In honour of woman’s month, we sat down with owner and founder of The Harvest Table, Catherine Clark, to chat to her about her experience of being a female entrepreneur.

What made you decide to start The Harvest Table?

When I was 20 years old, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is a cancer of the lymph. I underwent traditional treatment including radiation etc, but it really made me re-look at how I live my life and what it means to be whole and healthy. I realised that diet was an important part of that, as well as looking after my mind, my soul, and my body. And so, it started… that was 20 years ago when I started this journey of investigating the power of good nutrition and what those essential building blocks were that I needed to nourish my body with to achieve health and wellness.

The more I delved into it, the more I realized the products I wanted to include in my own diet weren’t available locally. I started looking overseas to source products that were additive, flavourant and preservative free. I am passionate about empowering others to lead healthy full lives as well and thus The Harvest Table was born. So really, it came about from a personal passion and a desire to improve my own health and that of my family, but also very much driven by wanting to see other people empowered to live healthy, full lives.

Women in business 69 | The Harvest Table

What has your journey been like?

I have been blown away and incredibly humbled by how quickly The Harvest Table brand has grown since its inception. What started as a passion project, with products being packed in a single room, has evolved into a business occupying 5 factories, running its own international standard food safe facility and supporting numerus families. We proudly support over 50 families now. Providing employment is one of the core principles of our business so this means the world to me.

That being said, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing! I think all businesses are feeling the weight of navigating these unprecedented times as a result of the pandemic. We were fortunate to have put a lot of effort into our online store around this time and managed to experience great growth as more people started shopping online and investing in their health and wellness, which is the passion that drives our business.

What are your thoughts on female entrepreneurship?

I think it’s important that women can stand on their own two feet to support themselves and their families, which can save them from being stuck in bad situations. Women are dynamic and capable and have so much to offer. We are also really good multitaskers which is important when pursuing an entrepreneurial career!

What is your secret to entrepreneurship success?

It sounds like a cliché but I really do believe that there is immense power in creating a business out of something you love and have a genuine passion for. An unwavering belief in our products and our heart to see people’s lives changed is what has kept me motivated through the ups and downs of business. No matter how big we’ve grown, and hopefully continue to grow, we hold true to our visions for the company and our commitment to never compromise on quality to improve our own bottom line. I do think that this is something that has set The Harvest Table apart in our industry.

How do you think being a woman-founded business differentiates you from other businesses?

I think that women have an incredible amount to offer the business world and it is so important that they are being represented. Being a female-founded business has allowed me to invest in and uplift numerous other women by including them in our team and enabling them to provide for their families. I sometimes think the guys on our team feel quite outnumbered!

What would you say to women wanting to start their own business?

The first step is the most daunting, but you are capable of far more than you believe. Don’t put yourself under unnecessary pressure by jumping into the void! Start slowly, growing your business on the side line, while your day job pays the bills, then at some point you just have to take that leap of faith. Faith really does help as well! Surround yourself with a good team, hold true to your convictions and commitment to quality.

You can be driven, passionate, and have big dreams, but you will still wake up some mornings and wonder if anyone is ever going to buy your products again. So, the best thing to do in moments like that is to lift up your eyes, tell yourself that you’ve got this, and keep moving forward. That’s what I do. Plus my best pick-me-up on those ‘down days’ is feedback about how my products have changed the lives of my customers.

Women in business | The Harvest Table