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Thanks for your feedback, Linda, and welcome to the Union! Many thanks for backing us - we really appreciate it. I'm so glad that you feel included in the ongoing progress, as that was exactly the intent. From the word go, Union has been a team effort, and that's how the Kickstarter project has been run. We intend to keep updating our backers after the Kickstarter has ended, as we figure that you'd all like to see how your donations are being invested. Also, we think we'd kind of miss you all! Thanks again - we are so very happy.
I am busy multitasking, working from home, making soup (curried pumpkin) and catching up on your progress to date via your friendly and informative email updates. They really make me feel part of the project-which is great as I live way down on the South coast of the Uk and sadly not likely in the near future to be able to try out any of your delicious sounding soups... However I am delighted to be a backer and have everything crossed (except my eyes) that you reach your stretch goals. I especially love the bike modification idea-genius!!
Brilliant Philip. Next time you're in Edinburgh come in wearing your shirt and give us the magic phrase "God soup?" and your soup is on us. (Not literally, that would be messy.)
got not god sorry*
I am from the US and backed this project after reading these comments. You guys seem to have a great business plan and I have high hopes for your future. Also If I get out to the Edinburgh area again while traveling I will make sure to wear my shirt in just for fun. ^_^
Glad this god backed and is still growing!
Delighted to finally back this project. Can't speak highly enough about the quality of the soup, the delightful and friendly staff and the business ethos behind Union of Genius. Tell as many people as you can and help them to hit their target in the last few days.
A fabulous description of how you currently do business and how you see that working in the future.
Caroline - thanks very much. I'm totally amazed by the support we've received and that just inspires me further.
Just read the comments below - so inspiring to see that it can be done!! Thank you for all your hard work, your down to earth and carefully considered ethics, and of course your soup :-)
As a further comment:
Claie's comment about business growth versus ethics chimes strongly with the way I feel about business and communities. We've all seen businesses start with loudly-proclaimed credentials, only for that business to seemingly drift away from those principles once they get beyond a certain size. I do not want that to happen to Union of Genius. I agree that if in future years there is a demand for our food outside Edinburgh it makes sense for the business to grow, but the model of that expansion would have to be carefully considered. Expansion doesn't have to be from a large central hub with associated distribution. Expansion could mean lots of linked, but self-directed, Union of Genius kitchens, each providing foods for their local areas using supplies which are local to that area.
I am a big believer in local solutions for local situations. I am certainly not looking to turn Union into a national company - but if that happens, waaaay down the line, I'd like it to grow as a network of linked community-supporting businesses. It's vital to what we do that we support other local businesses - for example, in our Edinburgh cafe our breads are baked daily a mile from our shop; our coffee is roasted in the city; our chocolates come from Edinburgh chocolatiers; our cakes are from two fabulous Edinburgh independents, and our compost collection scheme is based on a farm in the Pentlands. That supporting network is what makes Union of Genius special - and any growth into other cities would need to form a similar network local to the new city.
That's how I see Union of Genius developing. It's a more 'organic' growth model than expanding a business to make money as the primary objective. It's what I belive, and I just hope that this doesn't come across as a bit cheesy! Elaine
Claire: Hi Claire thanks very much for your really important question. We would not have opened up if we were not convinced we could trade in a way that minimised the environmental impact. The same goes for wholesale. We'll continue using bicycle deliveries in Edinburgh and we are also investing in a people's utility project cargo bike from Glasgow bike station that is made completely of recycled bikes (http://www.thebikestation.org.uk/cargo-bikes/). This has enabled us to avoid buying a van. Looking further ahead, we would like one day to be able to make our soups available outside of Edinburgh but only if we can find a way that is consistent with our principles. We are doing well enough that we do not need to grow for the sake of growing. So we will only expand if we can find a way to do it which focuses on sustainability, local sourcing and respect for the environment.
I just pledged some money via Kickstarter but feel the need for reassurance about continual business growth vs small is beautiful. For example, will you have to scale down your environmental credentials when you expand? For example, it might start to become difficult to carry out all deliveries by bicycle. What happens if you get orders from further afield?