Like every young girl, getting a good education was a priority for Aba. So gaining admission into the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), was not only a dream come through but an opportunity for her to fulfil a long held ambition. An idea many like her would have paused, thought about but dismissed.
This is because for many, a university education means a white collar job but from the very onset, Aba saw a problem and immediately sought to find a solution, regardless of how odd it seemed at the time.
Her mother was a trader in the market and so she saw at firsthand how goods moved from retailer to customer but she also noticed something else. Many of her mother’s customers – mostly women - rushed in from work or even home to catch the fresh produce before they run out.
She noticed the stress many of these women, especially the corporate executives and other professionals alike, had to go through every market day and decided to find a solution to the problem.
How about delivery service to save these women the trouble, and maybe do the shopping for them so they don’t have to rush in like they always did?
She thought to herself.
She knew the exact problem she wanted to solve but she needed a push and that precisely is what her university education would bring her, she later found.
Her Advertising lecturer, Yaw Odame Gyewu is known for his exceptional teaching skills. He delivered his theory lessons to perfection and the practical lessons lit great minds like Aba’s. That year – 2015 - Mr Gyewu’s course work required that all students prepare an advertising campaign for a company of their choice.
That set Aba on the right footing.
“Prior to that, we had prepared an advertising brief and my colleagues were using big brands like Nestle, Coca Cola and the likes but I decided to rebrand what my mother does, introducing a delivery service,” she recounted.
It was as if it had all been planned by the lecturer and there wasn’t a better time to birth the idea she had carried for a long time. By the time her four-year stay at GIJ was over, she was set to begin her own delivery business and with her mother in mind, she established Foodstuff Home.
Tapping into the technological trend, Aba and her team at Foodstuff Home take via phone or social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp, orders from various working-class women who, due to their demanding schedules, are unable to always go to the market themselves.
In a day she receives close to 10 orders. With a next day delivery policy, she and her team attend to each request with adequacy and speed in order that the produce does not lose their freshness before reaching the customers.
Foodstuff Home also, as part of their unique services, make foodstuff hampers for special occasions such as Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day and birthdays, among others. They also prepare hampers for specific dishes; like the fufu hamper which contains cassava, plantain, snails, dry fish, fresh tomatoes, fresh onions, tin tomatoes, salmon or any other ingredient which suits the customer’s taste.
Similar to other businesses, Foodstuff Home came with its own challenges. While people welcomed the change and quickly made use of her services, others were – typical of Ghanaians - skeptical about the venture.
They struggled to come to terms with the fact that it was possible for someone to do their shopping for them, get them exactly what was requested at no extra expense.
However, as word spread, things took a quick turn with female corporate executives gradually gaining an understanding of the possibility of killing two birds with one stone; delivering on their responsibilities and still being able to prepare a meal for themselves and their families without the usual hustle.
Regardless of these challenges, Aba is incredibly content at the progress made so far and cannot wait to see it to a new level. She is not alone. To her many customers, she is a saviour.
”I work on weekends and I don’t know what I’d have done without Foodstuff Home. They do all my shopping when I cannot...all I do is send a list of the items I want and the next thing I know, a delivery guy is at my door. Now, I worry less when I have to be at work on weekends and cannot go to the market myself,” an excited Maame, a mother of two and a banker said.
Naa is a journalist who loves her food. But although she enjoys cooking and does it at the least chance she gets, her busy work schedule makes it almost impossible for her to go to the market so she relies on Foodstuff Home to supply all her ingredients.
“I don’t even want to go to the market anymore. Why should I bother when Foodstuff Home will provide everything I need? And they do it really well, the packaging and delivery and the produce are always fresh,” the excited Naa said in a conversation.
Linda – not her real name – is a mother of three, while she has weekends off from work and could afford a market visit but she prefers to have her shopping done by Foodstuff Home.
She disagrees that her decision not to go to the market makes her lazy because for her, “I can use that time to clean the house and it also helps me to spend some quality moments with my husband and children.
“In fact, my husband hates the idea of me going to the market. Now he prepares the list himself and then I’ll send it for them to do the shopping. Life is easy. Foodstuff Home is really helping some of us a lot.”
Testimonies like these and the many more Aba receives from her customers, encourage her to expand the business to other regions in the country.
“We have had a lot of calls from Kumasi and Takoradi. We are encouraging everyone to come on board because we are open for business.”
In the meantime, however, she is glad to have been able to turn her mother’s business around, no matter how little.