Posted: March 13, 2023 By Kieran Darmody

Lemon Tree Deli Owner, Trish, Shares her Experiences as a Female Founder

We spoke to Trish, owner of Lemon Tree Deli, about her journey starting her own business and the importance of listening to your gut, being persistent, and believing in your business. She also talks about alternative funding options for entrepreneurs who face challenges with traditional banks.

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What made you want to start your own business? 

When I was 22, my husband had a business and came from an entrepreneurial family – he was going to set up a coffee shop and had multiple other shops, so I just said oh I’ll do that because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. After having children, I wanted to go back to work because I was bored, and I ended up going to help my husband with his food business. I was only meant to go in to help sort out the accounting, but I ended up running that business for 20 odd years.  

The business I currently run is a deli that we started in the middle of lockdown. We try and do everything homemade to a really high standard and with a focus on excellent customer service and great food. We have a delivery van, click and collect and delivery, and online postal brownies that we sell across the UK.  

What has been the greatest challenge of owning and running your own business? 

Managing the people. And the finance. Riding all the ups and downs, major recession, constantly having to raise money to move forward.  

Only 32% of businesses are run by women, have you found any particular obstacles because of your gender?  

No. Never have. Prelude (my toiletries business) was a big company, selling to major suppliers and even then, all those years ago, I didn’t have a problem. In a lot of ways, I think it was a benefit being female. The environment was more female led – the buyers were often female. And if there was a man, they liked having a woman to deal with so you could play both sides.  

Did you find it difficult to access funding and if so, why? 

In general, accessing funding has been challenging. The banks want a 5-year business plan and the whole process is long and complex and often there’s a ‘computer says no’ response. My experience with Liberis was very easy and quick. They looked at my card transactions and based it off that without me having to jump through hoops and submit endless paperwork.  

What do you think puts female founders off getting funding? Is it a wider business issue or depends by industry?  

Fear of rejection is probably the biggest issue. It can be disheartening to anyone who is trying to grow their business and if they don’t feel that the support is there they may feel like the only option is to give up. 

You need to persevere and not give up. If you believe in your business, it will thrive! There are so many alternative funding options out there like Liberis that will be more than willing to help if larger banks won’t. 

What advice would you give women just starting in business, or wanting to take the leap into opening their own business? 

Don’t do it. No, only joking. Listen to your gut. Women are very good at the softer side of things, which is important when managing people. And they’re good at the detail too. If you’ve done your research, don’t be frightened of anything. You can do as well as anyone else. You’ve got lots of good things in your armoury that maybe men don’t have. Having a role model really helps as well. Especially for things like big finance questions. 

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