Hi guys! Thanks for dropping by and having a look at our Crowd Funding page.
So, to introduce who we are and what we do, let’s begin:
We are a family run Caribbean 'food experience' business. The reason we call it a food experience is that we really believe it's our duty to spread the tastes, culture and our love of the Caribbean with everyone by creating an extensive sensory approach in the delivery and presentation of our food, to conjure an atmosphere filled with rich exciting flavours, combined with music and conversation to transport you to the destinations of warm tropical climates, something which we know we can deliver.
Our business started in Portsmouth in the spring of 2019 and through the support of the community, Natty's grew in popularity enabling us to expand. The initial mobile ‘starter home’, trading from a 3x3 meter gazebo on our street food events made way for us to jump over the threshold into a vintage van, alongside establishing a small kitchen vending spot in Southsea’s exclusive food court, The Outside-In.
Unfortunately, as it did to all, the pandemic struck which forced the food court to close. This untimely situation fuelled the decision to move our business into the family home to operate as a takeaway. To be really honest, the transition into these circumstances were primarily governed by surviving the sudden financial turbulence we faced in order to continue paying bills more than the desire to solely operate as a takeaway and delivery service. The continued support received from customers during this period was astounding. It enabled us to maintain the few employees we had recruited over the period to support the course the business had now taken. The positive communication received from customers who continued to order made us feel our intent and purpose was a little more than just providing a takeaway food service. With the ongoing demand, we had now outgrown our residence at home and began searching for a more suitable purpose built commercial kitchen to keep working from. After months of potential viewings and dwindling hopes, the ideal offer of a kitchen arose in a location in one of Southsea’s main food and drink highways on Albert Road. Having jumped at the opportunity, the intention was to rebuild our street food foundation and to grow this alongside the existing host business opposed to being an adjunct presence. Facing certain limitations at this location, unfortunately the decision was made to leave the premises prematurely, once again leaving us in the search for something more in tune with our initial desires for the business.
What’s the plan? What’s next?
We have been searching high and low for properties with intent to remain in Southsea. On this occasion, the number one rule we have chosen to abide by is not to jump at the first offering of location that we come across (which is easier said than done)! The understanding is knowing that we need somewhere that suits what we are as a business, a brand and as a family. Viewings of multiple premises including restaurants, warehouses, even the consideration of a boat has left us feeling their suitability was not for us at this moment in time. Now, we have found somewhere on the horizon...
So think BOXPARK; Shoreditch, Brixton, Croydon. Now with that in mind, think of a Boxpark for one. We have been fortunate enough to have gained access to an area of land in Portsmouth, close to the heart of Southsea, within footfall of Guildhall Square, directly opposite Portsmouth and Southsea Station, which stands a semi-converted shipping container currently positioned on a site almost ready to rock and roll!
This setting is more in the direction of our vibe for securing a permanent spot for the street food style concept we have envisioned. Our plans include installing decking as terrain for the foundation to support outdoor seating, creating a shelter from the elements and securing a temperate environment with heat lamps and warm throws for the chilly evenings, all of this intertwined with additional characteristic flora in the form of mature tropical trees. With all this in tow, our aim is to create an ambience akin to that of a spot of Caribbean nightlife on the beach. All that will be missing is the sand, therefore we plan on trucking in 10 tonnes of sand every month...Only joking; now that’s going too far!!!
What do we need to raise the money for?
Well, we need to do everything as the site is currently void of all facilities and amenities, so as you can imagine we are starting this project from scratch. This will involve extensive groundworks and landscaping of the entire area. The initial plans include creating a sanitary environment by initiating refuse clearance, electrical and water installation and repositioning of the shipping container in accordance with pedestrian regulations. Additional requirements involve installing the necessary equipment to support outdoor dining by purchasing weatherproof lighting, awnings, thermal heaters, foliage and a range of complementary accessories to create a suitable habitat for an al fresco dining experience, to list but a few items!. It is very important for us to get this right, not only for you to come along and have a great time, but also to consider this establishment as an initial stepping stone in the regeneration and transformation of a barren area of land into a lively centralised dining hub, with the intent to benefit the community at large by creating an inclusive destination point which can offer a literal taste of diversity and culture. As a collaboration initiative, we would seek to work with local creative talent to commission and exhibit an assortment of artworks and visual media to embellish hoarding surrounds, generating an additional vibrant aesthetic at the heart of the city centre.
We look forward to welcoming you to our family with some incredible experiences and exclusive perks to purchase that will help us secure the next step forward.
Thank you for your support so far; one love to your family and friends from my family