There is a saying that a promise is a comfort to a fool.
However, Jennifer Thomas has gone out of her way to ensure that her promises comfort and sustain families, with the creation of The Promise Basket.
Izzso chatted with Thomas to find out more about her pioneering brand, which was the first subscription food business in T&T.
A wife of 29 years, and a mom to six children…yes six…and all male, Thomas told us that before becoming an entrepreneur, “I was employed at the Ministry of Planning, then made the shift into the private sector, but that did not work out.”
“I then started a data collection company in 2013, did some projects, however, work was slow after 2015.”
Thomas, who is also a Minister, said the idea for Promise Basket started in 2016, when she saw the need of single moms and widows at her church.
A number of them were living with the bare necessities and in some cases without, and she had asked 12 members to pool their $200 in order to purchase wholesale food (dry goods, vegetables and chicken), which they then shared evenly among themselves.
Thomas said when she realized how much more food they could buy using this strategy, she decided to do it a second time.
“However, more church members were interested, so then I decided that we should just allow persons to make an annual commitment, so from there the membership subscription started,” she said.
But, according to Thomas, it all officially began in November of 2016.
She said “The name originated from The Promise that God gave us. I prayed long and hard for the right name, The Promise Basket Ltd continued in 2017 with 16 members.”
“In May of 2017 I was on The Morning Edition with Fazeer Mohammed and from there we blossomed.”
Thomas said “By the end of 2017, we had over 600 active members.”
The Promise Basket sources produce from local farmers, while items such as carrots, onions, garlic and beetroot are sourced from other companies.
Thomas said as the first provider of a subscription food business “the experience has been amazing.”
“After we began to advertise our business in an aim to recruit more members, a lot of other businesses popped up using our packages strategy. We paid them no mind and continued. The journey has been an incredible experience, some hiccups here and there but we continue to strive for excellence,” added Thomas.
We asked if she encountered any challenges or hiccups along the way, Thomas said her only major challenges have been and still are the issue of price hikes, produce not being available and business space, due to increased rental fees.
Nonetheless, Thomas and The Promise Basket have a current active membership of about 550 regular customers.
With Covid-19 wreaking havoc and negatively affecting business, The Promise Basket has been a shining light in this economical darkness.
Thomas said “Covid-19 has brought a lot more customers/members our way. I wouldn’t say booming but there is a definite upsurge in sales, especially from the elderly and persons who are considered essential, who cannot access groceries easily.”
The various baskets and their supplies are called:
The Promise Basket – which consists of dry goods, vegetables and meat.
The WE Basket – ground provisions, vegetables and fruit.
The HEALTHY basket – vegetables, gluten free flour, coconut oil, beans and fruit.
The SALAD box – organic vegetables and artisan lettuce
The MEAT basket – loads of different meats, cheese, eggs and fresh seasoning.
Thomas said their top sellers are The WE basket, followed by The Promise Basket.
Other options include:
Interested persons can call to place orders at 756-0135 or 393-3535.
Additionally, you can make contact via their facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/promisebasket