It all started with a casual conversation between two co-workers. As many of the most engaging conversations are, this particular chat was about food.
In late summer 2016, Christopher Buck and Andrew Macaulay were both making the most of their engineering degrees by holding product management positions at Digital Lumens, a smart LED lighting systems company based in Fort Point. One day, Buck – father of Jaiden, 4 and Olivia, 3 – was telling Macaulay how difficult it was to prepare lunches for his little girls as a busy parent. Specifically, he remarked that lunches had to be “healthy and relatively convenient” every day.
That remark struck a chord for Macaulay, who shared his personal story. As a kid, he hadn’t learned the best eating habits, a fact that led him to weight more than 300 pounds when he was in college. Then, a radical diet change promoted by his doctor made him lose more than 120 pounds.
“Childhood obesity is a big problem in this country.”
“We realized that not only the parents have a need for a lunch option for their kids that’s both healthy and convenient,” Buck said in an interview. “But it’s a huge problem. Obviously, childhood obesity is a big problem in this country.”
By combining both parents’ and children’s needs, Buck and Macaulay came up with Nomsly – a food delivery service that targets children and high school students as final consumers, which officially launched in the first week of March 2017.
The deal is simple: parents can log into the website and select five meals out of nine options. Then, every week Nomsly ships a box to their home. Lunches can go directly into the refrigerator, so when Monday morning arrives, parents just have to grab one and put it in the kid’s lunchbox. A plan that includes five lunch options – from chickpea salad to sun butter and jelly sandwich – costs $35 a week, shipping with U.S. Postal Service included.
The people preparing the food are the eight employees of the company, who take advantage of the equipment provided by CommonWealth Kitchen in Dorchester – a non-profit organization that’s home to around 50 food-based businesses.
Services similar to Nomsly mushroom in New York (where Yumble also targets kids’ lunches) and Chicago (where Wise Apple raised a seed round of $3.6 million). Usually, scaling from being a door-to-door service to a national business has its own set of challenges. To expand beyond Massachusetts and New Hampshire, Nomsly launched a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $30,000. With that money, Buck and Macaulay are planning to purchase materials to meet a higher demand from a larger geography: Maine, Vermont, New York, Rhode Island, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, North Carolina and the District of Columbia.
Nomsly declined to disclose the number of customers it’s currently serving.