Interview with Monique Treder from Happetite Foods
When I heard about Monique and her business I just had to learn more about her, so excited she was keen to take part in this Inspiring Mum blog interview series and help me bring the highs and lows of juggling kids and creating/growing a business.
Monique is mother of 3 and has created Happetite Food Gifts, once you have read her interview you just have to go check out her links!!
1. What is your Why? What motivated you to get into business?
Three moments in my life made me take the leap to start up Happetite Food.
I was living overseas at the time when my second child was born, 13 months after my first. It was a very challenging time for me being away from family and friends support network and struggling with post-natal mental health issues. Someone I hardly knew turned up at my door with a home cooked meal and some baked treats and I was blown away. A bit overtired and very emotional I ended up in tears. I was overwhelmed at the impact a gesture like this could have on me. This memory has stuck with me forever.
The second moment was when one of my friends who was also living overseas at the time was running between her home and a hospital – due to her husband experiencing heart failure, fighting to hold onto his life She was exhausted trying to be there for her husband during this time while also keeping it together for her two young children. She was falling apart and as I was not there I felt useless and wanted to be able to help – I wanted to send her food so that she could take the time to nurture herself and remain strong to support her family, but there was just nothing available out there that offered that. I wanted to provide something that was practical, and at the same time, something that would help eliminate the daily stresses often experienced during tough times.
When I moved back to Sydney, my grandfather passed away and I witnessed my grandmother’s house overflowing with flowers and wreaths – as if it were a florist rather than a home. I remember seeing vase after vase, wreath after wreath. There were just so many flowers. But when I opened her fridge, it was empty. Coming from an Italian family, not having food in the fridge was shockingly foreign, I knew first hand from my family and experiences that nourishing food was the one thing my grandmother needed to get her through this time of mourning. That was the pivotal moment when I knew I had to transform Happetite Food from a dream into a reality.
I had no idea what I was doing ( and still don’t most days!!) but I felt passionate about starting up Happetite and helping others going through similar situations and just decided to give it a go.”
2. What are some of the challenges/obstacles you have had to overcome?
So many challenges, so many things to learn and so many hats to wear.
I wont sugar coat it, it is not easy and it has to be a passion to keep you going through the tough days.
At first I had to educate myself in the world of food regulations, transport and risks. So many people told me not to do it, but I am a strong willed person and had a fire burning inside of me to get this business up and running and that motivation and pure adrenalin got me through it.
I struggle on a daily basis with the many different areas you need to be knowledgable in. IT, websites, food, regulations, risks, insurances, social media and accounts just to name a few. Talk about many hats. Some of the best advice my dad gave me was to figure out what you are good at in business and do that. It was really valuable advice and I can slowly put some of that into place now but in the beginning starting out on a shoestring budget you need to be the expert in all areas. As the business starts to grow I can now outsource certain parts of it that I don’t enjoy (ahem bookkeeping) to someone else who is much better and much faster at it than me so I can focus on the areas I am better at. There is still a long way to go with this.
3. What did you worry about most when you started your business?
* That I wouldn’t be able to show people what I was trying to achieve.
* That I would be lost amongst the other offerings of food delivery services that you send to yourself and that people wouldn’t quite understand the sentiment of the gift. I have worked through that now and often say to people that we are an alternative to sending flowers rather than a food gift company as many people got confused with the Hello fresh, marley spoons of the workd and as a tiny start up business on a shoestring I cannot compete with these giants.
4. How do you find the juggle of kids and a business?
It is really challenging. I have a 7,6 and 18 month old. All boys and all very active. Some days I feel like super woman and get lots done and other days my kids eat cheese on toast for dinner and I have cheese and crackers. I have learnt that I am just one person and can only achieve so much in a day/ week and that baby steps are still progress. My kids come first, I love Happetite like a child but I never want to regret not being there for my kids as they grow up so quickly.
I have a very supportive husband who understands I need to work at nights and some weekends. I ensure that the time I get without kids around I am super productive and time efficient and don’t let myself get distracted. I know these times are precious and I set myself daily tasks that I need to achieve and keep social media and my phone off during this time to achieve these tasks. The Mummy and kids juggle is hard but I am grateful that I can have a little bit of both. I try and celebrate the accomplishments along the way, try not to take the tough stuff too personally and ensure that I get some time to myself (even if that is just a walk along the beach or a longer shower to wash my hair!)
My kids understand what I do and I hope that someday it will show them that they should aim for whatever they are passionate about. I don’t think we are quite there yet.
5. How do you prioritise/ block out work time when working from home?
I have my notes folder that I carry with me at all times and each morning (work days) I set myself the tasks that I need to acheieve that day. I turn my emails off, don’t check social media and don’t take personal calls. It seems a little extreme but it is the only way I can get my tasks done. I set myself a time for each task, set the timer and aim to get it done in that time. After the timer goes off I get a break and start the next one. I find it works well for me and helps me be more efficient as I know how much time I can lose surfing the internet and unfortunately I don’t have this luxury.
6. What has been a game changer for you in your business?
I think for me it has been the realisation that most businesses take a long time to get noticed and succeeed. When I first started up I honestly thought I would be an overnight success (probably most people do when they start a business), that Happetite would be “found” and I would have a warehouse and be running a team of people in no time. I have realised that for me, my journey is a little slower but the organic growth has been a great opportunity for me to tap into my customers, improve the business and grow personally.
I have had a few amazing moments, winning the CGU small business award and signing my first Corporate preferred supplier deal. These have been very special moments but I have realised that the amazing feedback I get from my customers is really invaluable and is the most important information to help me grow my business. This year that is my focus, my customers are the ones that can help with giving my business direction and constantly improving. I am grateful to them for giving me a go and for their invaluable feedback.
7. What do you think is the biggest barrier most ambitious mums face?
I think with most mums it is a case of confidence, believing in themselves and not taking notice of negative feedback. If you truly believe in your product/ service then you should just go for it. My attitude when I started Happetite was, lets give it a go for a couple of years. If it doesn’t work out then I will have learnt so much in that time then that knowledge is worthwhile anyway. Let your passion drive you, it will not be easy but it will be worthwhile.
8. What tips do you have for other mums wanting to start a business?
Do your due diligence. Who are your competitors? What is your offering, how are you different, how long can you afford to not make money for?
Get a great support network. I have tapped into a few different mentors along the way and they have been and still area amazingly helpful.
Set goals – what does success look like? Set little goals and celebrate when you achieve them. I recall meeting a friend who acted as a mentor for me and shouted me lunch when the website launched. He said “ many people have the ideas but only a very few actually get to this stage in the business, celebrate it”.
Network – starting up a business can be challenging and lonely. It is great to hear about other business mums that have been through or are going through similar challenges to you. It makes you feel better to be around people you can relate to and help out along the way.
Good luck x
Thank you so much Monique for sharing an insight into your highs and lows as a business owner and juggling 3 kids.
If you would like to learn more about this business please check out the links below