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Babson Business: DialABarrel

Name of business: DialABarrel; 

DialABarrel is a convenient and affordable way to send your grocery barrels home without the hassle of shopping, packing, and shipping.  We do it all.  You can now order your pre-packed barrel from the convenience of your home, via the Internet or phone.  DialABarrel delivers top quality groceries at great prices to your island destination.  We do the shopping, packing, and shipping of your grocery barrels to most major Caribbean destinations.

Mission :  Our mission is to provide exceptional customer service, quality and reliable service with professionalism and respect to our customers.

Began: 2006

Revenues: $50,000

Initial Investment: $75,000

Broke Even:  751

Where:  DialABarrel has warehouse facilities in NJ.

Founders: Alrick Thomas, MBA 2000;;
Paul Philip;

Employees: 10

Founder's Past Life/Business:  The founders are engineers by training, with decades of corporate experience. 

How The Idea Began: While preparing to travel home (Caribbean Island) for a funeral,  I felt pressured to find, pack, and ship a barrel filled with goodies to family members back home. Tradition dictates that you can't go home empty-handed and so I had to do this task although I was tremendously busy planning for travel/funeral etc. I thought at the time that I would pay a company (if one was available) to perform the task of buying the barrel, filling it with goodies, and shipping it to my country. A few years later we turned that thought into reality with DialABarrel.

Initial Preparation to Germinate Idea:  The founders had started several other business ventures in the past.  Additional preparation included active participation in shopping, packing, and shipping barrels of goods to friends and family back home.  With an engineering background, we were looking for a way to streamline processes to make life easier for activities we take for granted.  We have experience and training in process improvement and project management.

Favorite Thing about the Business: The pure satisfaction and delight the service brings to the customers.

Worst Thing About the Business: Having to convince the 1st time/skeptical customer that we will actually deliver on our service promise – i.e. fill the barrels with the goods that we promise.

Biggest Challenge: Getting an angel investor. Gaining 1st time customer confidence.

Lesson Learned: Stick to your area of passion.