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Help us build a bigger, better kitchen so that we can develop new soup and bring more soup to Edinburgh and beyond.
160 backers pledged £13,651 to help bring this project to life.

About

Union of Genius: you need more soup project video thumbnail
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£13,651

160

Last day!

Suspended soups: As of Monday lunchtime we are on 440 suspended soups. From now until  the evening every new pledge adds a suspended soup to the total. Can we make it to 450? 

Still some great rewards left; check out the "soup party" an exclusive hire of the cafe for an evening for up to 6 people for just £120. 

Care Van Upgrade Stretch Goal: £12,500. Succeeded  

We have now increased the amount of free soup we provide to the Care Van to 150 litres per month in perpetuity.

So what's this all about then?

In October 2011, I opened a small soup-cafe in Edinburgh with just me and one part-timer. Three and a half years later, Amy’s still here but now we employ 11 people helping us to supply over 30 cafes plus our own cafe and Dumbo the soup van with handmade, hand-finished, small-batch soup. 

Now a chance to expand has come up and I need your help to make my dream a reality:

  • to supply soup across Edinburgh in the greenest way I know: by bicycle
  • to train and employ more people in producing what we have been told is the “best soup in Scotland” 
  • and to develop our soup for retail sale in local delis and grocers. 
Beetroot and pink pepper soup
Beetroot and pink pepper soup

We have outgrown our current kitchen. Instead of moving into new premises a very rare chance has come up. A few weeks ago our next-door neighbours moved out, and our landlord has offered the empty unit to us provided we move in straight away. 

We don’t have much time to get the money together. We can raise most of it ourselves but we need help to get all the way. So we’re turning to you to help us take soup to the next level. 

What we're hoping to spend the money on is:

Walk-in cold room: this is a 2m by 4m walk-in facility. Working with a local engineer we're reclaiming a disused coldroom and installing it.

New blast chiller. We need a third to ensure that all soup can be chilled within a short time.

Upgrading the space to meet with health and safety specifications plus installing three-phase power. 

As you can see, there's a lot of work to be done but it if we get funded we can get started immediately so we're ready for the autumn.

Build it and they will soup
Build it and they will soup

Sharing the soupy love

For us a key part of Kickstarter is to be able to give back to both our backers and the community in which we live and work. Thanks to some very generous early backers who have pledged for more than their reward we have been able to add suspended soups into this campaign. 
  • If the Kickstarter succeeds, for each backer who pledges we will add suspended soup to the total. 
What this means is that for each pledge, no matter what the amount, will provide one free suspended soup meal to someone who needs it. So if, for example, you pledge for a soupon then you get a soup of your choice and so does a homeless person in Edinburgh.

We have been running a suspended soup scheme for a while. It is based on an Italian community tradition called caffè sospeso where a person who can afford it puts some coins into a pot to pay for a coffee for someone later on who needs one but can't afford it. You can find out more at wikipedia. We think that this kind of activity is the type of grass roots movement that can achieve great things through simple actions. 

When we were growing up, soup was always the thing you shared with neighbours. As Union has grown we have been able to give more back in return. Which leads me onto the next bit...

Why Kickstarter?

We thought long and hard about this because we never expected to do any more Kickstarters. But the last one enabled us to do much, much more than we expected.

In just two years, thanks in large part to the Kickstarter we have:  

  • increased the independent cafes we supply from 10 to over 30;
  • donated 3,000 litres of soup for free to the Edinburgh Care Van for homeless people in Edinburgh since April 2013;
  • started a suspended coffee and soup scheme to provide free soup and coffee for those that need it;
  • helped The Real Junk Food project get established in Edinburgh by providing our cafe free of charge on Sundays so that they can offer intercepted food on a pay as you feel basis for their pop-up;
  • diverted tonnes of waste from landfill through using Vegware compostable packaging exclusively 
  • established a low-carbon delivery system for our soups using our custom made electric cargo bike 
  • and taken our soup on the road with Dumbo, our classic Citroen soup van. 
Rewards will be fulfilled from Dumbo too.
Rewards will be fulfilled from Dumbo too.

All about soup

Our aim has always been “to make soup the star of the show.” That means every single one of our soups is made by hand from just the ingredients you can get in the grocers. We don’t use pre-mixes and we don’t thicken with flour, so most of our soups are naturally gluten-free. 

