Planning is the key to a good crowdfunding campaign, according to siblings and innovative restaurateurs, Emeka and Ifeyinwa Frederick.

Chuku's founders Emeka and Ifeyinwa

Following their fruitful crowdfunding campaign, the brother and sister duo are to give a permanent home in autumn 2019 to Chuku’s  – the world’s first Nigerian tapas restaurant.

Emeka, 29, and Ifeyinwa, 27, are bringing Chuku’s to Tottenham after a series of successful pop-ups across London over the last three years.

The £36,000 raised through crowdfunding comes after they received Start Up Loans from Virgin StartUp, with the money going straight into a pot to give Chuku’s a permanent spot in bustling North London.

And with the successful campaign fresh in her memory, Ifeyinwa says the key was planning.

She said: “Plan, plan, plan. I don’t think people can overestimate how much planning it takes. You really need to have thought about everything.

“It’s all about momentum, and it takes a lot of energy. And remember that the business can’t stop running during the campaign.”

Emeka added: “Building your tribe beforehand is really important. We had a big mailing list and a good group of followers, so we had an audience we could immediately start speaking to. They can be your voice and amplify your message during your campaign. Lean on them – they are the people you are doing it for.”

Chuku’s success will be down to its niche, using food as the pull factor. But it won’t be simply experiencing the different flavours of caramel kuli kuli chicken, plantain waffles or jollof quinoa that will be helping to drive people through its doors. The duo are hoping to sprinkle the warmth of Nigerian culture and Chuku’s ‘chop, chat, chill’ magic on the people of London, too.

Emeka said: “We grew up in a superbly diverse community and it was nice to share in other people’s cultures. But we saw that Nigerian food wasn’t readily available in London and so we wanted to have our own Nigerian restaurant to change that.

“Then after university, I went to live in Spain and then Ifeyinwa went to live in Martinique for a bit. We saw ‘warm’, hospitable environments which London didn’t seem to necessarily have, and which reminded us of the warmth of Nigerian hospitality from our heritage. So, when we got back to London, we thought we’d bring the Nigerian food and culture together – and that’s where our ‘chop, chat, chill’ message came from. Chop is the food, chat is the social element and chill is the vibrancy. It’s almost as if you are whisked away from London and into Lagos.”

Chuku's food

Running a business with a sibling comes with some ground rules, though.

Ifeyinwa said: “I don’t think about it as going into business with my brother. I’m in business with the right person.

“Though the fact that we are siblings is a key factor. We know each other well and trust each other. We had all our arguments growing up so now we don’t argue.

“Right at the start of this, we came up with some rules around the business. One was to keep it fun, and the other was to spend time together when we don’t necessarily have to talk about the business.”

Emeka said: “We have always worked well together, even as kids growing up. Our first project was reciting all the words of Cool Runnings to our mum.

“And whilst we are a family business, it’s just me and Ifeyinwa. It’s not like a traditional family business where everyone is involved, so if we go to family events we don’t just sit around talking about Chuku’s – no-one would want that.”

Find out more information about how Virgin StartUp can help you crowdfund through our intensive CrowdBoost programme.