Mother’s Day special: combining business & motherhood

We talk to mums whose kids were the inspiration for their business ventures. This week it’s Gaby Chapman, co-founder of PlanBuyCook. 

What inspired you to start the business? 

It was the 5 o’clock panic that used to worry me every day as a new parent. I didn’t know what to cook and would leave it to the last minute. A chance conversation with Jen, a chef and a mum who had it all under control, led us to build the PlanBuyCook meal planning app. Easy, tasty and nutritious meals the whole family can enjoy, a smart shopping list, tips and hints all in a simple app that makes it easier to make home-cooked meals (and save money in the process). 

What makes your products unique? 

The ability to scale your meals to match your household size is our point of difference. We have 130+ recipes on the app with each of the dinner recipes automatically calculating the ingredients to match your family size. It also allows you to generate an aggregated shopping list like magic, so you never forget any ingredients. No more extra trips to the supermarket, saving you time, money and reducing food waste. You can also add your own favourite recipes to the app, to make it your own. 

Top tips for combining motherhood and a successful business?

● Make some meals in bulk on the weekend or on a quiet night so you have food ready for busy nights.

● Use your freezer well; make double qualities of freezable meals to ‘food bank’ for future weeks.

● Teach your teenage kids and your partner how to cook to share the load.

● Get someone else to do the food shopping if you are short on time. With our app you can send the shopping list to someone else—simple!

● Give yourself a break. Running your own business can be time-consuming and all-encompassing so try and make time for yourself, your family and your friends. 

Best advice your mother gave you? 

Take a chance: don’t be afraid of trying something new no matter when you start. And give something back to others. 

Best Mother’s Day Gift received?

A day off! With three boys and their sporting commitments, the weekends can be hectic. Having the day off to browse the art gallery was pretty special. This was followed by a lovely dinner with the family, cooked by them, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?

It is great working with someone with a totally different skillset to me. Jen is a chef and has such great cooking and organisational know-how, whereas I am the writer and had absolutely no idea how to organise myself in the kitchen. We work really well together, so it is important to surround yourself with people who have different but complementary skills to you. 

Future plans for the company?

Expanding our reach into the US and UK markets and further developing our app’s functionality.