We believe the secret to great soup is giving it time to meld. We make our soups the day before and leave them chilling overnight so that the different flavours can mingle. Like a good Scotch whisky, a soup needs time to mature. The next day, the soup is tasted, seasoned and adjusted and doesn’t leave the kitchen until the soupmonger in charge is completely happy with it. It's time consuming and demand but we think it's worth it.
To whet your appetite, here's some of what's on the menu this week
  • Potage Crecy: a classic French spring carrot soup
  • Celtic Kelpie: chicken with almond, kale and dulse (seaweed)
  • Dan Dan Noodle: Szechuan-spiced pork and peanut noodle soup
  • Chorizo y adobo: sweet potato and chorizo soup with adobo spicing 
  • The Soup of Ezo the Bride: a hearty, vegan paprika broth with bulgar wheat and mint.
It can meld in your mouth too.
It can meld in your mouth too.

Growing the right way

Since day one I have thought that it must be possible to grow a business in a way that nurtures the place it lives in, the environment in breathes in and the people who work there. For that reason we have been a zero waste business from the outset and have always paid attention to ways to minimise our carbon footprint. We have focused on giving back where ever we can and ensuring that the jobs we create are high quality and worthwhile. One of my goals over the next 12 months is to become accredited as a living wage employer (we're very close now) as well as employing and training new recruits.

We have done this by working to grow in a way that is sustainable, responsible and ethical. This is also why we are turning to Kickstarter to help fund our new kitchen development. Rather than paying interest to a bank, we are using our own profits and (hopefully!) the Kickstarter to ensure that the money we raise is reinvested not just in the business but in our customers and the wider community through the suspended soup pledge.

All about Kickstarter

Crowd-funding is much better-known these days. Rather than paying interest to the banks, the idea is that you invest in us and we thank you with rewards from the product you helped us make. 

The thing about Kickstarter is that it is all or nothing. If we don't raise at least £10,000 we get nothing and you get to keep your money. We don't have long to do this - just 25 days - so it's a lot to ask for. That said, these last three years have shown us that there is demand for high-quality, locally-made, delicious soup. We've been fortunate to work with great companies, lovely customers and a wonderfully supportive network of friends we've made since we opened our doors. 

We're ready to take soup to the next level. We hope you can help us.

Rewards

Here's some extra info about some of the rewards we are offering. 
  • Suspended soup. For every pledge, even a £1 pledge for no reward, we will add a suspended soup to the total. We're hoping, if the Kickstarter succeeds, to raise over 400 suspended soups this way. Each suspended soup is one free soup and bread for someone in need.
  • Soupon. You can choose any soup, salad or even Dumbo’s vegan chilli from the menu for free when you come to Dumbo or the cafe. Like all pledges we will add a suspended soup to this reward so it’s one soup for you and one for one of Edinburgh's homeless. 
  • Suspended Soupon. If you choose to suspend your soupon we will match it 1 for 1. What's more we will add the usual suspended soup to every pledge. To give you an idea of what this means: 1 suspended soupon = 3 suspended soups; a suspended soupy dozen = 25 suspended soups; a suspended silver soupon = 105 suspended soups. 
  • t-shirt and tea-towel. This features a lino-cut image of a "soup deity" by Mattysloe: soupmonger and artist in the same style as his vegetable deities. Check out the avocado deity.
Avocado deity
Avocado deity
  • Picnic time. You can choose any soup or salad for this. You could even pick up your kit from the cafe and take it to Dumbo for a vegan chilli. Plus you get bread, fruit (or a snack) and a soft drink as well as the jute bag and soup pod to keep. As this is a Kickstarter reward you can choose any soft drink from the chiller: I recommend the Elderflower presse. And of course like all pledges, we’ll add a suspended soup to the board. 
  • The soup party. In this reward you get a use of the cafe for an evening or Sunday afternoon. We’ll design a menu for you and your friends. It doesn’t have to be just soup; we do a wide range of meals, salads and all sorts of tasty treats. You’ll get at least a 3 course meal and soft drinks. You can even BYOB and BYOMusic if you like. Fewer than 6 of you? We’ll add some extras we think you’ll very much enjoy and ensure that you get an unusual night out to remember. 
Dumbo at Montgomery Street Park Street Fair
Dumbo at Montgomery Street Park Street Fair
  • The soup comes to you. We have catered for weddings and events on Dumbo many times. What we’ll do is work with you to create a special menu for a special event. To give you an idea of the kind of thing we could do; here is a menu we have just designed for an event with 80 adults and 20 children. 
  • Lamb tagine with almond and date, served with harissa flatbreads and corn couscous
  • Moroccan-spiced corn couscous with roast butternut and goat's cheese salad
  • Paprika chicken with roast cherry tomatoes, green beans and spelt salad
  • Vegan chilli served with grated cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips
  • We'll be going all out to ensure that we make this a very special event for you.
  • The ultimate. As well as all the rewards this is also your chance, if you wish, to become involved with us behind the scenes. Some of you may remember the “soup maestro” reward from the last Kickstarter. Our maestro comes and goes as he wants; helps us with business ideas and is involved in our planning. He continues to be a great friend to us. We hope, if someone wishes to become our khaleesi that you will want to be involved in helping us grow in the right way. 
Jute bag, soup pod and example picnic items
Jute bag, soup pod and example picnic items

