We are delighted to introduce you to one of our Women’s Business School graduates Faith Forster, founder of Thank Fork.
When did you start your business?
We started working on the idea in April (the day I started the Women’s Business School program) and launched in September 2020.
What was the inspiration behind starting this business?
I had had pregnancy related diabetes while pregnant with my now almost 4 year old twins, and suffered from pre-diabetes since. It had become a real battle to maintain enough energy to get through every single day. When the opportunity for a redundancy came up at work, I took it so I could have a break and focus on my health. Around the same time I came across a plant-based diet, which is the only way that is known to reverse the effects of diabetes. I shifted to a plant-based diet, but found it really hard to change everything I had known about how to cook and eat food, and incredibly time consuming cooking 4 meals/ day out of a recipe book as well as meals for the family. As a plant-based is one of the biggest food trends in over a decade, due to both the health and environmental benefits, I thought why not make this easier for people?
What are you most excited about in your business?
After 6 months of the usual startup difficulties, I can now see a path to growth. We’ve just invested in our own commercial kitchen, and give us a lot more flexibility. Because of this, we’re about to start branching beyond our meal kits and eCommerce sales into ready-to-eat meals through Deliveroo/ Uber Eats/ Menu Log and also food markets.
What has been the most challenging thing about starting your business?
The kitchen. We’ve had a nightmare run – 6 kitchens in 6 months. It has been incredibly distracting and created a lot of bad emotional energy. Now that we have the stability of our own kitchen, we can put that energy into more positive things, like growing the business.
What advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a business?
It’s not easy. This is my second startup, and I’ve also been an advisor for many other startups. There are things that you can do to help your business get on the best possible path from the beginning, like being very clear on what problem you are solving and who, specifically, for. But there is no getting around the fact that in the first 12 months there is still a lot to discover to get your business model right. This can take up a lot of time, energy and money. Many women start their own business with the intention of having more flexibility and work-life balance, and then are surprised to find they are working harder than they ever have.
Why did you choose to do the Women’s Business School Programs?
To create some discipline to actually get started, And also create an opportunity to reflect on what didn’t go right with my first startup and put myself and this business in a better position second time around.
What did you enjoy the most about being part of the program?
I loved that it started with a reflection on my purpose and the purpose of the business.
I found the program was very holistic in its consideration of normally quite dry topics eg. for the finance module, instead of just focusing on the numbers, we had a discussion about how to maintain a positive or growth-orientated mindset to allow space for financial abundance. It’s a much more powerful way to think about business. I also enjoyed the opportunity to work with or collaborate with some many other women running businesses. Without really realising it, I had always worked in male dominated industries, and so I found the discussion with women about what it meant to be in business and how to handle challenges quite refreshing.
Which module was the most helpful and why?
The first module on purpose was perfectly timed for me, as I was just starting to think about what business I wanted to create. There were loads of useful practical tips in other sessions as well eg. marketing, finance, social media etc. I found the discussions with women running successful businesses very inspiring/ helpful – it’s always great to chat with women who have done the hard yards as well.
How did the program help you in your business?
I launched the business about 5 months in to the 6 month program, so a lot of it was about setting us up well.
What has been the best thing about starting your own business?
I’ve created a business and a product that I am incredibly proud of. We get incredibly positive feedback from our customer eg. on average our customers rate us 9.1/10 for taste, 9.6/10 for ease of preparation and 9.2/10 for presentation (which includes our compostable packaging).
Would you recommend the Women’s Business School to other women starting a business? Why?
Yes. It’s a great way to get support, learn some valuable lessons to help your business, and take better care of yourself as well.
What’s happening next in your business?
We’re about to make our incredible food available as ready-to-eat through deliveroo/ uber eats/ menu log, as well as at food markets. This will hopefully provide us with the insight (and revenue) to start planning to open our first food store. I’m also really excited about the improvements we’re making to our environmental impact. We’ve just started our collection service to pick up reusable packaging, we are currently working with our landlords to install solar power and are applying for a government grant to buy a commercial composter so we can collect and compost our compostable packaging for our customers as well. This will make us the first zero waste food service (to the best of my knowledge).
What are your big plans for the future?
We are working towards opening our own food stores that demonstrate plant-based food can be as good as, if not better, than the alternative.
To learn more about Thank Fork, please visit the website, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.
Applications for the award-winning Women’s Business School Accelerator program are now open!
Follow the link to apply today: https://womensbusinessschool.lpages.co/wbs/