Danial Paisawala used to balance his day job with selling imported vegetables from Kenya. Previously, as a London University student, he’d taken a part-time job at the local markets to pay the bills. There, his passion for fresh produce led him and his business partner Hatim to establish Fresh4U Produce.
Today, with five branches under its banner, from catering to a stand selling a full range of fruits and vegetables, their business is going strong. Global trade isn’t always easy, with fluctuating currency rates and supply chain challenges. Partnering with WorldFirst has made a world of difference.
"I was working part-time in the market," says Danial. “And was taken from a packer-loader to the office, doing sales and then eventually managing shifts on the company's weekend.
“There wasn't anybody who wanted to work on weekends, so I took it on and I used to run it on a weekend. And that's where all the knowledge came about and the passion for the product and the produce industry.”
Following a trip to Kenya for vacation in 2008, he met some exporters and began buying shipments to supply to wholesale markets in London. “We would go to the airport, pick it up and deliver to the markets. You start with one country, two or three products and then you start adding on products and adding on countries. And that's how you sort of go on to that stage.”
Starting the business in 2009 during the financial crisis meant that customers were price sensitive. “And us not having any overheads, just bringing stuff in our cars, sending them to the market, there were no costs, no employees, nothing. So we were doing really well.”
From there, Danial and Hatim branched into more markets and shops.
Global challenges from crop to shop
Buying from overseas, however, meant that prices could change on a daily basis. “Foreign exchange is massive. If we were buying a box of ginger for [USD] $1.25 from China last month, [it] would cost me a pound more today than a month ago, just because of that five cents difference in exchange rate. And that increases the cost.
“The prices change every day – there's no fixed pricing. Tomatoes could be four quid today, tomorrow it's eight quid and then the day after, it could be back to two pounds.”
He came across WorldFirst in 2009 and it transformed the way Fresh4U Produce made international supplier payments. “It was very convenient I think. At that point in time, the concept of buying currency on a wholesale basis wasn't really as mature as it is today.”
Since the beginning, the service has been unmatched. “We've tried three or four competitors, always having WorldFirst as a support on the side as well. But it never worked out with them.”
For Danial, the key element has been the dedicated support. He says that WorldFirst “understands my requirements. It’s much better for us as consumers to have the service that we need. It’s a relationship.”
Open a World Account for free
- Open up to 10 local currency accounts, with local sort codes, account numbers and IBANs
- Collect secure payments from 100+ marketplaces, overseas buyers and payment processing gateways
- Pay suppliers, partners and staff in 40 currencies without hidden fees
- Pay and get paid easily with local bank details on your invoices
- Lock in conversion rates to manage your currency risk
Planting seeds for future growth
Today, Fresh4U Produce has warehouses in Western International Market, West London, as well as stands in New Spitalfields Market. They also have a presence in other key markets around London and wholesale customers across Europe. One exciting development is that they’re now testing the market themselves with new varieties from South American exporters.
“There's a passionfruit called banana passionfruit. I had never seen it or heard about it. It's doing really well. We're now trying baby bananas for schools in the UK... So we've got to ripen it, test it out in the market, see what the feedback is.”
According to Danial, business growth is all about understanding the costs.
“You need to do your calculations. You need to work out your freight costs. You need to work out your customs clearance charges, duties. And then with a small margin, you need to make a profit.
"So you need to be good with numbers, otherwise you can't make it. This industry is very fast and it takes a toll on a lot of people when they come in.”
With WorldFirst by their side, offering competitive exchange rates and excellent service, Fresh4U Produce is set to bring more fruit and vegetables to tables in Europe.
To find out more about WorldFirst products and services, click here or call 0207 801 1065 now.
Businesses like yours trust WorldFirst
- Almost 1,000,000 businesses have sent $150B around the world with WorldFirst and its partner brands since 2004
- Your money is safeguarded with leading financial institutions