Name: Andrea Rizvi
Business / Location: Boomerang Bites / Hoboken, New Jersey
Specialty: Boomerang Bites is an artisanal bakery on a mission. We make delicious all-natural baked goods from traditional Australian recipes and unique ingredients. Our aim is twofold - to share our love of our ‘yummo’ Aussie treats, and to serve as a platform for giving back to the local communities where our products are sold.
What problem does your business solve?: Boomerang Bites offers customers a unique, intensely flavored, bite-sized alternative to traditional cookies, brownies and cupcakes. Our bites come in a range of distinct Aussie flavors – like our chewy golden oat, crisp raspberry coconut, gooey chocolate caramel and sticky date caramel. Each bite is sized to go perfectly as a small treat with a cup of coffee, or if like most of us, you can’t decide on just one flavor, they are small enough for you to enjoy them all!
What makes your business unique?: In addition to our unique product - bite sized Aussie baked goods - Boomerang Bites is passionate about our give back. We donate 20% of our profits to local charities that our customers designate. We like to think of it as ‘boomerang goodness’ - because we all know, goodness is just like a boomerang…. it always returns.
What’s your story?: Like my baked goods, I am a transplant from the Land Down Under. I first arrived in America 20 years ago and built a career in international aid and development, met my husband and built a family. Though I love the US, I missed the treats from my childhood in Australia. As my four boys grew older, I started baking some of my favorite recipes for them, their friends and their families. The response was overwhelmingly positive. I knew I needed to share these special treats, but in a way that not only benefited taste buds, but that also helped serve those in our communities who are in need. Boomerang Bites was born in 2017 to do just this. Not only do these delicious fresh-baked treats offer a slice of Australia, but they are “goodness that gives back”.
One piece of advice you have for other food entrepreneurs: Just do it! It’s easy to be overwhelmed by what you don’t know when you are starting out. Though I have always loved baking, I was not a professionally-trained baker, and had always worked in the non-profit sector. I initially let this intimidate me. But it’s amazing what you can learn if you just try.
What do you wish you had known before you started your business?: I think the hardest thing when starting a business is to understand what you don't know. There are so many things to learn - regulations, health and safety, e-commerce, marketing, packaging. Before launching I enrolled in a Hudson Kitchen Start-Up course which was really useful in getting an overview of the range and types of issues that I needed to consider in starting my business. It not only helped me avoid some of the more common missteps, but it connected me to others at similar stages of their business development.
What’s your greatest challenge in your business and how are you overcoming it?: I wish I was more savvy with social media as it so integral to most new business development today. At Boomerang Bites it’s definitely still a work in progress!
What are you most proud of about your business?: I am proud of our product and our mission. Prior to launching Boomerang Bites I put a lot of effort into recipe development to make sure the bites tasted and looked great, and were sized just right. I am really proud of how they turned out and can't wait to share them more broadly. Mostly though I am proud to operate a business with a social conscience - one that treats its employees, customers and community with respect and kindness.
What do you love most about being a food entrepreneur? Though the work can be overwhelming, I love the freedom and creativity that comes with building a business. It would be hard to ever go back to an office job!
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