A PAIR of local entrepreneurs have adapted to the Covid-19 pandemic and launched a brand new business.

When the pandemic hit in March, Philippe Kalkwarf and his wife Helen Done, who own and run Cleopatra’s Coffee shop & Bistro in Holt, had a tough decision to make.

With their business forced to close due to national lockdown but still having monthly overheads, something drastic needed to happen or their six-year-old business was facing permanent closure. Not ones to sit idly, both Philippe and Helen put on their entrepreneurial hats, focused on the positives and what they could do, not on what they couldn't.

Toiling away in their industrial kitchen with new ideas led them to develop a new product, business plan and model for their new concept - and Wedoughit4u was born.

Philippe and Helen developed a way to get ready rolled out pizza bases along with pizza sauce and cheese to customers' houses using an overnight courier company.

The kit is delivered directly to customers' front door and contains two 12 inch ready to use pizza bases, two sachets of pizza sauce and two sachets of cheese. A selection of toppings are available, but not compulsory at checkout.

Philippe said: “Being in the hospitality industry we were surrounded by other similar businesses who were feeling the pressure of the virus and being forced into closure.

"But to us we were in ‘lockdown not shutdown’ mode. This gave us extra strength to ensure that not only did we have to get our new lockdown initiative off the ground, but we had to beyond all costs keep Cleopatra’s Coffee Shop & Bistro alive too.

"We had nine staff relying on us with families and financial responsibilities, too."

The beginning of the journey was the toughest Philippe and Helen had endured for a long time. Due to the countrywide lockdown, it was almost impossible to source new suppliers.

Philippe explained: "Things were difficult in the beginning, morale amongst the staff was low but we kept having regular touch base meetings to let our staff know where we were at as a business and about the new venture we were embarking on.

"It was extremely difficult to try and get new customers when the country around them was determined not to let them see anybody due to the pandemic."

The Leader:

But the company's online presence grew from day to day, helped by new sales manager Helen Powley.

Philippe said: "Helen had been a customer at Cleopatra’s from the early days and during a break in the lockdown she came through and tried the pizza kit, loved the pizza kit.

"We spoke about the pizza kits and where we wanted to go with it and Helen jumped onboard as our sales and marketing manager.”

With a new strategy in place, Wedoughit4u turned to social media as well as aligning ourselves with companies who had experience in start-up companies such as Cywain - a business Wales mentoring organisation which specialises in the SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) Welsh food and drink sector.

Philippe said: “We did think outside the box, which put us right into another box - the pizza box, more importantly the Wedoughit4u pizza box."