Interview with Entrepreneur - Linda Ghodbani - CEO of Yummier
Updated: Sep 27, 2021
Hello Linda, Our readers would like to know your origin story, a little bit about your background, initial career aspirations, when and how you got unto the path of entrepreneurship?
Linda: I am 38 years old, I have 2 children and I am French. My parents are North African immigrants. My dad is from Tunisia and My mum from Morocco. I grew up in France in a very loved family. My parents have always pushed us to study and to be curious. They always said that studies will be the best way to achieve our dreams, and curiosity will help us to learn what you don't learn at school. So I listened to them and asked a lot of questions.
I started my career in a marketing agency and worked there for 7 years. I have been very lucky to meet great leaders who gave me the chance to evolve. After 7 years of working in a marketing agency, I had my second child and decided to take a sabbatical to concentrate on my 2 babies.
As I am a curious person that always wants to learn more, I decided to undertake a part time MBA course in Digital Marketing & Ebusiness. 2 years later, I ended my sabbatical and started working for a British company. I was lucky to work with the Founder and Group CEO of this business, and I really enjoyed learning from this entrepreneur. It reminded me of my parent's mantras, "nothing is impossible" and "the sky's the limit".
Very quickly, my desire to create my own business came back. Working with a successful entrepreneur allowed me to learn from him and fine-tune my vision. Like most of women, I wasn't confident enough and kept saying it wasn't the right moment. This happened for sometime. Back in May 2020, I realised that life was too short, so I left my job, took a step back to reflect, and started working on my new venture - Yummier.co
How much of your environment, background and upbringing influenced your entrepreneurial journey?
Linda: My parents had their own clothing shop and they were quite successful. I grew up seeing them working hard to achieve their dreams, and all the family was involved.
I have spent my childhood in their shop, working with them. My big brother has also opened his shop. So I have always been influenced by my family and it was very natural for me.
How much support did you receive in the early parts of your entrepreneurial journey?
Linda: Quite surprisingly a lot of support from my friends and family. When I was pitching the idea, most of them said - oh it is a great idea!
What key challenges are you facing as a business leader? Additionally, how have you navigated these?
Linda: Not enough time. Sometimes it is frustrating as you can see so many opportunities but you just don't have the time. As a mom of two little children, I try to make sure I spend enough time with the kids. So a good organisation, and having people around you to support and help to deliver your vision is key.
It is all about people! Most people in the business and startup ecosystem asked me who my co-founder was, and I didn't have any co-founder. Being asked the same question was not helpful for my confidence. I struggled and one day I said to myself, I can either wait to find the perfect fit, or I can launch on your own and potentially onboard someone later.
What advice do you have for women aspiring to become business leaders and CEOs like yourself?
Linda: You can do it, so just do it. Trust your gut feeling and intuition. Women are intuitive. Don't be afraid and stop saying that it is not the right moment.
Please talk to us about Yummier. Where did the idea come from, what problem is it addressing and how did you validate its value generating potential?
Linda: Yummier is a marketplace that allows home bakers to start and grow their own bakery business. It changes the way people buy cakes and bakes by increasing offers.
This is a very fragmented market which has drawn alot of attention thanks to reality TV shows such as The Great British Bake Off. The idea for Yummier was born when my son was turning three, and he wanted a pirate-shaped cake for his pirate-themed birthday party.
I felt traditional bakeries were too pricey for a toddler’s birthday party, and a supermarket cake full of preservatives was simply not an option for my family, so I decided to bake the cake myself.
The aim of Yummier is to make the buying and selling of cake simple and fair for home bakers as well as consumers looking to order handmade cakes and bakes. The website offers access to all types of fresh baked goods from talented home bakers and allows customers to find, order and securely pay for collection or delivery of products in their local area.
What is Yummier’s value proposition that makes it stand out?
Linda: It ensures a minimum of barriers for bakers who are new to selling online, allowing them to start small, test the market and grow their online business. Yummier also facilitates local marketing to drive customers to the bakers’ site. For consumers, we offer access to all types of fresh baked goods from talented home bakers, and allows customers to find, order and securely pay for collection or delivery of products in their local area.
What is Yummier’s business model for value generation?
Linda: Commission based model and soon membership model.
What key challenges has Yummier faced since its launch in June 2020?
Linda: Money. I self fund the business.
Still on business challenges, the COVID 19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on a lot of businesses. What impact has it had on Yummier and how have you navigated this?
Linda: For us, it has been an opportunity. The global pandemic as well as popular TV-shows has inspired a great number of home bakers to begin selling baked goods from the comfort of their own home, Yummier allows them to connect with more local customers while at the same time removing the hassle of managing orders and accepting payments. We all realise that eating fresh product, and supporting local businesses is really important.
What is Yummier’s future expansion plans?
Linda: We are in London and plan to expand in other cities in the UK. We also plan to raise some funds to support our expansion plan and deliver our ambition!
What key challenges do you think women face as business leaders and entrepreneurs? Additionally, how do you propose they navigate these?
Linda: Lack of confidence and when you are a mother, time. I just think that women should trust their intuition, their 6th sense. A good organisation is also key.
Statistics show that male run businesses are more likely to be funded by VCs than female run businesses. Why do you think this is, and how would you go about changing this statistic?
Linda: I think that like, most women, things should change and it is urgent. It is great to see more and more successful women entrepreneur as examples, it does help. I think that more VCs should also be women to avoid this cognitive bias. VCs should also be more transparent on the profile of founders they back.
We have come to the end of the interview and would like to thank you for participating in this Q&A session. We hope to have you back at some point in the future.
Linda: Thank you
The interview was undertaken by Hubert Nomamiukor, the CEO of The Business Anecdote. It was first published in ChangeinAfrica Magazine.