Yuppiechef: Story, Founders, Investors & Funding Rounds
Yuppiechef was founded in 2006 by two good friends, selling just 32 kitchen products online, from a lounge in Plumstead.
More than a decade (and more than a million cards and fridge magnets) later, nearly 275 of us are now working together to help our customers find more moments of joy in their homes.
The company has managed to achieve scalability and keep track of inventory and has avoided debilitating disruptions that plague Internet ventures, Galatis told about 400 delegates at the e-commerce conference on Wednesday (11 September).
They deliver the world’s best kitchen and home products to eight countries and offer that service free of charge in South Africa.
Yuppiechef is on a mission to bring people together through the cooking and sharing of good food.
They believe that preparing, cooking, and sharing a meal with good company is the very essence of what makes life good.
It is their dream to give you every excuse under the sun to organize that long-overdue get-together with those you love, and those you’d like to love more.
They also believe that using the right product for the right task can make everyone’s day a little bit better.
Mornings are more rewarding if they start with crafting a perfect cup of coffee, with beans that you’ve ground exactly right.
Meal prep is more satisfying when armed with a sharp and weighty chef’s knife that balances beautifully in your hand. And there’s relief and peace to be found when collapsing into crisp bed linen at the end of a too-long day.
That’s why they only sell products that they think have the power to make things a little happier — whether it’s because they add flavor, comfort, efficiency, expertise, or a little beauty to your home life.
Additionally, they are always hunting out exciting new kitchen and home finds locally and internationally, looking to inspire themselves and their customers, and growing their ranges.
From knives, appliances, and hard-to-find ingredients, to bedding, rugs, and furniture, they’ve sourced and tested the best quality they can find, from brands and makers that they love.
How it Works
Quality kitchen & homeware
They stock thousands of products from the world’s leading brands. From knives, cookware, and appliances, to bedding and bathroom accessories, furniture, and the finest ingredients; they’ve sourced, tried, and tested the best quality products they can find.
Safe and easy payments, with real humans to help
Paying on Yuppiechef.com is simple and secure and they deliver by courier throughout South Africa. Plus their dedicated customer support team is also here to help you every step of the way. Therefore, you’re in good hands.
Shop in one of our stores
Yuppiechef stores stock a range of their most admired brands, customer favorites, and their must-have items.
Touch and feel a product before buying it, get advice on the perfect tool for the job, and have someone show you how it works. And if it’s not in the store, they can still order it online and get it delivered to you.
You can also choose to shop online and collect in-store — whatever works best for you.
Spoil your fridge
For longer than most of them can remember, Yuppiechef orders have always had one of their fridge magnets popped into the box, just before it’s sealed. They’ve designed dozens of them over the years, and you can see the full collection in any Yuppiechef store.
Smith matriculated from Hilton College in 1998, receiving the school’s highest academic marks in his year. He started to do a degree in computer science but quit after a couple of months to become the lead programmer at a Pietermaritzburg-based tech firm.
After moving to Cape Town, he became friends with Dryden, and they later started a web development agency together called LiveAlchemy.
On the side, they started to sell all kinds of products online – starting with an electrified racquet that killed flies, the first product they ever sold (bought by Smith’s mom).
They moved on to sell flags and, eventually, started exploring the idea of selling kitchen tools from a single site.
That gave birth to Yuppiechef, which was started in Smith’s lounge in Plumstead, Cape Town in 2006.
They did all of the site development themselves, after hours. At first, they only offered 32 products. It took a long time for the site to gain traction – in their first four months, they only made 11 sales (ten of the sales were to friends or family). After a year, they only had 200 customers.
They didn’t have any capital to invest in the business, and could only buy stock from the money they made selling products.
They continued to package all products from Smith’s lounge in Plumstead for several years until they opened a warehouse in Westlake in Cape Town. It took five years before they were able to get a salary from Yuppiechef, Financial Mail reported.
Dryden also went to school in KwaZulu-Natal, graduating from Maritzburg College in 1992. He went on to work at a software group in the UK, before returning to South Africa in 2006.
After starting an agency with Smith, and selling fly zappers and flags on the side, Dryden – who is a foodie – suggested that they start to retail kitchen tools.
Dryden also, unwittingly, established Yuppiechef’s greatest marketing trick: the hand-written note which accompanies every delivery.
Together with a strong emphasis on client service, and word-of-mouth marketing, this proved to be key in Yuppiechef’s growth over the years.
With Smith, Dryden started a new company called Edison Stone and it distributes branded products – like Wüsthof and OXO – as well as Yuppiechef’s brands, like Jimmy Public and Humble & Mash brand, in the wholesale market.
Investors & Funding Rounds
Mr. Price Group
Durban-headquartered retail group Mr. Price has reached an agreement to buy 100% of Yuppiechef for about R470-million in cash.
The business has two primary operations: Yuppiechef Online, the retail division comprising the online platform and seven stores, as well as a wholesale division, which develops and imports branded goods for wholesale distribution.
The deal will allow it to target a higher LSM customer base and the deal meets its strict investment criteria, which guide its capital allocation decisions and these have been applied with the same disciplined approach in the case of Yuppiechef.
The exact value of the deal has not been disclosed, but the purchase consideration represents about 1% of its R47-billion market capitalization or R470-million.
Additionally, this will allow Mr. Price to expand in South Africa, in line with its strategic objectives, through an established, high-growth omnichannel brand.
Profitability is a key factor in the group’s consideration of any venture, and it is satisfied with Yuppiechef’s positive bottom-line performance and prospects for margin expansion.
Yuppiechef will benefit from its financial strength to accelerate growth plans, which include significantly broadening the product assortment into areas where they have well-established skills and expanding its physical presence beyond the currently limited number of stores.
On top of that the deal is subject to regulatory approval, including from the Competition Commission, as well as unspecified commercial conditions being met while Yuppiechef’s management team will continue to run the business with the full support of the group’s executive team.
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