Nicki Stewart

Background

I started my first company aged 18, the company was a B2B company selling office products. The company was a success and I sold my shareholding in 2005. Our daughter was born following my departure and I spent 5 years at home. During this period I set up a corporate gift company, supplying unique, bespoke food gifts and hampers to business customers and consumers. A successful venture, which was to lead to the start up of Diverse Fine Food Limited, the distribution division of the company. Joined by my husband Mark Wiltshire, we set the distribution division up in 2013. It is now a thriving company, selling quality unique, artisan food products into UK and Europe’s independent food retailers.

What skills can you bring as a mentor?

During my 11 years in the food industry, I have gained a wealth of experience, particularly in the artisan, small producer sector. I began sourcing quality, unique products from the launch of Diverse Hampers. I understand the requirements of independent food retailers and have an idea of what they are looking for in a product, I am able to offer advice on individual products, taking all important elements into consideration and offering guidance.

What do you think makes the difference between a good business and a brilliant business?

There are many factors to making a brilliant business of course, having a USP, understanding margins and costs, having great partnerships with both customers and suppliers, the list is long, but if you understand what is needed, then you are in a good position to deliver.

If you had your time again in business, what would you do differently?

To be honest, I would not change my history in business, my forte lies with the SME sector and I feel comfortable in this area. I like to make decisions and have them implemented immediately – a little impatient by my own admission. I’m a risk taker, but I could have probably taken a few more risks in business. Sometimes you need to take a leap of faith and believe in yourself!

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Co-Founder, Diverse Fine Food