Some say what warms the belly warms the heart. And this is exactly the case for Monique Treder’s small business, Happetite Food.
Rather than sending flowers in a time of celebration or sadness, the business offers a tasty alternative for its customers by preparing and delivering feel-good food to families and friends.
Monique knows personally of the positive impact homemade food can have on the soul, and how immensely it can make such a difference in both stressful or celebratory stages of life.
Living overseas at the time, Monique gave birth to her first two children just 13 months apart. It proved to be a difficult time for the new mother who was miles away from the help of her loved ones.
“This woman who I hardly knew turned up to my front door with a hot dish of pasta in her hands and I just totally lost it. I was so emotional and grateful for what she had done,” Monique said. “She didn’t realise it would have such a big impact on my life. And that memory has stuck with me forever.”
When one of Monique’s friends, who lived overseas, was running between her home and a hospital – due to her husband experiencing heart failure, fighting to hold onto his life – Monique thought back to the time of the woman who bought her pasta and wanted to do the same for her friend.
She wanted to provide something that was practical, and at the same time, something that would help eliminate the daily stresses often experienced during tough times.
“I wanted to send her food so that she could take the time to nurture herself and remain strong to support her family,” she said. “But there was just nothing available out there that offered that.”
When Monique moved back to Sydney, her grandfather passed away and she witnessed her grandmother’s house overflowing with flowers and wreaths – as if it were a florist rather than a home.
“I remember seeing vase after vase, wreath after wreath. There were just so many flowers. But when I opened her fridge, it was empty,” she explained.
Coming from an Italian family, not having food in the fridge was shockingly foreign. That was the pivotal moment when the North Shore mum knew she had to transform Happetite Food from a dream into a reality.
“I though that’s it. I don’t have any idea what I’m doing but I just feel like there’s a need for this and I’m just going to give it a go.”
Having existed for almost three years, Happetite Food has become what it is today because of Monique’s determination and willpower to deliver more than the aromas and flavours of a home cooked meal – she prides herself on delivering an experience.
“It’s like sending little parcels of magic to people,” she said wholeheartedly.
“It hasn’t been an easy journey. Sometimes I feel like throwing in the towel because times are tough but then I just think about the feedback I receive from my customers. That’s what really gets me up in the morning and keeps me going.”
Monique’s tough grind does not go unnoticed. She was one of three fortunate small business owners to win $5,000 to put towards granting her business Christmas wish.
“My Christmas wish is for people to know that Happetite exists,” Monique said.
“I would love 2019 to be the year of Happetite. I feel like personally now is the time that I can put my energy and motivation into the business. So, my wish is that Happetite gets pounded and has the opportunity to grow. I just really want people to know that it's there and as an option.”
The generous $5,000 contribution was presented in partnership by CGU Insurance and Nova in celebration of The Big Small Business Christmas Party. The event held on December 10 was produced to support and praise all the hard-working small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and was completely built by SMEs.
The proud small business owner said she’ll be injecting the prize money into marketing in the New Year.
“I’m at a tipping point where if I don’t invest into the marketing side of my business, I won’t see it grow,” she enthused.
“I’m so thankful and grateful for this money from CGU and Nova because it will completely change my business by giving me the access to the tools I need. I’ll finally be able to hire help to instil some sort of marketing strategy it so desperately needs to get noticed!”
To add to making Monique’s business Christmas wish come true, on the night of the party she won mentoring sessions with Lana Hopkins, founder of Mon Purse, an online fashion retailer that provides customers with customisable and personised European leather bags and lifestyle accessories.
Monique said for anyone wanting to follow in her footsteps and start a small business of their own, be prepared to work assiduously and do thorough market research before diving in the deep end.
“Do your research. Find out what challenges you might face. Figure out what your strengths are and use them to your advantage. But most of all, be prepared to take risks.”