What was the seed for what is now your food business?
We are a small family company from Siemiatycze from the voivodeship Podlasie. We produce and sell mushrooms and other food products to our customers. These include dried, marinated, salted mushrooms, cranberries, blueberries and quince (pear like fruits). In addition to this, we offer pickled cucumber varieties along with Jewish pickles.
Myself and my husband started our business on a small scale, with all processes being done by hand even packaging. As of today, all our products are available and sold throughout our region.
We sell locally and are well known in the region. We are also popular as employers, because we buy mushrooms from the whole region and hire ladies to work with us.
What has been the biggest challenge you have overcome or lesson you have learnt as a female food entrepreneur?
Due to the fact that the method of production of our products is based on traditional and regional recipes, in 2009 they were included in the list of traditional products. We obtained a certificate for this; ‘Bug River’ Traditional Mushrooms. It was very difficult to get certified, we worked very hard for it, partly at the expense of our private life but it has been worth it for our business. It was one of the biggest learnings for me so far.
What advice would you give to aspiring female food entrepreneurs?
Important advice for other women in business, you need to believe in yourself, do not listen to people who advise against setting up a female business. You do not need to dedicate your life only to your family despite what is seen through generations. In business, be honest and kind to people. Listen to the advice of experienced businesspeople and be open to learning from others.
If there was training available for you before you set up your business would you use it, or did you do any training.
I didn’t need a training as I learnt a lot growing up and took it all from my home, I learnt the technique and the recipes from my mother and from my grandmother.
If you were interested in engaging with training/further training what areas would be of most interest to you?
If I wanted to grow my business perhaps e-Commerce and English, but I’m happy the way it is now, we sell everything locally.