Celebrating female founders this International Women's Day
By Emilie, Founder of Good & Proper
I'm sure most people know that running a business is tough, or at least they know it isn't easy. But I won't be the first to go one step further and say that nothing can prepare you for the emotional rollercoaster that is the evolution of an idea, your baby, into a functioning, operational business, nor for when that business grows up and has to not only survive but also continue to grow while juggling all of the responsibilities that come along with it.
However big or small your business, you'll be doing everything from managing people and each of their careers to navigating the pinchy (and at times terrifying) moments of cashflow, from making critical decisions at pace on a daily basis to reviewing, reporting on and analysing numbers, artwork, design...In short, every single thing the business does, you worry about. Needless to say, that takes up a lot of headspace, and because it's your business and not just a job, there's an added layer of emotion across it all. You want to get everything right, and all of it, however small the detail, matters. I am not sharing this rather bleak picture (!) to simply put anyone off taking that leap of faith with their own idea (I could also talk at length about the excitement of building something from the bottom up). I wanted to share it because knowing what I know about running Good & Proper (and now doing so with two small children alongside) has left me certain that being a female founder is a unique experience. I am lucky enough to have benefited from the time and support of many women over the years in the same boat - building businesses, nurturing brands, sweating the details...and I am endlessly inspired by each and every one of them.
SO with that in mind, here is one particular group of fellow female founders I am lucky enough to be on a What's App group with that I wanted to celebrate today. A What's App group might not sound significant, but each of them is, like me, running a food & drink business as a sole founder and on that group we share every high and low that each of us goes through, however big or small. From sharing advice on raising investment to ranting about a customer complaint that ruins your day, asking how to pitch the right margin to retailers to shouting about why the couriers keep showing up late. It's the stuff you are absorbed by, but yet can't bore your family or friends with. And sure, there are sometimes more messages than any of us can get through on a busy day (!) but when you need it, it's there and I think I'm right in saying that for all of us, it's a great support. They are working hard building some of the finest food and drink businesses in the UK, so Happy International Women's Day to them - please go discover the delicious things they make.
Adrienne - Crown & Queue
Created as a labour of love by Adrienne Eiser Treeby in 2014, Crown & Queue Meats strives to create dry cured sausages and prepared meats that showcase the exceptional foods that are grown, reared, brewed and conceived of here in London, England.
"We have amazing pigs, fantastic herbs, great beer and delicious wine – so why go elsewhere for ingredients or inspirationWe have amazing pigs, fantastic herbs, great beer and delicious wine – so why go elsewhere for ingredients or inspiration?"
Hedie - Husk & Honey
A trip to Brazil started it all, when founder Hedié was greeted morning after morning with bowls of fruit atop handfuls of fresh, hand-made, crunchy granola. These little bowls made such an impact that back home in London she continued to bake the granola that reminded her of Rio - Husk & Honey was born.
Hedié sources their grains with a focus on provenance and selects the nuts, seeds and fruit for flavour - "It is our belief that the best foods begin with excellent ingredients". These are blended with a touch of wildflower honey (no added refined sugars at all), roasted, cooled and processed.
Ros - Borough Broth Co.
Borough Broth Co. was founded by Ros Heathcote in 2015, out of a love for slow, patient cooking with simple organic ingredients. Since then, they have been making the finest Organic Bone Broths from their London kitchen using only local, British bones, spring water, simple organic vegetables and a few carefully selected seasonings.
Never ones to skimp on quality, they source all their ingredients from reputable organic uk farmers, producers and suppliers and their bone broths contain a high ratio of bones to water, which are gently simmered for up to 24-hours without the use of pesticides, preservatives or cheap flavour replacements. The result is a mighty delicious punch of meaty goodness that’s packed full of protein and natural collagen.
Florence - The Pickle House
Florence started The Pickle House after a trip to New York where she was first introduced to the idea of drinking pickle juice in a Pickleback. A shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice. As a huge fan of pickles she’d never thought about drinking the leftover brine, but once she had, she was hooked and wanted to find a way to bring it back to London.
A few months later she launched The Pickle House Original Pickle Juice. Bartenders were using it to create some of the most exciting, umami enriched cocktails, Picklebacks, and some seriously good Bloody Marys. It was then she decided to launch their Spiced Tomato Mix. A ready to go mix, only using the best ingredients, allowing everyone and anyone to create consistently great quality and delicious Bloody Marys, every time.
They now produce their two award winning drinks on Florence’s grandparents farm in Suffolk using locally sourced ingredients. And in 2019 Florence published “Pickle Juice” a book with over 50 exciting cocktails and health drinks selling internationally.
Ama - Lucocoa
Amarachi Clarke founded Lucocoa in 2015 after realising that there was no breadth or depth of offering in a market dominated by poor quality chocolate.
Discovering that cacao, just like wine and coffee, delivers intricate flavours when correctly roasted, but that the market instead chose to sell over roasted and emulsified blends of bulk generic cacao, she decided to do something about it by making chocolate from bean to bar removing all nasties and not using refined sugar, opting for unrefined coconut sugar and lucuma a fruit from Peru instead.
Louise - LA Brewery
Louise Avery is the founder of L.A Brewery, a sustainable non-alcoholic brewery based in Suffolk. Inspired by her Hebrides upbringing, a love for foraging and food & drink, Louise began brewing kombucha & supplying local restaurants before it was commercially available in the U.K. Louise published her 1st book (Kombucha, 2016) on homebrewing with a focus on using seasonal, local ingredients.
Nicola - Single Variety Co
Nicola started Single Variety Co from her home kitchen in London back on 2016. Determined to create the very best tasting fruit preserves and chilli jams she travelled to nearby fruit and chilli farms to find the tastiest varieties to use. Everything she makes showcases just one single variety, using much more fruit and less sugar than traditional jams so they all taste fantastic.
Last year Nicola moved both family and work to Bristol, setting up their brand new jam factory in the city. As well as core favourites such as Passionfruit Preserve and Jalapeño Jam they now make seasonal flavours throughout the year, right now the Harbinger Rhubarb Preserve is top seller- made using fresh Yorkshire Rhubarb sourced from a fourth generation rhubarb farm in Yorkshire.
Zoe - ButterNut of London
Zoe was inspired to create ButterNut of London as a result of her life-long passion for peanut butter.
Inspired by her home city of London; its fusion of cultures and global flavours, and her love of food Zoe crafts daring flavour combinations and delivers them up in sensational nutty pleasures.
Terri - Happy Endings
Founded in 2014 by YBF Baking Award Winner Terri Mercieca, Happy Endings has turned the London dessert scene on its head. Their ice cream sandwiches and soft-serve combine modern and traditional techniques to create desserts that are bold in flavour, temper sweetness with savoury and balance textures. Liek Terri herself, the business is built on fun and quality, not just in the food they produce and service they provide, but also in the relationships they build.
‘I want our desserts to give people a fun and delicious moment to themselves, to feel too good to think about anything else. You're opening that packet of ice cream sandwich joy, and what you’re getting, along with those dreamy creamy flavours and textures, is a whole lot of love and care for you, our supply chain and the environment.”
Natasha - Urban Cordial
Bored of working in the city, Chief Juicer Natasha started to forage for ingredients in her allotment and turn them into cordials. In effort to to source the best ingredients, whilst at the same time fighting the global issue of food waste, Natasha contacted local farms to ask if they had surplus produce… and they did! Fast forward a few years and Urban Cordial has helped to save over 30 tonnes of fruit from landfill. Each flavour is made in small batches to create cordials bursting with rich, ripe and real flavour. The Pear & Ginger Cordial is our favourite.