Their first conversation had a serious sticking point: we’re going to start a business together! The hang up? What kind of business makes sense for us as an entrepreneurial couple? “It’s funny that from day one we’ve always tried to start a business, but couldn’t really figure it out,” Octavia Callahan says, “And the biggest thing I’m grateful for is Dumpling really made a path for us.”
Octavia and her significant other, Jonathon Edwards, both held traditional jobs plus had degrees and backgrounds in health and wellness, property management, and gig-style work. “But we didn’t really know where to start so we downloaded the Shipt app and did Shipt, then Jon did DoorDash, but I was like, ‘There’s gotta be a better way for us to do this,’ so he came across Dumpling and we were like, ‘Let’s see what this is about,’” explains Octavia.
A few months after realizing how different Dumpling was, they began building their own business, Tasteful Delivery, by advertising to a ton of communities. By combining their own Dumpling business with their backgrounds, Jonathon and Octavia started seeing their entrepreneurial biz grow. “Dumpling was awesome. They gave us a platform to just work together and make our own business happen,” says Jonathon.
Starting with Dumpling in August of 2021, they planned to rev up in Houston and move away from DoorDash and Shipt to expand their grocery delivery business. They found with other platforms, delivery clients “don’t even know who they’re getting. They won’t remember somebody who just dropped their food off, if it was someone from DoorDash or even Shipt, they won’t remember that person’s name or their company,” explains Jonathon, “With Dumpling, we have that lasting memory people can hang onto and it allows us to promote our actual business.”
It’s the experience they can provide with Dumpling and that they can set their own schedules, delivery times, pricing, stores, and develop community and a partner pipeline that made creating their business with the platform a done deal. “There are definitely many benefits when it comes down to working with Dumpling and them having us promote our own brand, our own logo, there’s many different opportunities that Dumpling provides for sure,” Jonathon says.
Entrepreneurial Pair Connects Communities and Partnerships One Delivery at a Time
“We’re not running through the grocery store trying to get an order fulfilled in 30 minutes, then drop off in the same timeframe [like with Shipt],” explains Octavia, “And Dumpling gave us 100 percent funding, which is amazing so we don’t have to ever worry about funds coming out of our pocket with their Boss and virtual card options.”
Since their delivery clients range from young professionals to families to seniors, Jonathon and Octavia want to keep a strong focus on all their groups through branding and business cards. They’re always wearing their Tasteful Delivery shirts when they shop, connecting with tons of unique clients in-store and out in the community, and leveraging Octavia’s past property management connections.
“To make [our Dumpling business] happen full-time, we’ve been setting up meetings at different locations, like apartment communities, and we’ve connected with thousands of people,” explains Jonathon, “We’ve been starting with Octavia’s connections because she’s been active on the property management side…Marketing here, it’s definitely working.”
Those marketing tactics also include Instagram and Facebook posts of relevant client content (like in-store sales), posting flyers, reaching out about hosting events, and sending email blasts to community residents. “Jon’s good with the food delivery side and I’m like, ‘Let me stop here real quick and see if they’re open to using our delivery business,’ and we actually developed two partnerships with local businesses who’ve been giving us a lot of deliveries,” Octavia says.
Although the duo’s Dumpling business charges a bit more than their local partners are used to, it’s Jon and Octavia’s quality of delivery, impressive client care, and reputation that has them securing all those bulk orders.
Together, they shop Monday through Sunday, with deliveries from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM, and a schedule of two orders per hour. “And we do Trader Joe’s, Kroger, HEB, Randalls, Tres Market, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Whole Foods, a local meat market, and Cornelius Nursery,” explains Octavia. And they leaned on their smart price check skills to research other Dumpling shoppers to set their pricing at $20 or 20 percent, with the exception of specialty stores like Sam’s Club at $28.99.
The Couple Who Plans Their Business Phases Together, Stays Together
Navigating the shift to full-time Dumpling delivery, Jonathon and Octavia still keep their eye on their big expansion roadmap. “We’ve had a few people already say they’d really love to work for us so it’s a matter of us just getting more work so we can bring on other people when the time is right, and it’s why we wanted to be with Dumpling in the first place,” Jonathon says.
That means about 5 people to manage and at least 60 deliveries per month to expand their business, including friends and family they want to provide jobs for. Joining Dumpling meant they could grow the way they wanted to while getting the planning help they needed.
Access to their coach who they “love to death and she’s always there for us and rooting for us” as well as weekly coaching gives them tools to run their business better, learn from business owners who’ve experienced large success, build relationships, and help newer shoppers get onboard with Dumpling.
“And Dumpling really wants and values our feedback…and they’re 100 percent transparent,” says Octavia, “I feel like they really do listen, and other platforms, not to be mean, but it’s obvious they don’t listen.” And this listening was critical when Jon and Octavia experienced a red flag fraud alert.
“One of the Dumpling reps was super helpful and she said, ‘I’m so sorry you’re going through this,’ you could tell she cared and it ended up being fraud,” Octavia explains, “And I liked that they didn’t blame me. They didn’t make us feel like, ‘How did you not know?’ They were like, ‘Let’s shut this down. This is definitely fraud. We’re so sorry you had to go through this. You did everything right.’”
At their other gig work, there was little reassurance and lots of blame and low-star ratings punishment. At Dumpling, the platform difference meant no stressing over someone to help on the backend, avoiding fraud, customer service, or other working parts of growing their business the right way.
“I’m very grateful Dumpling provides a platform that helps on what we wanted to accomplish as a couple,” says Octavia, “Now we can both walk in our purpose as entrepreneurs together and don’t have that stress, anxiety, and worry; we can do things with more ease and Dumpling helped with that and helped us create our goal that we set out at the beginning.”
Dumpling’s unique app and platform allowed the pair to realize it was perfect for couples to start and nurture a business while shopping diligently for clients. “That’s our whole slogan. We do shop with care, but ‘Welcome to the Family’ as a customer, is big,” says Jonathon, and Dumpling offered them the exact way they’d hoped to spend more time with family, too.
Focused on a Bright Business Future While Overdelivering in the Present
It’s the consistency in the quality of their shops, being there for each other as they grow, and staying positive that boost Octavia and Jonathon’s success. They also work on differentiating their business by using their backgrounds in health and spirituality to pick good food that’s more nutritionally sound and that’ll contribute to their clients’ overall health.
“You can help your clients even further with health, and once they start to see and feel that, then it’s every bite, they’ll be thinking about who got the food for them?” Jonathon explains, “That allows us to be more active with our clients.”
We look at expiration dates, quality of packaging, quality of meat, seafood, and produce, and make sure we’re remembering the little things and shopping the right, high-end locations, says Octavia, “We really go the extra mile for our clients because people want what they want and all our customers are different…we take the time to really study their habits and what they want so then we already have a backup plan [if we need it].”
If you’re thinking about growing or building a grocery delivery business, Jonathon offers some insight into partnering with Dumpling: “Dumpling is going to be one of those apps that’s going to change the gig world once people start getting wind of how their personal shopper experience works,” he says, “Anybody can do it if you just apply and take the time to study yourself, your customers, and what they like.”