Angela Sharda interviews the Cheese Geek, Edward Hancock about his love for cheese and his impressive business concept.
Q. Tell us about yourself.
A. Prior to being in the cheese business, I worked in the City for around 12 years as a fund manager. A great deal of that work allowed me to research further into investment psychology which overflowed into consumer psychology and the neuroscience of decision making. I became extremely interested in what makes a good brand and what gives people loyalty to certain brands.
Q. Tell us about your cheese business.
A. I love cheese and have been obsessed with it since I was 11 years old. I got to a point where I really wanted to explore cheese. Experts at Cheese geek provide curated cheese boxes which contain the finest British cheese. The Cheese Geek, is an online site where cheese lovers can subscribe to monthly delivery boxes, buy on-off hampers and order “pick-and-mix” British artisan cheeses. Cheese is a very traditional product, and it has been the same for around the last 50 to 70 years. So, I just wanted to create a brand on products that I love. The British Cheese Industry is fantastic, and I am proud to be part of it. I am a huge advocate for supporting local produce. Anyone can buy cheese from our site, however we also supply to wine bars and restaurants.
Q. How did you achieve a business turnover of around £1.5m?
A. We sent out our first cheese box in 2017 and it was from my mum’s house. We set up a website with £500.00 and had no marketing spend – this was meant to be a side hustle. We have given our company every opportunity to stand out. Building this USP has helped us to gain traction and in our first full year we did around £100k and the business grew from there.
Q. Did the pandemic have an impact on your business?
A. Once the pandemic hit our business was pushed up a notch and cheese makers had quite a bit of excess cheese due to hospitality shutting down and we were suddenly helping them out. We were then supporting external hospitality businesses and sending artisan cheese to our subscribers. The pandemic hit and our revenue increased very quickly.
Q. What’s your favourite cheese pairings?
A. Everyone knows that wine goes perfect with cheese, but the perception is that red wine is the best option. However, white wine goes better with cheese. Also, many people may not be aware as it is not the obvious choice, but beer and cider go well with cheese.