Peigh Asante, 35, is a creative who has worked on major advertising campaigns as well as other ventures such as Swim Dem Crew, the inner-city, community-focused swimming club. Here, the co-founder of Trap Fruits London talks to us about the pros and cons of starting a fresh fruit box delivery brand in the middle of a pandemic and why it’s important for more Black-owned businesses to work in this space.
Tell us about how you launched the business.
‘It all goes back to that custard apple: eating it made me intrigued and excited about all the different kinds of exotic, lesser-known fruits available in London. But the custard apples were selling for £5 each, at least in Peckham they were, which I thought was crazy. So, a friend suggested we go direct to a wholesaler. That turned into an unofficial research and development trip. Then I started joking on social media about tracking down the perfect custard apples. After that, we did an event with my friend sisterwoman vegan, which is a plant-based brand exploring wellness through food, and overnight Trap Fruits London got 1,000 new followers on Instagram. That’s when I knew it was real.’
And that was before the pandemic. Demand picked up more quickly than expected, right?
‘We’re lucky: with more people spending time at home and caring more about their wellbeing, the pandemic has really accelerated the business. Demand has gone up and up and up. Looking back, we wouldn’t be where we are now if that hadn’t happened. We exist to help our community eat more fruit and to encourage healthier lifestyles.’
What are the downsides of growing faster than you expected?
‘We only intended to soft launch, really, but Covid forced our hand. It meant we had no time to strategise or to even make a business plan. Only now is a certain style of photography on our website and socials starting to emerge. And we’re still working on really defining our purpose and communicating that effectively to our community and new customers. I’m also very tired – a couple of times a week we make trips to our wholesaler at 12.30am and stop working at 4.30am – but that’s the game we’re in now. All good.’
You’ve said Trap Fruits London ‘is a culture not a phase’. Can you unpack that a bit?
‘It all taps into our purpose. We aren’t here because we think fruit is the next trend, the next hashtag. Delivering fruit boxes all around London and watching people eat more fruit genuinely makes me really happy. What’s more, we want to make fruit much more accessible. On our Instagram, for example, there isn’t that much produce; instead, you’ll see a lot of our community. We do that because people will buy into our purpose as much as they will the fruit.’
There aren’t many Black-owned fruit businesses in London.
‘Definitely. I don’t know why there aren’t more Black people in this industry. It’s important we’re visible so other Black people are motivated and encouraged by what we’re doing. You can’t be what you can’t see. Also, so many fruits are imported, yet people from those same backgrounds aren’t benefiting from the sales.’
‘The goal is to serve more of the community quality fruit and educate them on the fruit that we’re sourcing. Because supermarket fruit isn’t fresh. Often it’s been in transit for weeks, if not months. We also hope to provide job opportunities for our community and also for our families. Right now, for example, my 16-year-old brother is working with us. It’s his first job, so he sent his first-ever invoice. Little things like that have been nice to see. So, as we continue to grow, we’ll hopefully provide more and more opportunities to people in the community. Beyond that, we should probably get round to making our business plan.’
Find out the latest from Peigh by following him on Instagram at @peigh.