Business development · 5 September 2018

“Managing a two-year-old and a business is no mean feat”

Pudology founder Lucy Wager

Meet the founder who has created her own vegan range of delicious puddings whilst caring for her two-year-old daughter.

Pudology makes indulgent vegan, gluten-free desserts which are very cleverly constructed as you would never guess they are free from anything at all!

As part of our Women in Micro Business series, we caught up with Wager to discuss the annoyance of people assuming her male colleagues are the founders of her business.

What challenges can women expect to face in business? 

There are many, many challenges that anyone can face in business, but particularly as a woman, there are so many things to juggle especially if you also have a family.

Managing a two-year-old and a business is no mean feat and there have been many occasions when I’ve had a screaming, singing or generally noisy toddler in the background of a work call – but I’m a working mum so these things happen!

I have also always found it amusing that (some!) men gravitate to other men and assume if I’m with a man, be it my Dad on a show stand or my colleague Richard at a new meeting.

Other men are quick to assume that the man in front of them is the owner/director/founder of Pudology – surprising in this day and age, but I think these stereotypes definitely do still exist. 

I’m not even sure if this is a challenge, it’s the same for anyone in business, you have to prove yourself and your strengths to whoever you’re meeting or engaging with even if their first impressions can be skewed.

Do you think there are enough women running their own businesses? 

I think in many cases it is easier for women to start their own businesses, I see lots of women around my age taking this leap and many times it’s because they need the flexibility to work outside of a restrictive 9-5 type job to help fit in with family life too.

What do you think are the advantages of having more women in business? 

I think the biggest advantage is about striving for equality; it really frustrates me that even now after the 100 year anniversary of the suffragette movement, that women are still not equal, but having more women running their own businesses will help this and empower other women to do the same and realise that everything is possible.

Have you ever had any discriminative experiences because of being female?

I think the food industry is a less male-dominated industry than many, I’ve certainly heard horror stories in other industries but I must say I don’t feel I have ever been discriminated against and I’m very thankful for this.

How do you handle knockbacks?

I try my very best to rise above the problem and focus on wise quotes like “success is moving from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm”. 

I really believe that things happen for a reason and if you have the right attitude good things will happen because opportunities lie everywhere and just when you least expect them too, so hiding and moping won’t solve anything. 

Resilience is the number 1 thing you must have in business!

What advice do you have for other women wanting to start their own business?

Stop feeling guilty, do something for you and push aside the fear.

What can the business community do to help more women entrepreneurs?

Talk about balancing family life and business, it’s more than possible but does go against the traditional values of home and of work. 

I sometimes work very late and at weekends on my laptop but will be playing outside with my daughter in the middle of the day on a Wednesday. 

I feel guilt for all of the above because when I’m working I should be sleeping or washing or doing some other motherly duty and when I’m playing with my daughter I should be working.

But actually, I’m very productive in all areas of my life so why should I conform to the traditional timetables? 

I make sure my life is well managed and the most important things for me as a female business owner is the success of my business and the happiness of my family. 

If at the end of the week both are ticking along nicely then I’ve done a good job so the traditional work and life values we all have in our heads need to be re-evaluated I think!

How do you hope your business to develop in the future?

It’s important to me that new people come into my business who can help support the growth and take it to the next level, I don’t want the brand to stagnate, we were the first chilled dairy & gluten free product in the market so it’s essential we keep ahead of the trends.

Who are your business heroes?

Elon MuskJennie Johnson

What are you reading at the moment?

Peppa Pig, Stick Man & The Tiger who Came to Tea (every night at least once!) – I probably should have lied but this is the horrifying truth because the reality is I then just get back to reading emails.

Which one song is always on your playlist?

Hold On by Wilson Phillips

Where was your holiday?

Weymouth, Dorset just after Christmas

When are you the most happiest? 

At home with my family

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Carly Hacon is a reporter for Business Advice. She has a BA in journalism from Kingston University, and has previously worked as a features editor for a local newspaper.

Work and Wellbeing