Spotlight on… SpiceBox
Your local curry house, which happens to be vegan.
SpiceBox is a local curry house based in Walthamstow, London which puts a fresh, modern spin on British Curry House classics.
After just one year of trading (they opened their first curry house on Hoe Street in London on January 2019) SpiceBox have had a fantastic year and enjoyed great success, becoming an instant local favourite.
On top of this they have also won multiple awards, including ‘Best Takeaway in East London’ at the London Curry Awards. SpiceBox’s innovative and sustainable re-usable tiffin club, which uses metal tiffin tins instead of disposable takeaway packaging, also won them a place as a finalist at the prestigious Food Made Good Awards.
With the perfect timing of International Women’s Day just around the corner (Sunday 8th March 2020), Founder Grace Regan takes us through her journey from start up to first store opening…
Around 5 years ago, when I’d finally moved out of home and was living off too much takeaway, I became frustrated that I could never find an Indian takeout or local curry house that served food as fresh and tasty as the meals my Auntie Dolly cooked whilst I was growing up, or that I ate whilst travelling in India.
That frustration planted a seed. Curry is one of the UK’s favourite dishes – there are curry houses on high streets up and down the UK, but no single brand dominates and many have failed to innovate to keep up with changing eating habits (such as veganism). Surely there was an opportunity here?
My curry house idea got parked when I was accepted onto a startup accelerator in Silicon Valley, however my interest in food was about to get greater!
When I moved to California, I quickly became vegan. It was hard not to be swept up in the energy and passion surrounding the nascent vegan food scene in San Francisco and LA. On every street corner a new vegan street food stall or cafe was popping up. On weekends you’d always find a vegan food festival of some sort, packed with enthusiastic entrepreneurs selling their wares.
The more I read about the environmental and ethical implications of a plant-based diet, the more passionate I became about the vegan movement. By changing my diet, I could significantly reduce my environmental footprint and, most importantly of all, a vegan diet was super easy and delicious.
The entrepreneur in me also saw a huge opportunity – if veganism was taking off so quickly in California in 2015, surely London would follow suit…?
A match made in food heaven
One cuisine that was hard to find in California was Indian food. I found myself craving my beloved curry constantly. However after finally tracking down some curry houses that served vegan dishes, it suddenly dawned on me that Indian food was the perfect way to introduce people to a plant-based diet without compromising on flavour.
And so the curry house dream came knocking once more…
Putting my two passions together, I came up with the idea for SpiceBox. I left the tech world behind, flew back to London and started selling curries from my front door.
Worth the wait
Fast forward 4 years and I now have my very own vegan curry house in Walthamstow, London. It’s been going amazingly well and it has been so satisfying seeing my dream become a reality. Turns out, like me, people really dig a fresh approach to curry house classics which draw on Indian home-style cooking.
One of the most rewarding things about opening a neighbourhood curry house is seeing how diverse our guests are – not only in terms of age, gender and race, but also in terms of eating habits. Some of our most loyal customers are self-confessed carnivores who just can’t believe how tasty vegan curry can be!
It is this angle that really excites me – seeing that there is a demand for delicious plant-based food beyond the central London vegan bubble. 50% of all UK adults will actively be trying to cut down their meat consumption by 2025, and what better way to help them by providing a local curry house that serves up banging Indian food, which also happens to be vegan.
Bringing curry to the masses once more
The curry house is a British institution, but sadly many are closing down as the UK high street continues to face challenge and change. It is my mission to breathe some life and soul back into towns across the UK, by providing communities with a local curry house that not only serves up delicious food, but also has a positive impact on society and the environment.
This will starts with a second curry house for SpiceBox, which is why I’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign with Seedrs to fund the opening of SpiceBox #2.
Feeding and nurturing local communities is an integral part of SpiceBox, so it makes sense to open this investment round up to our guests and followers. I can’t wait to share a piece of SpiceBox with our community and involve you all in our journey to becoming the UK’s leading curry house brand!
Meet SpiceBox at Completely Retail Marketplace UK and find out more about their expansion plans at the Soapbox sessions. Registration is free for retailers.