How MOMA began...
I graduated from Cambridge and began work straight away as a Management Consultant in the city. I spent most of my days dreaming up business ideas, but one in particular seemed to stick with me. As a city worker I thought there were loads of options for lunch and dinner but very few healthy and tasty breakfasts that commuters could pick up on their way into work. I ran this by friends and colleagues and it began to feel like this idea actually had legs.
It was now time to think about what this healthy breakfast was actually going to be. I settled on a liquid mixture of yoghurt, oats and fruit (the very first draft of our current Breakfast Smoothies). I needed to get the product into the hands of key consumers, so thought what better than a guerrilla style sampling session at Waterloo station. ‘I stayed up through the night chopping fruit, blending it with oats and yoghurts, breaking numerous blenders and pouring into water bottles I’d picked up from Tesco. 200 bottles later, with my trestle table set up outside the station, my friends and I were busily exchanging bottles for email addresses.
A couple of months later, after receiving positive feedback from those that took a sample, my company offered me some time off to pursue the idea further. This soon turned into leaving the company officially in August ’05. I’d done my research standing in train stations counting the footfall (and getting kicked out of a few for looking too suspicious) and found the best stations to set up my pop-up stall. By November I had the go ahead from Waterloo East station to start selling in February 2006. One converted filing cabinet, an old BT van, and a converted railway arch later, MOMA sold its first breakfast to the city of London’s commuters.
The next few months were hectic to say the least – we opened 2 more sites very quickly – one in Vauxhall and one in Canary Wharf. I used to get up at 1.45am, start work in our railway arch kitchens at 2.30am and then start selling at 6.30am. After 4 months, the MOMA team had grown and it was time to hand over the night shift to someone else!
By the summer of 2008 we had nine stalls and sold into a few offices and shops, including Selfridges but unfortunately, this was also the beginning of the recession. Commuters just weren’t as prepared as they were before to spend that little bit extra on healthy breakfast outside of the home. We started to move our focus away from the stalls and onto retailers and soon pulled in some great wins – Waitrose, Ocado, and Virgin Atlantic.
Since then we have been through two redesigns, three city wide marketing campaigns, many great retail listings and taken on some really talented team members. We’ve become the number 1 Bircher Muesli brand in the U.K. and have our products in supermarkets, trains and coffee shops across the country. But this is still only the beginning, we have so much more room for growth and can’t wait to see what’s in store!