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Name: Hollie Newbould

Business: Sweet Umami, healthy meal delivery service

Industry: Food & Beverage 

Location: Tonbridge, England, United Kingdom

Reason for starting: I’ve always been a keen cook, but weight gain and the birth of my son really concentrated my interest in the quality of food that we buy – especially from supermarkets. I realised that it was extremely difficult to buy convenience food that contained enough fruit and vegetables per serving to make up an ‘ideal plate’ nutritionally speaking. Then I realised I didn’t really use enough when I cooked either, but I’ve never been a fan of tasteless ‘healthy’ options. I saw it as a challenge. I was already a competent cook, so I taught myself how to make food that was properly balanced and then wanted to share it. It’s been quite a journey so far.

Related: Read about another Food and Beverage entrepreneur here. 

How do you define success? Success in business is different from success personally, but for me there is one key factor they both have in common: uniting many perspectives or kinds of people. Being able to find a (profitable) middle space where diverse lifestyles and tastes converge would mean success.

Biggest Success: When I first launched my business in September last year, I was lucky enough to be able to showcase our food at Parliament for a Taste of Hastings event. We had some pretty impressive figures through the door and the feedback was uniformly positive – we even managed to get some of the more traditional MPs to try our raw pizza and agree it was ‘surprisingly delicious’!

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? At the moment, our top challenge is getting our recently launched crowdfunding campaign funded. Since we began full trading in November last year, our gourmet fresh meal delivery service has been steadily growing. As part of my ongoing research into interesting and different ways to prepare and think about nutritious food, I came across fermenting and quickly began regularly including them in our clients’ deliveries. The feedback was so overwhelmingly positive that I decided to test the wider market by launching a crowdfunding appeal. Additionally, I’d say that there’s nothing more challenging that keeping going day after day, one foot in front of the other, even when it doesn’t look like much is happening. Having glamorous milestones is helpful, but it won’t bring the customers in. Consistency and persistence will do that.

Bringing up a young child and starting a business at the same time means I am constantly weighing up where I spend my time. Until now, I have chosen to spend at least half with him, but he’ll be going to school in September so that’s about to change. Additionally, my husband lost his source of income about halfway into my project, so we had to slow things down while I also undertook some paying work to make ends meet. It’s always a balancing act.

Related: 4 Tips for Growing Your Business 

Who is your most important role model? I have several, and they are all people that I know rather than a public figurehead because I believe that unless you actually know someone what you can learn from them is always going to be limited. One of my most influential role models is Olivia, a former employer, client and friend. She’s a senior executive and a powerful leader. The loyalty she inspires in her team is awesome. Another is Cheryl, a friend and successful writer whose tenacity and talent have shown me just how hard it really is to succeed no matter how talented you are, and just how possible that success can be. Finally, Carrie. She has taught me the power of consistency – the keeping going that I mentioned earlier – as well as self-reliance. She’s also shown me the sheer depth of insight it is possible to access simply by making the effort to properly understand and appreciate other people’s perspectives. 

Twitter   @sweetumamiuk 

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Edited by The Story Exchange