Carlos Bagrie is one of the founders of My Food Bag – a local run-away success,
reputed to be one of New Zealand’s fastest growing businesses. Carlos looks after
the brand, marketing and creative stuff for both My Food Bag and high profile
celebrity chef, and wife, Nadia Lim. The My Food Bag concept is based on the
home delivery of food parcels containing all ingredients needed for a week’s main
meals together with simple, healthy and delicious recipes. Carlos was introduced
to business and entrepreneurship when he participated in the Young Enterprise
Scheme at high school. Carlos is a firm believer that business should be taught in
schools and is hugely supportive of Young Enterprise.
First off, what sort of student were you at school?
I think it would be fair to say I was a good all-rounder. I was one of those kids
who’d do well across all classes but never excelled in one specific subject. The only
exception was chemistry – I felt this was a nonsense subject that never made sense
and my grades reflected that. I studied everything from history to horticulture and
economics to English. I needed variety or I’d get bored.
What was your YES team at James Hargest and what
did you guys sell?
We sold handmade Rimu bookends – made from recycled
timber shaped into a koru with a paua shell insert. We aptly
named ourselves ‘Paua to the People’. To be fair the product
looked beautiful and was easy enough to sell, it just proved
terribly labour intensive. Had we not roped in various friends
and family to help on the production line, we’d never have
What did you enjoy most about doing YES?
I loved the course from start to finish – quite possibly the best
thing I did at high school. I loved selling product and talking
to customers. I loved marketing, the promotion and watching
the team bond. Most of all I loved the thrill of watching all the
planning come together.
What did you learn through doing the YES programme?
The most important thing I learnt was that I enjoyed business – we
had an excellent teacher and I still remember in the very first class
she taught us about ‘entrepreneurs’. I remember thinking that would
be a hell of a title to put on a business card!
Tell us about your role at My Food Bag?
I head up the marketing and branding at My Food Bag. My official
title is Group Creative Director – which is a fancy way of saying I
like things to look good and work well. Specifically I work on our
marketing strategy, advertising, products and special projects that
tickle my fancy.
How did you end up working in marketing?
Studying marketing at university felt like a natural choice. I paired
my commerce degree with a bachelor of science in psychology. I
wanted to learn more about consumer behaviour. After university I
learnt the marketing ropes at a corporate before taking the plunge
Has your experience with YES influenced your career path and
where you are now?
Undoubtedly yes. I think I’d have found my own direction over
time, but YES helped fast track this. Through the programme, I
was given confidence in myself and my ideas at an early age. I
grew to have an avid interest in business concepts and models,
in people and industry. I doubt I’d have been exposed to this until
much later otherwise.
What do you love about working for My Food Bag?
Everything! We have an amazing ‘A Grade’ team who are incredibly
focused and driven to make things happen. We are a very fast paced
business so no two days will ever being the same. I find that I’m
always learning, always being pushed to try new ways of doing things
and new ways of thinking. Oh, and having a huge test kitchen in the
heart of the office with Nadia Lim at the helm makes for exciting work
In your experience, what do you think is the most important
skill to have in the business world?
Remaining customer focused and concentrating on what the market
needs and where the market is heading!
Any advice for young entrepreneurs?
Focus on a providing a (scalable) solution to a genuine market pain.■