The surprises here aren’t only in the boxes. Her life path is full of them too. Farhat Wali came to Germany from Afghanistan 13 years ago, with no knowledge of the language, and has rebuilt her life from scratch. First school, then university, then part-time work, full-time work and now her own business. She owns Charcuterie Düsseldorf together with her sister Farishta. Lovingly assembled delicatessen and charcuterie boxes can be ordered here, where the love is in the detail: ‘We don’t just deliver foods, we showcase them. After all, the first bite is with the eye,’ explain the sisters.
The siblings pay great attention to supplying healthy foods and reducing waste to a minimum by using plastic-free packaging and biodegradable cardboard. They both put heart and soul into their company and always give 200%!
Farhat, your journey through Canada gave you the idea of the charcuterie concept and your attention to detail shows in your boxes. But what exactly fascinated you so much about food that you wanted to make it your career?
I worked for several years in the catering industry, from healthy food to frozen yoghurt and waffles and much more, and I’m simply a foodie. I love a wide range of food, especially when it’s served with love. When I saw the charcuterie concept for the first time, I knew straightaway that it was something I wanted to invest my time in. Even though it wasn't easy, because I had to learn everything from scratch. Someone like me who didn't grow up in the gastro scene needs a strong team that stands behind you and supports you - But the reach of social media platforms also helped us with our breakthrough.
How difficult was it to start a business in Germany – especially as a woman – and what would you do differently today?
It was unbelievably difficult. Working for others and starting your own business are two entirely different things. From day one, people advised us against starting a business. If I were to start a new business today, the first thing I’d do is work with a catering consultant and make sure I had a good tax advisor. These two people can bring you to the very highest level or drag you down.
And as for starting a business as a woman, yes, it’s a shame that even in this day and age, women aren’t taken seriously when it comes to business. If it’s tricky for a man to start a business, it’s even more difficult for a woman, as she has other problems to deal with.
And if the woman is an immigrant and has lived in Germany for only 12 years, it’s the most difficult job you can possibly imagine.
My advice to younger women who want to start a business is to surround yourself with good people, male or female. Accept that the path won’t be easy, but it is possible.
From your own research, you say that there’s no service of this type in Germany – but following your success, this has of course changed. How will you carve out a unique position for yourself in the future and how are you planning for this?
Yes, we were the first company to produce charcuterie boxes in Germany. Now, there are many, even in Düsseldorf or Cologne, who have started to offer exactly the same concept. But it doesn’t bother us because our own customers told us about them. This shows how loyal our customers are and they know the type of service we offer.
Customer service is a top priority for us. Our credo is: 24/7. Once a customer contacted me at 3 a.m. She urgently needed a box for the next morning. Of course I took the order and the box was delivered to her on time in the morning. She was surprised herself, but also very very grateful. This is how we can retain customers.
This year and next year, we’ll be concentrating more on how we reach our customers who don’t live in Düsseldorf, but who love our product and our service. We also want to further expand our catering offer and provide a beautiful presentation of our boxes there.
Charcuterie Düsseldorf offers lovingly assembled delicatessen and charcuterie boxes, including breakfast or brunch boxes, fruit boxes or sweet treats, each with added extras. There is also the option of having individual boxes created or adapting them to your own wishes, such as a halal, vegetarian or vegan diet. Only fresh and healthy ingredients are used, and they are supplied in plastic-free, biodegradable packaging.