What was your lightbulb moment?
I initially launched G’nosh after working in the City for 16 years, which in the end did not inspire me. I took a leap of faith by combining two of my greatest loves, food and business. I decided to give a southern hemisphere lilt to the rather staid and traditional dips market in the UK and launched my dips line, which has gone on to win awards and gain a cult following.
I have always been passionate about serving great tasting food and throwing dinner parties for friends. I love to cook – it is very creative and immediately satisfying.
Was it a hard decision to leave your corporate job to start a business?
I became a mother and I began to feel unfulfilled in my job in the City as it became harder to achieve the work/life balance that I wanted. And I was itching to follow my entrepreneurial dream. I wanted to do something I felt really passionate about and have the freedom to manage my own time, on my terms, so that I could be doing something that I love and have more time to spend with loved ones.
What inspires you?
I am driven by modern eating. Seeing a trend for time-poor office workers, busy mums and clock-watching gourmands wanting the very best in varied ingredients, I wanted to create everyday simple food that captures this upsurge in the joy in eating, celebrating different flavours and ingredients from around the world.
As a mother of two, how you maintain a healthy work/life balance?
I think women are really looking for that work/life balance, they don’t want to work in a rigid environment anymore. If you’re a working mum, you have to juggle a lot of responsibilities – children, a career, the home and relationships. You need flexibility and unfortunately not all workplaces can be that accommodating.
One of the things I prize most about my work is the flexibility it gives me. I’m working as hard as ever, but I now manage my own diary, which means I can spend more time with my children. I also make time for myself, making sure I kickbox regularly – exercise keeps me going.
What’s been the best piece of business advice you have received?
Stay focused. As a founder of a business, the creative mind is always going off piste and it’s easy to get involved in too many projects. The key to success is keeping focused on where the biggest impact will be.
What’s been the most difficult moment in the business journey?
The biggest challenge I’ve encountered has to be when it comes to outsourcing manufacturing – it is by far the most challenging beast in the food production business. There have been many learnings and mistakes on my journey of working with manufacturing partners in the UK. I have come back from it with a lot of grit, trying and testing many things and finally finding the right manufacturing partner that is the right strategic fit for the business and our growth plans.
I had to throw myself into the deep world of suppliers, technical certifications, learning what makes buyers tick, factories and large-scale food processing. No matter how many business plans you do, there is always going to be that proverbial curve ball that will turn your plan on its head.
And the most rewarding moment?
The job gives me fantastic opportunities to be creative, being able to develop new flavours, packaging and recipes. Working for yourself is extremely tough but it’s never boring. It’s exciting all the time and every day is a new adventure.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting their own business?
Coaching new startups on their road to building their brand is an important part of my working life. I am proud to have mentored some new challenger brands from idea to the shelf such as Cuckoo Foods, Rebel Kitchen, Plenish Cleanse, Mallow & Marsh and Pip & Nut. Sharing my learnings and helping accelerate their growth plans is very rewarding.
If someone wants to make a change, I would tell them to act now and not to wait. It’s a cliché but it’s true. If you keep waiting then it will never happen. Validate and get feedback all the time along your development journey. Do not be afraid to ask for people’s opinions, whether that be customers, buyers, retailers or friends.
Charlotte Knight is the founder and managing director of G’nosh
This post was brought http://www.theguardian.com/
Read the full story here