Notes and queries

If you have any questions, just ask. Here's a few things you might want to know.

Suspended soupons. We run a suspended soup scheme so if you would like to suspend your soupon we will match it one-for-one. This is in addition to the suspended soup offered for each pledge.

Adding together rewards. If you want to mix and match various rewards the way to do it is to pledge enough to cover them all and let us know. If the project succeeds we will double check with the survey.

Changed your mind? You can increase, decrease or even cancel your pledge right up to the last minute.

Got a great idea? Let us know. During our last Kickstarter we added a  rewards based on backer suggestions so please don't be backwards in coming forwards.

If you would like to know more about us please check out our website or say hello on Twitter and Facebook.

Thanks!

  • To Brendan MacNeill for the video and photographs good enough to eat.
  • To Dan Pugsley for composing the music for us.
  • To Amy, Sarah and Jani for their hard work in putting this together.
  • To Dan W. for some amazing eyebrow acting.
  • To Rob Clark and Cassie Mayo for being lovely customers.
  • To Danielle Ellis for truly sterling support
  • To Blythe Robertson for general awesomeness
  • To the backers of our last Kickstarter for showing such faith in us.
  • And to YOU, lovely you, for reading all the way to the bottom. We love you all but we love YOU the best.

Risks and challenges

We have set this project up to minimise the risks. The unit we are leasing is in shell condition and there are no planning objections to its use. We have over three years worth of successful trading behind us and the rewards will be met through the cafe and Dumbo. If you back us you know you will be able to receive your rewards. We successfully delivered our last Kickstarter and have learned how to simplify rewards to reduce the risk delay: I'm looking at you, t-shirts. There is always the risk of unforeseen circumstances but there is a team of 3 of us working on this Kickstarter and plenty of other resources to apply it if needed.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £5 or more About US$ 6

    Soupporter. Thanks for backing us and being a supporter. We will put your name on our website and Facebook page as a big thank you. This is added to all rewards no matter how big or small. We love you all.

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    9 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £10 or more About US$ 12

    Soupon! Have a free soup on us. We will email you a PDF soupon with a unique Kickstarter code that is good for one free standard or large soup before the end of 2016. It is good for sit in or take away at the cafe or Dumbo the soup van.

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    31 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £15 or more About US$ 18

    Recipe collection. As a thanks for supporting us we will send you a PDF collection of 5 brand new recipes we have never before published. We'll poll you for your favourites but expect to see such new favourites as Armenian lentil and Peruvian quinoa chowder.

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    25 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £15 or more About US$ 18

    Soup deity tea-towel. A high quality cotton tea-towel with the same soup deity print as the t-shirt. You can dry your dishes with a divine command (or some wiping.) Shipping is free in the UK or an extra £3 worldwide.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    7 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £28 or more About US$ 34

    Soupmongering t-shirt. Get your soup on in style in a custom made t-shirt with a unique design. We will be revealing the design options during the kickstarter. This ships for free in the UK. You will need to add £5 postage for anywhere else in the world.

