It is incredible to believe that my journey, full of many exciting events; business conundrums, battling the government on issues around food allergies, labelling of foods, winning awards, becoming an ambassador for two major allergy organisations, being on TV … has only been nine short years.
But those years have gone by very fast and here’s just a few of my thoughts as, this month, I celebrate Creative Nature’s 9th birthday.
1. I suffer from anaphylaxis, a condition that could kill me, and it can be triggered in an instant. Once my dad hugged me and was wearing a certain brand of aftershave and I went into anaphylactic shock. Luckily, he knew exactly what to do, however I still ended up in intensive care. Every time, I leave the house, I have to consider where I am going and what I’m going to face in terms of my allergies, and I never leave home without my Epi-pens! Now I speak up for others like me.
2. I took on, Creative Nature, this business when I was just 22. From our small beginnings I have continued to grow the company along with the support of my fiancé, Matt and my team to the very healthy turnover we now have. Even going through the pandemic, and the changes Brexit has brought about. I’m incredibly proud to be CN’s CEO.
3. The reason I took on Creative Nature is because there just wasn’t the food out there that I could safely eat. I am passionate about helping others who, like me suffer from allergies, so I’m continuing to create and find new and safe products. Alongside that, I am regularly involved in talking to the government about new allergy laws and issues. I’m now in a position where I can use my business acumen to talk to a wider audience.
4. My parents have both been a huge support to me. Mum, encouraged me to succeed in education, and Dad taught me some the key elements of running a business – particularly around accounts and finances, which went on to prepare me to running my own successful business, and remaining in business
5. I love eating sweet things – particularly chocolate. I’m sure those of you who follow our Instagram profile will notice how often I am photographed eating cakes! And you must have noticed how many of our products are chocolate based…However too much sugar is not good and we consider very carefully how much sugar goes into everything. We are addicted to sugar in the UK and this needs to change.
6. I actually turned down a dragon on the Dragon’s Den, on the BBC. I recognised it wasn’t the right path for me, but it did take some courage to say ‘no’. I wanted a more community feel to my business.
7. My mum works in the care sector, and also had Covid19 during last year. This made the pandemic more real to me that anything else, bringing it very close to home. This is also part of my reason for donating snacks to carers, NHS staff, and a local food Bank. I understood just how much people were giving of their lives during last year.
8. After Creative Nature won the FSB National Awards, I was invited to open the London Stock Exchange. I was so excited, as this was a moment I’ve always dreamed of. It isn’t every day that you get the opportunity to live your dream!
9. If someone tells me I can’t do something, I try harder – like the time I was told, I was ‘just a little girl and wouldn’t succeed’ – it was like a red rag to a bull! I’m determined and have persistence. I hope they’ve noticed that I’ve proved them wrong. Just look where my business is today, nine years on! Where will it go next?