FOR 25 years I would wake up at 4.30am every day and head into the heart of London.
Working in the financial markets I had travelled all over the world, I’d had some of the most amazing experiences and met some fabulous people but when the financial crisis hit in 2008, the job changed and so did I. It’s fair to say I’d well and truly lost my mojo, I’d lost my love for the job and I’d lost my drive. That wasn’t me!
Having always had an entrepreneurial streak and l liked the idea of setting up my own business. But with three small children that streak was fast becoming a distant memory.
Then in 2015 an opportunity for voluntary redundancy came along, and that burning desire to work for myself did too. It was now or never and I had to take the plunge. Petrified but ecstatic, I jumped. Now to establish exactly what it was that I wanted to do…
I took a couple of months out. I spent some very well deserved time with my wife and children – we’d never had the luxury of all eating breakfast together or eating dinner as a family in the evenings. I got involved with some voluntary work in our community, just to meet the people that had been my neighbours for so long, but I’d never had time to pass more than the time of day with them. I loved it. It really brought a new meaning to life. I truly realised what I’d been missing out on.
It was my elderly neighbour that was the pivotal point for me. Having spent some time with him, I realised just how lonely he was and that I could make a difference.
Having seen the Christmas Co-op advert on television and with my neighbour in the forefront of my mind On December 23 at 10.12pm I arrived home looking like a drowned rat but with a big smile on my face, my wife thought I’d been at the pub! I was meant to have popped to Tesco for a few essentials but had found myself chasing round the store filling my trolley with lots of goodies. My freshly filled bags I then delivered to my neighbour’s door, I knocked and ran. To this day he has no idea I left him that shopping, nor does he have any idea how grateful I am to him as he was my inspiration. He and the many others like him became my focus. I could make a difference and that’s exactly what I set out to do. Secret Hamper was born from the desire to help others.
I launched the business in the summer of 2016.
The initial concept was to deliver a box of essential items to family and friends, however the business has since evolved and many more innovative products are in the pipeline
Our current range covers
It’s our aim to become the home of random acts of kindness. The exciting part is that the business can work on so many different levels, we’re not just in the business of delivering hampers, we are in the business of creating memories, special moments and Superheroes. When you visit Secret Hamper we take you on a journey, the hamper is a tool to create the experience.
Sadly, we live in a chaotic world where there’s lots of people that suffer in silence or maybe some people just need a lift or a sign of appreciation, that’s where we step in.
I run the business with the help of my wife Andrea, we have three young children Gracie, nine, Isla, five, and Harry, three. Since our launch we have since sent out hundreds of hampers to people across the country.
Charity and supporting good causes is at the heart of what Secret Hamper do.
Since launching we have worked with and supported Brainwave, Hellen Rollason, Age UK, Danaher RSPCA centre, The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and Farleigh Hospice to name but a few.
Secret Hamper has been involved in the Farleigh Hospice £50 challenge coming out as the top fundraiser two years in a row raising over £10,000. We couldn’t have done this without the support of other local businesses who ‘sponsored’ an ad space on the Hampervan. In return we have helped over 200 businesses use this fundraising exercise to tell their own story via their social media channels.
Our ethos is to have a positive impact on someone’s life by performing a random act of kindness, so therefore it’s very important for us to follow this through and be proactive with charities and good causes. As the company grows we will set aside a percentage of our monthly profits to be donated to charities and good causes.
We recently ran a survey and 80% of people said that it was really important to them to perform a random act of kindness
Since we started the business has received backing and endorsements from a number of famous faces inducing business magnate Theo Paphitis, Star Wars star Mark Hamill and chef Rick Stein.
We’ve been really fortunate to meet lots of celebs over the last 18 months and can honestly say that everyone has been really accommodating and kind in their own way.
We’re sure it’s only a matter of time until we get Sir Richard Branson wearing one of our green Superhero masks, who knows we may be able to get him to wear one whilst we pitch!.
We’ve had some amazing things happen in the short time we have been trading, although it is hard to choose what we’re most proud about.
So many things have happened along the way
Watching someone with dementia get up out of their chair and start dancing in a care home we have delivered a Secret Hamper to, that’s pretty special.
Helping a businessman with the help of 27 other business surprise a team of 40 doctors and nurses at a local hospitals NeoNatal unit was special too. Imagine that happening all over the UK?!
On the business side I guess when we’ve been nominated for awards makes me feel proud and have a sense of achievement.
Also, being part of Theo Paphitis #SBS was amazing, that was pretty much at the start of our journey, which led to Theo buying a batch of our hampers and sending them to a children’s hospice on Valentines Day – it just goes to show anyone can embrace their inner superhero, no matter who you are.
I love seeing my children get involved in the business, especially my eldest daughter Gracie, who has attended a few events with me. It’s great to see her confidence and people skills grow, that makes me very proud.
In December 2016 we produced a parody Christmas advert inspired by the likes of John Lewis, Aldi and Amazon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maxgDgmgO6E
Since then we have been awarded the Maldon District Council Chairman’s Fast Track of the Year award, been a finalist in the FSB Start Up of the year for the East of England category and recently shortlisted for the Heart of Gold Award by The Small Awards.
We aim to refine the current offering, by buying local as much as we can, use artisan producers, introduce more ethical product lines, look at adding a subscription model to our Student Hamper range and most excitingly launch a digital version of Secret Hamper, Secret eHamper.
We have a large list of preferred partners where individuals or companies can send an e-voucher as a random act of kindness to a recipient at the touch of a button. This could see a disruption in the gifting market, imagine being able to complete the full gifting circle experience, involving the sender as much as the recipient, we don’t want to give too much away at the mo, but, it promises to be an amazing giving experience.
Did you know that digital vouchers represented 48% of gift voucher sales in 2017?
We intend on starting in the UK but moving forward there’s no reason why we couldn’t take it global, we feel the opportunity here is immense, the list of potential partners is endless. Any funds raised during the campaign will go towards us developing/extending our tangible range and would also help towards us developing our interactive app.
A thank you for believing in my pitch! Plus entry to a prize draw to win a Tiptree Gin
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10% discount on any of our hamper range Entry into a prize draw to win a Essex Hamper Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for your exclusive code
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10% discount on any of our hamper range plus a 'Taste of Essex' hamper delivered to your door or a recipient of your choice. Entry into a prize draw to win a days cookery course for two at former MasterChef finalist Ann Smart School of Cookery either in London or Essex Please contact email@example.com for your exclusive code
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10% lifetime discount on any of our hamper range. A locally sourced Essex hamper delivered to your door or a recipient of your choice. Entry into a prize draw to win his & hers adult Micro Scooters plus accessories Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for your exclusive code.
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10% lifetime discount on all our hamper range. An Essex hamper plus entry into a prize draw to visit Chapel Down Vineyard, the official supplier to No.10 Downing Street, for a tour of the vineyard and lunch for two at The Swan Restaurant Please contact email@example.com for your exclusive code
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