business partner, someone passionate who’s ready to roll up their sleeves and build the brand together. She’s confident they’ll be able to pull together the necessary financing for growth.
Genevieve has a 5-year goal of setting up a food factory, albeit with a caveat that her ideal workplace might be a challenge to put together.
“I have this image in my head of how the kitchen would look like. It’s just rows of people, sitting around this work table and chatting. Everyone is making and packing granola by hand. A little kampong in a food factory.”
This Edible Co would be a second family to her, feeding people the way they would their loved ones.