Adrienne Eiser Treeby created Crown & Queue Meats in 2014 to showcase the exceptional foods that are all grown, reared, brewed and conceived in London. Her recipes are inspired by – or in some cases drawn directly from – classic British dishes, flavours, and history.

She only works with lovingly-raised Heritage Breed pork from small farms near the Crown & Queue production space in Bermondsey, and all of her herbs are classically grown in London. Add to that some warm friendships with several microbreweries across the city, and you know you’re onto a winner.

When you eat one of Adrienne’s sausages you know exactly where the meat comes from, which makes them incredibly tasty and guilt free. It’s no wonder they call her the Pork Whisper!

Her amazing achievements so far have led to her being shortlisted for our Retail Business of the Year Award and Start Up Business of the Year Award (London and The South).

Forward Ladies: How did you come up with the idea for your business?

AET: Like most entrepreneurs, I was disappointed that I couldn’t find a product I was looking for so decided to make it myself! Cured meats made in the UK from British recipes were impossible to find when I first came to London, and with my background in food and curing, I knew it was something that I could offer.

Forward Ladies: What were some of the initial challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

AET: Sourcing start-up funds was probably the first, greatest and most intense challenge I faced. An idea is just an idea, unless you have capital to make a prototype.

I ended up casting a very wide net and took on an amazing government backed loan, some bursaries designed to promote female entrepreneurs and some investment from friends and family.

Forward Ladies: What is your top tip for growing your business?

AET: Don’t underestimate the value of social media – selling today is not the same as it used to be. It’s perfectly acceptable these days to contact prospective clients through Twitter or Instagram. I’ve made some of my best customers that way.

After that, remember that if you want to grow your business, you need to make plans now for how your business will function when it’s larger. You won’t be able to do it all yourself the way you once did. The best time to create systems is before you introduce others to them. That makes the transitions that come with growth so much smoother.

Forward Ladies: Why would you recommend that people build their network and find the support they need to start and grow their business?

AET: Being a business entrepreneur/owner can be a lonely, stressful experience. The wider your network and the more support you can find, the less you feel both of those things. It’s so great to know that there are others who have the same problems (and successes!) They can give you great ideas on how to cope/negotiate/defuse, and that sort of advice is indispensable.

Forward Ladies: How do you maintain a work/life balance?

AET: Oh, dear! Maybe ask me that next year! Work/Life balance is tough. So many of us get into what we do out of love, so it can often feel as if you have a balance even when it’s pretty much all work.

The best solution I’ve found is to schedule yourself just like any employee. Give yourself a weekend (even if it’s Tuesday morning and Friday afternoon, rather than two full days) and stick to it. That means, no email, no emergency care-taking and (if you can manage it) no thinking about work.

It really helps if you invest some time and energy to building a great team as well. If you spend real energy developing your team, you’ll have more trust in them and it’s suddenly a lot easier to shut down for a day or two (or even [gasp] a proper holiday!)

Forward Ladies: How has mentorship made a difference in your business?

AET: I was offered official ‘mentors’ through my government-funded loan, but the most difference has been made for my business via informal mentors.

As you gather experience and weather troubles, you’ll find yourself reaching out to those who are just starting. I found that many established entrepreneurs reached out to me! Their advice was always invaluable.

I found it particularly helpful approaching those running a similar businesses to mine (but not a direct competitor) because I could ask things like; “What should I do here?” “Which of these options do you think best?” and other related things.

When you’re the sole director, having mentorship, whether formal or informal, is a great shortcut to having a board of directors! There will always be times that you need something other than the wall to bounce ideas off.

Forward Ladies: Thank you for your time Adrienne, you’ve been great!

Would you like your business and hard work to be recognised, just like Adrienne’s has been? Then apply for one of our prestigious National Women in Business awards, so we can celebrate your success and inspire other women to do the same. There’s nothing we love more than promoting incredible women in business!