My name’s Vanessa and I was part of the second cohort from the Hatch Program.
When I first encountered the Hatch program, I already had created an award winning confectionery brand that was stocked in a number of delis and was in the food hall at Selfridges for a limited amount of time. I was at a point where I knew my product was popular but could no longer operate it as I had done until then, on my own with help from friends. My cash flow was a big problem, pricing and general supply chain caused many problems not only in terms of efficiency but long term viability.
The different workshops offered clarity in terms of all the elements I needed to handle beyond the actual manufacturing but made me realise that I’m running a sales machine that needs oiling with the help of resources: human, financial etc.
Being matched with my mentor – Audrey Khoo – really helped my decision-making process. I was able to really sit down and flesh-out every single aspect of the business, especially finances which happened to be the most difficult part for me in handling the business. We went through the cash-flow statement, forecast, every single cost and these cold-hard evidence helped me pivot in the right direction. I only had a number of solutions when it came to sustaining and growing the business and the support helped me choose the right one.
The on-going support from Hatch is what is really unique. I’ve been on programs and although they were great, the follow-up is rarely there. However, the entire Hatch team has become like a family that actually really cares about the growth of my business. They often check-in, share and support our endeavours with their network and whenever there’s something that might be of interest, they include the graduates. A sense of community is what I take away, like minded people that are cheering for me and are in my corner.
At the moment, I’m still promoting my cookery book, Creole Kitchen, which was published back in June by Pavilion. It’s a collection of more than 100 recipes from the French Caribbean, which I hail from. It’s been very well received and will also be released internationally. I recently produced a series of cookery videos and have been commissioned by a few brands to do recipe development and some filming around their products.
I’ve launched my culinary/cultural tour in the Caribbean that stem from the pop-up culinary events I organised across London. I’m taking a group of people to Guadeloupe in November for a whole week and I’ll be their guide on how to eat like a local and learn about the history and culture of the island. It’s going to be fantastic. From this I also received a request for a private tour with a bespoke program from two bloggers that have a specific interest in Caribbean culture, fashion and music in addition to food. I will connect them with the local scene and also guide them in their visit.
My 3 challenges are:
- Being relevant and offering value to the marketplace
- Identifying which opportunities are worth considering
- Still have fun while doing it all