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    8 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £30 or more About US$ 36

    Picnic time! Come to the cafe to pick up a jute bag, soup pod (see the pics below), and one of our picnic bag deals (soup/salad, bread, fruit and soft drink.) Then head off for a picnic and keep your goodies to remember the lazy, hazy days of Edinburgh summers. This doesn't ship because soup doesn't post well.

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    17 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £40 or more About US$ 48

    The soupmonger’s share. We will make you 6 litres of soup in two different flavours of your choice. That is to say 3 litres of one soup and 3 litres of another. This is enough for 18 people. We will send you a list of at least 60 different soups to choose from and agree a date with you. You will need to collect it from either the cafe or the kitchen because soup doesn’t post well.

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    10 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £40 or more About US$ 48

    All the kit! You get a t-shirt, jute bag, soup pod and recipe collection. You can be soup styling anywhere in the world.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    17 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £100 or more About US$ 121

    The soupy dozen. Twelve soupons for twelve free standard or large soups. Use them when you like, how you like. Once a month or go soup-mad with 11 friends and have them at all once. It's your soup.

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    4 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge £120 or more About US$ 145

    Soup party like it's 1999. You and up to five friends get your own personal soup party in the cafe one evening during the week or one Sunday. We'll design a menu based on your preference. You get at least three different soups, matching sides and your own personal soupmonger for the event.

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    Limited 3 backers
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge £170 or more About US$ 206

    The silver soupon! Free soup once a week for a year. Yes, you did read that right. We will email you a PDF soupon with a unique Kickstarter code that is good for one free standard or large soup of your choice every week for a year. It is good for sit in or take away, and you can use it at the cafe or on Dumbo.

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    Limited 6 backers
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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge £500 or more About US$ 604

    A wholesale lot of soup. 200 litres of soup for £500. You're going to need a bigger fridge. Seriously, this reward is for commercial retailers only. If you sell soup for a living from a location within our delivery area or have a way to pick it up then we'll provide the soup as part of our normal deliveries over a period of weeks that suits your needs. We'll even provide a t-shirt so one of your staff can be an official soup deity.

    This reward is primarily for our current customers. If you don't currently sell our soup, talk to us first before pledging because you may fall within an exclusion zone of a current customer.
    Start date of this is July 7th onwards.

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    Limited 3 backers
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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge £550 or more About US$ 665

    The Golden soupon! Free soup everyday for a year. You get one of just four remaining Golden Soupons that entitles you to a free standard or large soup every day we’re open for a whole year. It is good for sit in or take away, and you can use it at the cafe or on Dumbo.

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    Limited 1 backer
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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge £800 or more About US$ 967

    The Lifetime soupon. As a thanks for your amazingly generous support we give you free soup for life! Surely you can’t be serious? Well we are and don’t call us Shirley. You get a unique soupon which entitles you to a free soup of any size (even a bread bowl) at Union of Genius cafe or Dumbo the soup van once a week for the rest of your life. It really is that simple. What's more, as an extra thank you we'll add the "all the kit" reward to this tier as well.

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    Limited 1 backer
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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge £1,000 or more About US$ 1,209

    The soup comes to you. For those of you with lots of friends, a real love for soup or with something to celebrate, we will bring Dumbo, our soup van, to you for a soup feast. We'll bring enough for 100 people and put out the bunting. You and 99 others get to tuck into a selection of soups of your choice plus a few extra treats as well. Perfect for weddings, socials and graduations. There will be some restrictions on dates and Dumbo doesn't really like to travel more than about 30 miles from Edinburgh so do get in touch for more information.

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    Limited 0 backers
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  16. Select this reward

    Pledge £2,000 or more About US$ 2,418

    The ULTIMATE. This is the big one. We can only offer one of these. Your soup is free whenever you visit plus you get 2 lots of "all the kit", 1 soupy dozen to share with your friends, (you'll have lots of friends), 2 lots of the soupmonger's share, 2 soup parties, and if you ever need a lift in Dumbo or a hug, we'll see what we can do.

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    Limited 0 backers
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  17. Reward no longer available

    Pledge £50 or more About US$ 60

    Early Bird catches the soup. Simply put you get 6 soupons and we add the recipe collection (£15) for free. The soupons will be ready for use by August with the collection by October.

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    Reward no longer available 5 backers
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Funding period

- (24 days)