“I started Boomerang Bites to bring together two passions – baking and social change.“- Andrea Rizvi
Thanks so much for talking to me Andrea. Very “sweet” of you to take the time to speak with me! Before we get into business- what are 3 things you’d want to share with people reading this about yourself:
I have been trained to escape from an inverted, submerged helicopter capsule. (no, really,)
I was born in Australia, spent a large chunk of my childhood in Indonesia, was educated in a British School, but am a die-hard Hobokenite. We moved here the day my oldest son was born 18 years ago (a whole story in itself!) and it’s the longest I have lived anywhere. If you hear someone on the streets of Hoboken with a mixed British/Aussie accent with a complicated New Jersey twang – it’s probably me!
My path to owning/operating a baking business has been far from direct. Many decades ago I started my career as an engineer working on construction sites, oil rigs and in remote aboriginal communities in Australia. I moved to the US and spent the next twenty years working in developing countries to help improve basic water, electricity and transport services. Although an immensely satisfying career, over time I knew I had to find a job that kept me closer to my growing family but where I could still have a positive social impact. Recognizing that the classic not-for-profit model had some serious shortcomings, I instead decided I wanted to start a company in the private sector with a core social mission.
With a full house at home (4 teenaged boys!) – what drew you to begin a business in the hyper-competitive food world. And tell us a bit about the product that started it all.
Boomerang Bites is an artisanal bakery that sells hand crafted, all natural, authentic Australian bite sized treats. We wholesale our bites to select cafes, provide catering services, and sell customized gift boxes online.
I started Boomerang Bites to bring together two passions – baking and social change. The concept for the business originated in response to a void I observed in the baked goods market. As a mum, and frequent coffee shop customer, I was frustrated at the lack of smaller sized flavorful baked goods. Any personal ‘indulgence’ with my coffee, or purchase to appease my children meant investing in a large high calorie muffin or pastry. Even cookies were large! I felt there was a need for something that was rich and indulgent, with a dense flavor packed punch and yet portion controlled and all natural to address the health-conscious mindset. I knew the delicious Australian recipes from my childhood presented a unique solution to this problem and starting baking them at home and cutting them into bite sizes for my sons, their friend and their families. They were an instant hit!
Boomerang Bites was founded in 2017 to spread my passion for the goodness of delicious Aussie treats, but also as a ‘socially conscious’ business that is efficient and profitable, and also at its core gives back to and takes care of local communities in which we work. Out of every dollar profit we earn, we donate at least 20% to local charities selected by consumers and their local cafe owner. (more about this below)
What’s the best thing about working outside the house for you? And, conversely, what’s the worst?
I love my family, but raising four teenage boys in an urban community comes with a certain amount of chaos. Working outside the home gives me the opportunity to escape the whirlwind, focus on business, and recapture some of myself.
The worst? Not sure there is anymore. It was hard when they were younger, but the boys are increasingly self-sufficient, and the advantage of being self-employed is that it gives me the flexibility to adjust my hours to meet their needs and show up at their school and sports events.
I like to ask everyone- what’s your WHY? What takes you away from home and family to do what you do?
Our mission is simple and twofold – Be good, do good. At Boomerang Bites we are passionate about sharing our love of our delicious, all natural, bite-sized, Aussie treats – but great products is only part of what drives us. Boomerang Bites has been built to also do good by giving generously to our people and our communities through fair workplace practices and a generous give back. For every bite we sell we give back at least 20% of profits to causes suggested by our customers. So far, our proceeds have benefited local homeless shelters, animal rescue shelters, after school programs, book programs for low income school children, cancer cure fundraisers and much more! Though we support causes big and small, we are especially passionate about elevating locally-driven initiatives. After decades working in underprivileged communities I have seen first-hand how local people can make a difference and believes in the efficacy of local giving wherever possible, though we exclude no worthwhile cause. Because we believe…. Life is a Boomerang – when you send out goodness and it comes right back.
In five years, what does this career path look like? Or is it another?
I have definitely had enough career paths at this point. I intend this to be my last. Our long term vision at Boomerang Bites is to build a socially responsible and financially sustainable business that improves people’s lives through our products, our practices, and our profits, building our business so that we can increase the scale and scope of our impact.
If anyone wants to reach out for more information on Boomerang Bites how would they do that?
You can find us at www.boomerangbites.com (currently in re-design, but expecting to relaunch a new improved customer experience in next few weeks!). Also follow us on Instagram: @boomerangbites. Or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org